Adolescence Stage of Development

The third stage of human development is adolescence. It starts in the end of childhood and finishes in the beginning of adulthood. Physical, mental, social, and emotional changes take place in this age. They are very important from the point of view of personal development. Hence from the educational point of view, it is necessary to study the important qualities of adolescence and to ponder over the nature of education in adolescence.

Significance of Adolescence

In the stages of the development of human life, there in an important place of adolescence. This is the most complicated time of life. This time, child is in the transitional period of childhood and old age, because child lives between both of the ages. So neither he is considered child nor old. In this changing time, parents, teachers and guardians, and other persons, who keep interest in the goodness, welfare of future and present of child, and want the progress of society, should ponder seriously on the healthy development of all of those adolescents. As Crow & Crow has said, “Youth represents the energy of the present and the hope of future.’’

So it is clear that the guardians and the teachers should have all the information about the growing potentialities of development and interests and needs and the important qualities of growing adolescence, so that they could contribute properly in their development. From the educational point of view, it has been written on the importance of adolescence in the Haido Committee Repor—‘’There is a tide which begins to rise in the vein of you that the age of eleven or twelve. It is called by the name of adolescence. If that tide can be taken at the flood, and a new voyage begun in the strength and along the fl ow of its current, we think that it will move on to fortune.”

Today in the colleges, in the secondary, higher secondary, graduation classes most of the students are under the adolescence stage. In the current age, students problems, related to discipline has adopted a broad form. So it is very important and necessary to study its qualities for determining the nature of education, giving the proper direction to these adults for their, physical, mental, social, emotional and moral powers.

Meaning of Adolescence

In English teenage is called Adolescence. This word has been made of Latin language’s verb ‘Adolescere’. It means to grow to maturity. According to Blair Jones and Simpson—‘’Adolescence is that period in the life of every person, which begins in the last of childhood, and come to an end in the beginning of adulthood.’’ Other western scientists have defined the adolescence in the following way:

According to Jarshield—‘’Adolescence is a period through which, a growing person makes transition from childhood to maturity.”

According to Stenley Hall—Adolescence is a period of great stress and strain storm and strike.

It is clear that Adolescence is the stage of development, that is started from blooming, and being risen to maturity it comes to an end. 

Generally this stage is considered from twelve to eighteen, some differences are found among the different countries, in the period of the development of adolescence, due to, personality differences, culture, and climate. Adolescence is started soon in hot state than that of cold. The beginning of adolescence, in the girls is almost two years early than the boys.

Some Psychologists have divided it between two groups.
(1) Early adolescence from twelve to sixteen years.
(2) Late adolescence from seventeen to nineteen.

Seventeen years is the dividing point of both. As that Hurlock has said—‘’The dividing lines between early and late adolescence is placed around seventeen.’’

The period between late childhood and adolescence is called early adolescence. Child is not complete adult at this time, but changes are seen in his behavior, instinct, and attitude. Early adolescence has been called ‘the stage of a big problem.’ because parents, guardians and teachers rebuke and prevent him on different matters. He always lives in the problematic condition. What may he do? 

Early Adolescence has been ‘The period of extreme fast and swift development’. Along with the physical development, swiftness comes in all the sides of development. 

Stenley Hall has said about early development ‘ an extreme stage of emotional confusion, unhappiness and human tension’. Some Psychologists have called it ‘A naughty and Problem age.’ According to the Psychologists- for the easiness and the comfort of the study, adolescence should be considered from twelve, thirteen to eighteen, nineteen years.

Theories of development of Adolescence

There is the two theories for the development of adolescence:
  1. Theories of Saltatory Development—Stenley hall has accepted this theory in his book ‘Adolescence’. He has said that there are revolutionary changes take place in adults suddenly, which are not related to the infancy and childhood. In the words of Stenley Hall, ‘‘Whatever changes happen in boys and girls, they come to leap in a moment.’’ 
  2. Theory of Gradual Development—The followers of this theory are Thorndike, King and Hallingworth. They have said—“Whatever newness is seen due to physical, mental, and emotional changes in the adults, those changes come in a sequence not in a moment.” In this relation King has said, ‘’As the sign of the arrival of a season is seen, so the childhood and adolescence is related to one-another.’’

Chief Characteristics of Adolescence

Biggi and Hunt have written related to the qualities of Adolescence, “The one word best characterizes adolescence is change. The change is physiological, sociological, psychological. 

Adolescence has following characteristics, related to the changes, given in the definition:

  1. Bodily Changes—Many important bodily changes take place in adolescence. At this time physically point of view, the symptom of young age is seen, girls are grownup to womanhood and boys are grownup to manhood. From the physical point of view maturity comes in the girls and boys.
  2. Mental Development—In adolescence along with the physical changes, mental capability grows. These characteristics are specially found in that as, imagination, memorization, excess of day dreaming, discussion, increment in determination power and opposite moods.
  3. Lack of Stability and Adjustment—At this time the mental condition of adult is unstable like a baby. Ross has said adolescence ‘Recapitulation of infancy’. At this time changes happen him with such swiftness, that sometimes he thinks this and sometimes that. His mental condition is unstable. Consequently he finds himself unable to adjust with the situation.
  4. Emotional Life—The life of adult is very emotional. He resolves to do uncommon and impossible work in emotional condition. Sometimes he is filled with unique zeal. And sometimes he is seen discouraged.
  5. Contrasting Mental Moods—In adults contrasting mental moods sometimes make him selfish and other time selfless. Due to this reason he is not able to adjust in the emotional life. Adolescence is the recapitulation of beginning childhood on higher level. Intellectually he is better than child, but he lives in more confusion and disordered emotionally. He becomes unpleasant on a trivial matter. Sometimes he is seen happy and smiling and other times sad, worried and distressed.
  6. Mental Independence and Revolt to Authority—Under this age, the feeling of mental independence is predominant. Adult does not want to live in the limitation of elder’s order, various traditions, and rituals superstition. This does not satisfy him. Rather ‘how it is’ he wants to satisfy this. At this time his no taken for granted attitude is seen.
  7. Maximum Development of Intelligence—In adolescence the intellectual knowledge reaches on its highest point. It is the saying of Psychologists till the age of sixteen there is growth in mental age, mental age is known by intellectual tests.
  8. Changes in Interests—In adolescence along with the changes in physical and mental, the changes take place in their interests also. There is also a similarity in the interests of boys and girls. Diversity is also found in them. In both of them the tendencies of reading magazines, stories, fiction, novels and taking part in music ,drawing, drama, watching movie, hearing radio, and trying to make their body beautiful etc can be seen also. In boys, taking interest in playing game, exercise, wandering, and doing adventurous work. The interests of the girls are seen in embroidering, dancing, music, to make their body beautiful with the ornaments.
  9. Development of Sex Instincts—Sexual Instinct is also arisen in adolescence. Psychologists Ross has followed the comment of Slaster—‘’Sex is the fundamental factor of adolescence, if not of all life, like the overflow of great river, it irrigates and fertilizers great tracks of life’s territory. Undoubtedly the central fact of adolescence is Sexual development. It is the consideration of Dr Jones- The sexual history of infancy is recapitulated in adolescence. The repressed sex impulse of infancy which is in sleep in infancy, is awaken again. Due to the development of this stage, restlessness, biting the nails of hand, keeping the pencil in mouth are seen in the boys and in the girls, to wrap the shawl in her hand etc behavior are seen. 
  10. Attitude of Dependence—In the infancy, child is depended on his parents for each of his works. He considers himself reserved in the absence of his parents. In adolescence this condition is seen again like infancy. It is not necessary that this dependence is towards his parents; rather it can be towards that brave man, who is found in real life, in literature, and in history. Being affected towards the ideal virtues of these great men he becomes the follower of these ideals. And keeps faith towards them and worship them. So adolescence is also called ‘Hero-worship age’. The conduct of boys and girls are developed, taking the advantage of hero worship tendency.
  11. Religious Feeling—According to the above descriptive dependence tendency, religious feeling is risen in the youth, being affected by some aspect of the god, he believes in the existence of god. The enlightenment of religious feeling is in the form of patience, self control, sense of duty, and social service.
  12. Feeling of Social Service—There is the predominant feeling of social service in this age. In this relation Ross has said-‘’Adult develop and nurture the ideal of society. His kind heart is inspired by the love of human being. And he is always anxious for giving help in the development of ideal society.’’
  13. Exuberance of Imagination—Adult is extremely imaginative. In the practical life he finds himself unable in fulfilling his dream. Consequently he begins to fulfill his dream not in the real life but in the imaginative world. He dives in the imaginative world on a trivial matter. Due to the predominance of imagination in this age he has a tendency of day dreaming. Due to the excess of this tendency he becomes self centered and introvert. Sometimes there is loss from this tendency. Socially opposite feeling originates in some adults. They begin to behave illogical and immoral and often become child convict. Sometimes, due to the imagination and day dreaming, adult expresses his creative imagination power and beauty in literature, music and vivid arts. They show their interest in performing role and in writing stories and fiction. By the sublimation of imagination tendency, the development of artistic power is possible in them, and they can be made poets, artists, storywriter, novel writer, dramatist, painters and musicians.
  14. The Feeling of Altruism—The selfishness of infancy takes the form of altruism in the adolescence. The feeling of abundance and sacrifice is predominantly seen in adult. He does not hesitate in giving up his life for the welfare of society and country. At this there is unique zeal and strength in them that gives birth to altruism. The history of world is the spectator of these things, being inspired to this feeling; adults gave challenge to the death to improve the evils of the society and the nation. 
  15. Feeling of Self Respect—In adolescence, the feeling of self respect is predominant. They understand themselves insulted by the slightest things. So they should be guided properly with love and sympathy, instead of behaving with them unpsychologically. Due to the feeling of self respect, the feelings of dependence and the feeling of passing independent life is awaken. Sometimes due to this, they receive the shock to their self respect, the tendency of running away from home yield in them and they have to face many sufferings. Some examples can be given that due to the tendency of running away from home many people can be seen doing progress in life. 
  16. Development of Criminal Tendency—Under this stage, due to the obstacles in filling desire, hopelessness, and getting failure, the tendency of criminal is developed in them. In this relation Valentine has said- ‘’Adolescence is the delicate period, for the development of criminal tendency. A huge counting of experienced criminals began to take their occupational life seriously in the adolescence.’’
  17. Development of Gregarious Tendency—Adults boys and girls like very much to live with their companions and friends. Often they are the members of some community, and give greater importance to their community than school and family. The community which they are related to, their all activities are affected. They adopt the methods of language, moral values, habits of wearing clothes, having food according to the community. There is a special status of the adult belonging to the community, and they work according to it. The work and the condition of community contribute in determining their destiny.
  18. Extrovert Tendency—In adolescence, adults are extrovert again. Their physical, mental and social interests are developed extendedly. They take interest in activities of the surrounding environment. They want to participate in the different program of colleges and society. Due to the tendency of being extrovert they develop the virtues of self dependence, self control, corporation, the feeling of altruism.
  19. Anxiety of Vocational Selection—In this age, adult begins to get anxious about his future vocation. He begins to imagine to be a skillful doctor, engineer, lawyer, teacher, artist and a successful farmer and good life. He chooses his subjects according to the vocation.

After above discussion we reach on the conclusion that there are many new characteristics of child that are seen in the adolescence. Stenly Hall has commented on this-‘’Adolescence is a new birth, for the higher and more completely human traits are new born.’’

Observation of the behavior in the adolescence

Adolescence is the stage of transition, in which child is neither a child nor an old. Generally it can be divided between two parts, early adolescence and late adolescence. Early adolescence is that period of life, which is called the period of storm and confusion. There is no doubt in it that in this age he is conflicted with his parents, teachers and friends. His emotionality is grown in comparison of childhood. And it is difficult to live with it , they consider that old person aims at them for criticizing, insulting, and depreciating. After studying the behavior of adults following symptoms come:
  1. New adults are unstable.
  2. There are many complications in front of them.
  3. New adults are sad and unsatisfied.
  4. In new adults, there is predominance of – anger, fear, frustration, jealousy, affection, curiosity etc.
  5. Now social behavior is changed.
  6. They are progressive in making crowds and friends group, creating groups and parties.
  7. Opposite sexual love is found in them.
  8. The feeling of homo sexual is also found in them.
  9. In adults imagination is in abundance.
  10. The feeling of self is predominant in them.


  • A human takes birth in the form of a progressive creature, and from the beginning till the end he keeps on developing.
  • In Educational Psychology the developing child is studied. From the point of view of Educational Psychology, dividing the child-development into various stages is considered important, and each stage is studied separately. Educational organizations from the child psychiatrist - development is divided into the following three parts - (1) infant (2) childhood (3) adolescence.
  • Infancy is the most important stage among all the stages of human development. Psychologists have said that “infancy decides the entire sequence of human life.” In the infancy physical, mental, social and emotional development happens with a rapid pace. In the last years of infancy, social feelings develop. From the point of view of education, infancy is the most important phase of life. 
  • The second stage of human development is childhood. Child enters in childhood after infancy. Child is unfamiliar to his surrounded conditions in his infancy. His body and mind are both under undeveloped condition. While entering in the childhood he is well developed. He begins to familiarize with his atmosphere. In this stage he begins to learn education related things, as personal and social behavior that is the basis of his future, so, it is necessary to pay attention to the main qualities of child, related to physical, mental, emotional and mental development. 
  • The third stage of human development is adolescence. It starts in the end of childhood and finishes in the beginning of adulthood. Physical, mental, social, and emotional changes take place in this age. They are very important from the point of view of personal development. This is the most complicated time of life. This time, child is in the transitional period of childhood and old age.

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