Youth work A – Z: Adolescence

1. The period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to maturity.
2. A transitional period of development between youth and maturity
kevinthe_teen.jpg Adolescence is a period of huge change for young people that impacts them Physically, Emotionally, Culturally, Spirtitually, Intellectually and Socially. A period that has been described as “The Adolescent Storm” which is a a bit harsh but you can’t go from being a child to a mature adult with out upheavel and complication.
Youthwork issues: Lots of people forget what Adolescence was like for them and are very intolerant of teenagers, this is further compounded by the fact that adolescents now look like adults and therefore “should” behave like adults (even though it’s not unusual for the behaviour expected by the adult to not be modelled by the adult). A role of a youth worker is being an advocate for young people.
It’s also the time that young people really need friendship and support as well as opportunity to grow into their adult roles, this unfortunately coincides with the point that Society pushes them away! Youth work roles therefore include not only “walking” with young people on this journey but helping parents/community to understand that adolescence is an important process.

Some quotes
“The changes experienced during puberty bring new awareness of self and others’ reactions to them. For example, sometimes adults perceive adolescents to be adults’ because they physically appear to be adults. However, adolescents are not adults. They need room to explore themselves and their world. Thus, as adults, we need to be aware of their needs and provide them with opportunities to grow into adult roles”
“Hairy bits, dangly bits and wobbly bits”
Danny Brierely on Physicsl changes during adolescence from “What every volunteer Youth worker should know”
“the line demarcating adulthood faded; adolescents played adult roles prematurely, and adults played adolescent roles immaturely” Kenda Creasy Dean