Although I am a bit far from my adolescence, looking back to those days made me realize that I had gone through the most important stage, which was challenging and full of emotions. Several developmental theorists have influenced the current understanding of the period between adolescence and early adulthood. Jean Piaget formulated the theory of cognitive development that is grounded on the principle of how children acquire knowledge and their nature of intelligence as a natural order of progression (Santrock, 2019). On the other hand, Erickson’s theory suggests that an individual undergoes various crises in several developmental milestones (Santrock, 2019). These theories have enabled me to recognize the interrelated dimensions of development, including the physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive aspects.
Physically, adolescents begin by growing to attain their adult height. Their bodies also undergo changes in both shape and composition due to the hormonal changes of puberty. Males acquire more lean muscle mass, while females develop body fat in relation to muscle mass. This is because there are specific hormones that trigger the deposition of fat around the thighs and buttocks of females. During adolescence, I became self-conscious of my body and started embracing healthy eating techniques. I began eating more vegetables and reduced the intake of “junk” foods. This was a deviation from the norm as individuals at that age are usually impulsive and reckless. Regardless, I did not practice proper sleeping practices as I would spend most of my time on the phone and laptop visiting social media platforms and talking to friends. Furthermore, I began menstruating at the age of 12 years, which is the norm, and most importantly I had the support of my mother to guide me through.
Cognitively, youths are capable of abstract thought unlike their younger counterparts; hence, they can think about things that are not readily observable, such as beliefs, values, and theories, among others (Santrock, 2019). According to Piaget, an individual undergoes the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational stages as they develop into adulthood. During the formal operational stage, which is 12 years and up, individuals move beyond the limitations of concrete mental operations and develop the ability to think in a more abstract manner (Santrock, 2019). Before adolescence, I never thought about the idea of life and society as a concept. However, by growing up and becoming more aware of the surrounding environment, and I started questioning religion. I came to realize that there are indeed several religions, with each worshipping whomever they have regarded as their “God”. Nevertheless, all their teachings are based on doing good to others, and as a result, I made it my life’s mantra. I also expressed egocentric behavior in which I believed that there were standards imposed by peers that had to be met. I tend to place pressure on my parents to buy me the fashion trends so that I did not fall victim to the scrutiny and comments of others. Nonetheless, what I came to realize later was that it was all imaginary.
Erickson, a developmental theorist, proposed that an individual’s identity emerges and evolves during adolescence and proceeds into adulthood (Santrock, 2019). According to Erickson, adolescents might undergo identity vs. role confusion and intimacy vs isolation crises during this stage (Santrock, 2019). With regards to identity vs. role confusion, adolescents struggle to develop a sense of individual identity, and in the long run, they try various selves to identify those that fit. Occasionally, I changed my appearance from the “rock-punk” style to “barbie” as I tried to identify the one that fits my personality. I later settled in the middle as I embraced both personalities. Conversely, I did not face an intimacy vs. isolation crisis as
Social relationships also change in quality and quantity, and this occurs with the increase in emotional maturity that makes individuals capable of developing more intimate relationships. According to Erickson’s theory, intimacy vs. isolation occurs between late adolescence and early adulthood. It represents the struggle to achieve a mutual balance between giving and receiving love and support (Santrock, 2019). I had my first boyfriend when I was 15 years, however, the relationship ended one and a half years later due to trust issues. I was extremely hurt and this led me to establish an emotional block. However, as I grew, became more in control of my emotions and was able to cultivate new relationships with friends, lovers, colleagues, and bosses, and other acquaintances. I am less inclined towards making many friends and more predisposed towards cultivating few but meaningful relationships, in all aspects of my life including the romantic, casual and professional spheres.
In conclusion, individuals undergo massive changes in every aspect of their lives as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. I enter the adolescent stage with the mind and body of a child and exited 18 years later with a personality, breasts and hips and identified the kind of people that I associated with. The paper examined all the physical, cognitive and socioemotional aspects of development between adolescence and adulthood. However, it is essential to note that although these aspects of development were analyzed separately, there is a strong inter-relationship among them. For instance, having enlarged breasts and hips influenced the types of clothes that I wore.
Santrock, W. J. (2019). Essentials of life-span development (6th ed.). Mc-Graw Hill Education.