Adolescence is a developmental period from the beginning of the aforementioned period with the end of childhood within the developmental process of the individual to physiologically reaching adulthood. This period is physiologically associated with menstruation and breast enlargement in girls; In males, it is a developmental period that starts with facial hair growth and deepening of the voice and generally covers the ages of 13-22 (KOÇ, 2004). While the adolescence period is shown between the ages of 15-25 in the definition of Unesco, it is evaluated between the ages of 12-25 in the definition of the United Nations. Even if such age ranges are encountered in the literature, when the subject of the study is “human”, it is very difficult to make an exact age limit for the aforementioned developmental periods – in terms of the beginning and the end.
In this period, along with the obvious physical changes, it is not possible to ignore the emotional and behavioral changes that parents are very worried about today. As a matter of fact, we come across the use of ‘stormy and stressful period’ in G. Stanley Hall’s studies on the Modern Adolescence period.
WE DID NOT HAVE A PERIOD LIKE THIS!
Parents often talk about their daughter/son when asking for help as if there is a transformed presence living in the house. They express their desperation by saying that their child, who is very sweet, affectionate and sociable, is more introverted, aggressive and grumpy, and does not communicate with anyone in the family. And after all these reproachful phrases, a phrase I hear frequently, though not always, is ‘We went through these ages too, but I didn’t know I hadn’t experienced such a period’. Parental attitudes formed according to the answers given to the questions of whether there is adolescence period or not, is it a fabrication of the age for adults who experience this situation or not.
IS THERE REALLY ANYTHING LIKE Adolescence?
In line with the definitions mentioned above, adolescence is a part of the life period such as childhood, youth, middle age and old age. A definition that includes the characteristics of this period as it should be depressed, aggressive and rebellious will not be correct either.
While people are experiencing the steps they take regarding individuation and their existential questioning, they experience a crisis to the extent that their social conditions allow. This depression can occur in adolescence or at any stage of adulthood. Of course, in order for this process to be experienced, the person must be living his desires such as individualization and autonomy, or he must have an environment in which he can live. In order to understand this better, it is necessary to understand the development periods of humanity in the historical process.
The Great Depression and Adolescence
The collapse of the stock market in 1929 and the onset of the crisis that would affect the whole world went down in history as the Great Depression. After the Great Depression of 1929, economic, political and socio-cultural changes had many consequences. One of them is the formation of the concept of adolescence. Child workers were the first to lose their jobs in the economic crisis. (Jensen, 2019). Young people between the ages of 14-17, who had not had the option to work and go beyond the mandatory actions until that day, enrolled in high schools. Because there was nothing else that could be done for these young people, and this was a period in the history of American Education that was seen as the rise of high schools. While there were young people who had the obligation to bring bread to the house until these years, a new class emerged that had no responsibility to go to school after this period, and these young people could meet concepts such as existence, individualization, questioning who they are, and being an independent person from the family. Making a choice in the face of the alternatives and trying to find out what is right for him while making this choice was a matter in itself, and a changing transitional phase, which sees the support of the environment and the flexibility of the conditions, has manifested itself as how the adolescence period goes until today.
Individuals do not experience this process only during adolescence. When they are faced with alternatives in certain periods of life and they experience questions about their lives, their identities, and their existence – such as a midlife crisis – they go through a less severe or very severe period depending on the level of attaining their individuality.
Parents’ support of individuality and transition to adulthood by drawing the right boundaries during this period will also be very related to their autonomy in their own lives.
Not everyone can go through this process. Not everyone may experience the same questions in the same way. This is a result of being shaped according to the temperament tendency and family structure. And so there is such a thing as adolescence, but there is no such thing as a standard adolescence.