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Adolescent and Adult Development Theories

Question 1: The relationship between parents and their adolescent children changes during the period of adolescence. Describe some aspects of adolescent physical, cognitive, and social development that parents might benefit from knowing about. Explain also how you think parents could put this knowledge to use in dealing with their children.

In response to the physical changes occurring in their bodies, adolescents often develop a preoccupation with physical attractiveness marked by concern and worry that they aren't meeting cultural standards of masculine or feminine beauty. Parents tend to dismiss this preoccupation, but they would benefit by understanding that the judgments their teens make about their physical image can have long-lasting effects on their self-esteem, effects that may not disappear until the mid-forties.

Parents could put this knowledge to work by discussing physical changes and their teens' reactions to these changes, using the discussions as a means to boost adolescents' self-esteem. Both physical changes and experience with the world (inner and outer agents) operate to bring about cognitive maturity.

If one of these agents is deficient in some way, levels of reasoning marked by abstract thought, and problem-solving skills may never develop. However, even when the highest levels of cognitive functioning are reached by teens, their actual thoughts themselves can remain immature due to the egocentrism that is characteristic of this period in the lifespan.

One example of the way egocentrism operates as an obstacle to teens attaining a mature cognitive perspective can be seen in their views of authority figures for whom they demonstrate a constant fault-finding perception. Parents, as authority figures, will often be repeatedly criticized for not measuring up to the teen's version of the ideal parent.

By understanding this egocentrism and not taking this criticism personally, parents can put t...

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