Adolescence

Adolescence for me is the period within human life when most of a person’s characteristics are changing from childlike to adultlike. Changes in the body are the most observable occurring at this stage. Other kinds of developments take place such as, intellectual, academic. Social and spiritual.

During the phase of Adolescence, girls body is changing in size, shape, and hormonal structure. Adolescent girls focus on their changing bodies. They feel, look and act differently. Absorbing all these changes is very difficult. The preoccupation with bodies at this age cannot be overstated. Small flaws become obsessions. Just at this point that their bodies are becoming rounder, girls are told that thin is beautiful, even imperative. Girls in this stage feel an enormous pressure to be beautiful and are aware of constant evaluations of their appearance. The movie “Welcome to the dollhouse” illustrates this phenomena. Dane had never worried who was popular or attractive, but with puberty everything changed. Her clssmates suddenly started to tease her because of how she looked. All of asudden, her looks mattered. Her nickname was “dogface,” and they called her like this to her face. She was largely ignored by the other kids. Her self-esteem started to crumble as she experienced rejections.

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At this stage of life, girls who are unpopular, are discriminated. And popular almost always is tied with being beautiful. In this case, Dane was seen as ugly by her classmates and worst of all without an identify. This was the reason why she was left out of social life and missed the developmental experiences adolescents most need at this stage of their life. Dane was starting to notice the importance of physical appearance in order to be accepted by people. Even with her parents this was an issue. Her parents were always paying their undivided attention to their youngest child and not to Dane. Therefore Dane tied it up as “she is pretty that is why they love her, I am ugly, that is why they don’t love me as much, and don’t care about me.” This issue created Dane a lot of distress and made her adolescent stage, even more difficult than what it is.

Dane did not receive the parental support an adolescent girl is supposed to receive. Her parents did not do all they could do, to help her through her adolescence. They did not encourage Dane to be true to herself. She needed their support and their unconditional love, in order to overcome the difficulties she was facing in her adolescent stage. Dane was experiencing pain at this stage, and that pain she blamed on others, her parents, sister, etc. And eventually that pain that she was feeling was expressed as anger. This anger was mislabeled by her parents and was seen as rebellion. Her parents did no realize that her anger was a mask of a severe rejection of herself. Dane lacked both her mother’s and father’s guidance and love through this difficult period of her life. For example all the attention was always given to either her older brother or her youngest sister, but never to her. Her mother always pointed out that she did not have friends. When her sister disappeared, she thought she was going to steel the attention her parents gave to her, but she was wrong. Her parents were too depressed to put any attention on her. Even when she goes out to look for her sister, and disappears for one day, no one notices nor cares, because her sister has already appeared and they are very occupied with her.

Adolescence is a time when development and culture put enormous stress on girls. So many things are happening at once, and therefore it is very important for them, the support, love and guidance that their parents give them. In the case of Dane, she was in desperate need of emotional nourishment.

They should have taught Dane about sex, menstruation, birth control, etc., etc.

During Adolescence girls face two major issues, one is coming to terms with their own sexuality, defining sexual self.

The other issue concern the dangers girls face of being sexually assaulted.

In the Adolescent stage, many girls complain about sexual harassment in schools. The content of this harassment’s are both sexual and aggressive; rude and controlling. Often harassment’s extend beyond remarks to touching. In the case of the film “Welcome to the Dollhouse” where this kid always harasses Dane because he knows he can control her, and that makes him feel powerful. And because Dane doesn’t have a true self, and has no clear position about sexuality, she is easily pressured to be sexually active before she is ready. Even though he finally never abuses her, maybe because he feels pity.
It is obvious that Dane was not emotionally or intellectually ready to handle that situation. I think that most early sexual activity, is harmful to girls.

There is a lack of information and that is why girls don’t have any guidelines for making descisions about sex. Nowadays girls as Dane in “Welcome to the Dollhouse” are coerced into sexual intercourse.

Dane felt an immature love for the new member of his brother’s band. She based on fantasies and neediness, making her unable to function in other areas normally. She was experiencing her first feeling of love. It was an idealized love because it was nor reciprocate. But because he was very attractive, older than her, popular and at the same time was nice to her and treated her a little better than other guys, she fantasized with him. She was trying to find out how she could get him to be with her. She even invites him to her “special people’s house” and that is the first time she feels his rejection. Then she starts to be more real about his feelings towards her. It is very tipical for adolescent girls to fall in love with some unreachable person such as a rock star or some one much more older than them.
I can conclude by personal own experience and by watching at the movie ” Welcome to the Dollhouse” that during the stage of Adolescence girls need, loving parents, descent values, useful information, friends, physical safety, freedom to move about independently, respect for their own uniqueness, and encouragement to grow into productive adults. In the case of Dane, she lacked almost all of these which made her developmental stage difficult and painful.


Bibliography:

Adolescence

Adolescence Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1980) defines adolescence as the state or process of growing up; even more specifically, adolescence is also defined as the period of life from puberty to maturity terminating legally at the age of majority. Looking back on their adolescence, adults often conjure up grand memories, and laugh at their mistakes. Adolescence is a period in life that everyone must ‘survive’ in order to become an adult, although some go through it more turbulently than others. Falling approximately between the ages of 12 and 20, adolescence is characterized by physical changes leading to sexual maturity (Encyclopedia.com). Along with these obvious physical changes, more complex and hidden changes occur in an adolescent’s attitude, outlook, and self-identity.

Ultimately, the ‘goal’ of adolescence is to gain personal independence, and a sense of one’s self. Although these physiological changes happen slowly, the environment has a great impact on how one’s adolescent period will affect the person when they reach adulthood. Affective discipline at home, strong support groups, and a loving environment are all part of the key to surviving this difficult period and becoming a stronger person in the end. Many teenagers without the right combination of support factors in their lives can ‘slip through the cracks’ and discover a world more hostile than ever imagined. Our job as parents in today’s society requires an understanding of this problematic time in a child’s life, as well as regression into our own adolescence, to better prepare ourselves to raise the generations of tomorrow.

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Juvenile Delinquency is defined by Webster’s as a status in a juvenile characterized by antisocial behavior that is beyond parental control and therefore subject to legal action as well as a violation of the law committed by a juvenile and not punishable by death or life imprisonment. In short, juvenile delinquency involves any criminal behavior committed by a minor. There is no question that there has been an increase in delinquent behavior since the days of our parents’ adolescence. Activities such as ‘rolling’ neighbors’ houses, egging mailboxes/windows, or graffiti on park benches has been replaced by more serious activities such as spray painting buildings, breaking and entering, or even early drug use. Today’s juveniles do not seem to fear, or even respect authority as previous generations have. Lack of discipline in the home and a much more tolerant society is not help to a steadily increasing juvenile delinquency rate. An unstable home environment can draw teenagers to join gangs or engage in premarital sex, to name just a couple of ‘acting out’ behaviors. Children need to be taught at an early age not only the difference between right and wrong, but also the positive results attained from practicing respect and moral values.

If parental guidance fails, or if an adolescent veers too far off the path, then usually outside forces will step in to the situation. Parens Patriae is literally defined as the state is the father (Juvenile Delinquency Theory, Practice and Law, 1994), and views juveniles’ delinquent behavior as a need for action taken beyond parental control. This doctrine is intended to act in the best interest of a child in question, and enacts rehabilitative measures, rather than using harsh consequences. There are many differences surrounding each youth’s misdirection, and this third party action is deemed necessary only when a guardian’s discipline and/or consequences have failed to control the adolescent. It is stated that the Parens Patriae doctrine will give treatment rather than treating a child similar to an adult offender. Although treatment is considered the most effective method of rehabilitation in most cases, there are those juvenile offenders who are beyond control and whose cases are transferred to an adult court.

The state will also take charge when a child has committed a status offense, or has been neglected and/or abused, even by their parents. The idea of ‘the state being the father’ encompasses all children, whether delinquent, handicapped, or mistreated. This doctrine protects a child’s right to be guided and guarded. Sociology.

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