Growth and Development Assessment for Adolescents

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In a bid to conduct growth and development assessment, I conducted a study on Stephen, a sixteen (16) years old teenager. Steve, as he is commonly known by his peers is a male high school student in form two at Fusion Academy in Los Angeles County, California. Preliminary investigation showed that Stephen was a Saud Arabian whose parents migrated to the United States when he was 13 years of age. Although, Steve is not married, he confessed having had over 10 girl friends in the past; out of the which, Steve confessed to have had sex with 6 of his girl friend’s more than twice. Steve is the last born in a family. There are five members in it: three children and the parents.

Basic Information about Adolescent State of Development

Generally, adolescent is believed to be a period of change that is realized among individuals between the age of 10 and 19 (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). During which, both girls and boys undergo unparalleled physical, social cognitive and psychological change. Some of the physical development in teenage boys includes an average and rapid gain of about 3.5 inches in height and an increased weight gain resulting from increased muscle development; development of secondary sex characteristics, such as penis growth, breaking of the voice, and facial growth of hair among others (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). On the other hand, cognitive development among adolescents is characterized by maturity of the brain and expansion of the social network, thereby, enabling the teenagers to easily manipulate information; teenagers think abstractly and deductively. In addition, during an adolescent’s cognitive development, they are expected to explore possibilities, make conclusions, handle problems easily and test hypothesis (Newman & Philip, 2012). Intellectually, the adolescents are also expected to be critical, practical and insightful.

Adolescent stage of development is also regarded as a period where teenagers attain the ability to make moral and right judgements about wrong and right issues in order to avoid shame, guilt and display empathy. On the other hand, religious development among adolescents includes aspects such as conformity and acceptance of accepted traditions and standards as well as contradictions. In Mogler’s (2009) view, socially adolescents are always confronted by the problem of ego-identity and vs role diffusion; this is a crisis, which is common among teenagers and mostly results from peer pressure.   

Stephen’s Specific Information Vs the Norms of Adolescent Stage of Development

From my investigation, I discovered that Stephen has attained moral development, which is propagated by Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. Students and Teachers at Fusion Academy in Los Angeles County, California alluded to the fact that Stephen is the most discipline student in his class as well as in the entire school. In addition, he is also reported by his classmates to be helpful to other students in all aspects of life. According to Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, Steve has successfully attained the three levels of moral development and judgement that is common among adolescents (Mogler, 2009). In addition, Kohlberg concurs that Steve’s discipline and obedient to the law reported by students and teachers is an aspect of pre-conventional morality. Mainly, teenagers reason and behave morally because of the rules and the need to avoid punishment that comes with disobedience (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). On the other hand, Steve’s quest to help others in all aspects of life is a component of conventional morality; a state, which is Kohlberg’s theory terms as a conformation to the existing rules. Lastly, the fact that Steve was reported to be flexible to the changing nature of school rules and regulations portrayed him as having attained a post-conventional morality; a state of conscience directed concern on the relative and variable rules and regulations.

The other aspect that is critical in Stephen’s development is the intellectual development. According to Robert Sternberg’s triarchic theory, intellectual development, an adolescent’s intellectual development is pegged on their critical, insightful and practical abilities. For instance, the results from Fusion Academy in Los Angeles County, California showed that Stephen was doing well in standardized mental tests and problems solving activities; he was also very active in other extra-curriculum activities such as table tennis and electrical assembling (Mogler, 2009). However, he was constant in and out of school, because of climatic changes. Naturally, triarchic theory alludes to the fact that an adolescent’s intellectual development is measured based on his componential, experiential and contextual intelligence. These three aspects are a portrayal of problem solving, transfers of information and practical adaptation to the environment.

Whereas Kohlberg’s theory cites that most adolescents display religious development at three levels; pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional levels, where religious rules and laws are either accepted or adhered to. Stephen has so far not showed conventional religious thinking, because of lack of exposure (Newman & Philip, 2012). In fact, Stephen confessed that in most cases struggle with accepting other religious practices or beliefs from other non-Muslim students. 

In addition, Stephen is being confronted by the challenge of ego-identity vs role diffusion. During my interview with Steve, he frequently cited that he found himself involved in sexual-relationship with girls. He later learnt, he did not love because peer pressure. According to Shaffer & Kipp (2010), such stride is in-line with Erick Erickson’s social development theory of social development where adolescents are cited to face the challenge of ego-identity vs role diffusion.       

Summary of Unmet and or Met Developmental Milestones

As an adolescent, Stephen has successfully met all the three levels of moral development and judgement cited by Kohlberg’s theory of moral development and judgement (Mogler, 2009). That is, he reasons and behaves morally in order to abide by the rules and avoid punishment, confirms to the rules and helps other student’s and accepts the relative and varied rules and regulations in school (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). Ideally, Steve is not trapped in empathy, shame, and guilt, which are components of moral development among the children aged between 2 and 4 years. This is owed to the fact that his moral behaviour and reasoning are result of the weighed effects of his behaviour on self-interest and the concern of the entire school fraternity.   

Some of the unmet developmental miles stones in Steve’s life include religious development. According to Kohlberg’s theory, religious development is acquired when and individual is able to accept, respect and embrace other religious beliefs (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). However, Stephen, A Muslim from Saud Arabia has not attained such capacity, because he still finds it difficult to accept and interact with non-Muslims. From the social development view, Stephen has not resolved the problem of ego-identity vs role diffusion. Thus, he succumbed to indulging in sexual relationships to please his peers.  

Measures to Help Assist Stephen in His Adolescent Development

Stephen should strive to develop a tacit or savvy knowledge. This is a contextual intelligence that is not taught in schools. Mogler (2009) cites that through the tacit knowledge, an adolescent such as Stephen would be able to manoeuvre his way at Fusion Academy in Los Angeles County, California for his own good and success without being impacted negatively by constant climatic changes. Similarly, as an adolescent, Stephen requires tacit knowledge to enable him adapt and succeed in the educational system being utilized at Fusion Academy. In addition, to help Stephen realize his spiritual development as an adolescent, he should strive to interact with a large number of people with different worldviews (Newman & Philip, 2012). On the other hand, Stephen should be helped out on sexual relations and promiscuity. This would involve helping the teenager to develop a strong sense of who he is and what he stands for in life, so as to eliminate instances of succumbing to peer pressure.

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