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Issues in Adolescent Development Randy McKain, M.Ed.; L.S.M. Dean of Student Life / Program Director of Youth Ministry Oak Hills Christian College.

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Presentation on theme: "Issues in Adolescent Development Randy McKain, M.Ed.; L.S.M. Dean of Student Life / Program Director of Youth Ministry Oak Hills Christian College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Issues in Adolescent Development Randy McKain, M.Ed.; L.S.M. Dean of Student Life / Program Director of Youth Ministry Oak Hills Christian College

2 What Defines an Adult? Age? Responsibility? Having a college degree? Getting married? Having a child Having a job? Financial independence? The ability to make difficult choices? Having a fully developed brain? A combination of the above?

3 What is the average length of adolescence for today? A – 3 months B - 5 years C – 10 years D – 15 years E – it depends

4 An Academic Definition Adolescence, is a psychosocial, independent search for a unique identity or separateness, with the end goal being a certain knowledge of who one is in relation to others, a willingness to take responsibility for who one is becoming, and a realized commitment to live with others in community. (Clark, 2011)

5 Other Definitions Adolescence begins in biology and ends in culture. (Santrock, 2002) Adolescence is a journey from biological adulthood to societal adulthood. Adolescence begins with the onset of puberty and ends... sometime! (Walsh 2004)

6 Societal Effect of Adolescence 100 years ago – a three month period of transition 50 years ago - a two to three year period (of transition Current – ten to fifteen year period of transition What has happened?

7 The length of adolescence has expanded!

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9 Let’s look at some of the outcomes of this expansion and its impact on society.

10 Changes

11 Adolescence is a cultural phenomenon. It did not exist until 100 years ago. There was youth, but not adolescence. Youth was merely another word for child. The age of adolescence has changed.

12 The gap continues to lengthen. In 1900 adolescence was an 18 month period in which youth wrestled with their; identity, autonomy and affinity. By the age of 16 to 17 most young people were ready to take control of their lives.

13 By the 1960's the end of adolescence was generally accepted to be around age 18 to 19. The social revolution of the late 60's and early 70‘s further lengthened adolescence as college age students lingered in these stage of life. In contemporary society, extended school (graduate school) or economic stress (no job and living at home) have become the next catalyst for lengthening adolescence.

14 Adolescence now lasts 15 years or more. This reality is both impacted by culture and has a massive impact on culture. Few adults take the time or have the time to guide someone for this length of time, so they often feel abandoned and are left to their own resources or to their peer group to journey toward adulthood.

15 From Hurried to Abandonment Since 1980, we have gone from hurried (child competence) to abandonment (let someone else help teach and raise them). Victimization (Elkind, Ties That Stress) No one really needs us! (Mahedy & Bernhadi, Generation Alone) The adolescents in the 90’s are more isolated and more unsupervised than any other generation. (Patricia Hersch, A Tribe Apart) The Result? Their own world or subculture!

16 Abandonment Issues Since adolescent’s sense emotional and relational starvation, they seek a home where they know they are welcome. (Clark, 2011) Adolescents believe that they have no choice, but to create their own world to survive, they need to bind together and burrow beneath the surface to create a safe place. (Clark, 2011) Adolescents have responded to this sense of abandonment by creating an underground society – a subculture – the “world beneath.” (Clark, 2011)

17 Stages of Adolescence

18 Early Adolescence Junior High or Middle School Ages Middle Adolescence High School Age 14 to 17 or 19 Late Adolescence College & Young Adults Age 17 or 19 to mid-to-late 20's

19 Three Questions of Adolescence 1.The question of identity – “Who am I?” 2.The question of autonomy or power – “What’s my unique contribution?” “Do I matter?” 3.The question of affinity or belonging – “Where do I belong and to whom?” “Does anybody care?”

20 How did we get here?

21 Influencers Parenting Styles Slower brain development Culture

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23 Parenting Styles

24 Helicopter – hovers over student to protect Karaoke – want to be like the child Dry Cleaner – drop off and fix my child Volcano – erupts on minor unpredictable events Drop Out – the absentee parent Bullied – I give up Groupie – the child is the “rock star” Collaborative – I’ll work with you for the best decision Tim Elmore – Generation iY

25 Criteria for Adulthood? When we know who we are and are fairly comfortable with whom we are. When we are willing to take responsibility for ourselves. When our brain has developed enough to enable us to make sensible decisions. Financial independence Vocational commitment Living on their own.

26 Inhibitors Addictions / Substance abuse Abandonment Lack of mentors, adults, elders Brain development

27 Brain Development and its Developmental Impact

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29 Decision Making Brain development takes place in stages and is not fully complete in adolescence. The frontal lobe, especially the prefrontal cortex, is one of the last parts of the brain to fully mature, and undergoes dramatic development during the teen years. [i] See, e.g. Jay N. Giedd et al., “Brain Development During Childhood and Adolescence: A Longitudinal MRI Study,” 2 Nature Neuroscience 861 (1999); Jay N. Giedd, “Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Adolescent Brain,” Adolescent Brain Development: Vulnerabilities and Opportunities, edited by Ronald E. Dahl and Linda Patia Spear, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1021, 2004; Nitin Gogtay et al., “Dynamic Mapping of Human Cortical Development During Childhood Through Early Adulthood,” 101 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 8174 (2004); Paul Thompson, “Time-Lapse Imaging Tracks Brain Maturation from Ages 5 to 20,” National Institute of Mental Health and the University of California, Los Angeles, May 2004.[i]

30 It is this “executive” part of the brain that regulates decision making, planning, judgment, expression of emotions, and impulse control. This region of the brain may not be fully mature until the mid 20s. [i] See, e.g. Jay N. Giedd et al., “Brain Development During Childhood and Adolescence: A Longitudinal MRI Study,” 2 Nature Neuroscience 861 (1999); Jay N. Giedd, “Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Adolescent Brain,” Adolescent Brain Development: Vulnerabilities and Opportunities, edited by Ronald E. Dahl and Linda Patia Spear, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1021, 2004; Nitin Gogtay et al., “Dynamic Mapping of Human Cortical Development During Childhood Through Early Adulthood,” 101 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 8174 (2004); Paul Thompson, “Time-Lapse Imaging Tracks Brain Maturation from Ages 5 to 20,” National Institute of Mental Health and the University of California, Los Angeles, May 2004.[i]

31 Gogtay et al. (2004) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. Maturation Occurs from Back to Front of the Brain Images of cortical gray matter density in 13 healthy children scanned longitudinally every 2 years for 8-10 years (age 4 -21)

32 Emotions The limbic system, which helps to process and manage emotion, is also developing during adolescence. Despite the fact that the limbic system is not yet fully mature, it stands in for the underdeveloped frontal lobe to process emotions. Rebecca L. McNamee, “An Overview of the Science of Brain Development,” University of Pittsburgh, May 2006.

33 This causes adolescents to experience more mood swings and impulsive behavior than adults. Rebecca L. McNamee, “An Overview of the Science of Brain Development,” University of Pittsburgh, May 2006

34 So, Teenagers make decisions using the emotional center of the brain, rather than the pre-frontal cortex. Fight, flight or freeze Impulsive decisions Hot and cold cognition

35 Feelings Levels of dopamine production shift during adolescence, which is a chemical produced by the brain that helps link actions to sensations of pleasure; its redistribution can raise the threshold needed for stimulation that leads to feelings of pleasure. Linda Patia Spear, “Neurodevelopment During Adolescence,” Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms in Psychopathology, Cambridge University Press, Nov

36 As a result, activities that once were exciting to youth may not be exciting as they enter adolescence, and they may seek excitement through increasingly risky behavior. [i][i] Linda Patia Spear, “Neurodevelopment During Adolescence,” Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms in Psychopathology, Cambridge University Press, Nov Drugs and alcohol Thrill seeking PTSD and soldiers

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38 So, Drugs & alcohol and other addictions can mimic dopamine production. As activities become less exciting drugs, alcohol and risk taking can replace the feelings they once had from positive events. The “need” for the substance continues. More is needed to prompt dopamine to be released into the body to feel pleasure.

39 Intellectual Adolescents can make impressive intellectual decisions, but may lack the social and emotional maturity to control impulses, resist peer pressure and fully appreciate the riskiness of dangerous situations. (Lawrence Steinberg, Ph. D., Temple University)

40 In a study of year olds there were no differences in cognitive measures from ages Major improvements were seen after age 16 and into the early 20’s. This suggests that cognitive abilities reach adult levels before psychosocial maturity is attainted. Book smart but socially at risk

41 Risk taking Emotional decisions are made in a different part of the brain than cognitive or intellectual decisions. The brain system responsible for logical reasoning and basic information processing matures earlier (back of brain) than the system responsible for self regulation and the coordination of emotions and thinking.

42 An Immature Brain = Less Brakes on the “Go” System (Winters)

43 Peer Groups Because of the changes in the emotional and decision-making centers of the brain, adolescents behave differently in circumstances of “hot cognition” (situations of high emotional context) and “cold cognition” (situations of lower emotional context).

44 A teen surrounded by friends in a loud, stimulating environment may make a more emotionally- based decision versus a teen in a calm, quiet environment with her parents, who may make a more intellectual, consequence-based decision.

45 Decision making for adolescents is heavily influenced by context and cluster groups. An adolescent’s intellectual capabilities can be as developed as adults; they are capable of making reasoned decisions and often will make better decisions than adults. However...

46 When youth are placed in environments where they may be susceptible to peer pressure, where there is pressure to make a decision quickly, where there is an opportunity for risk- seeking behavior, and/or where there is high emotionality, they have increased potential for their judgment to be driven by emotion rather than by reason. This may explain why youth are often arrested for violent acts in groups. Or it may indicate the power of the need to do whatever it takes to belong to a cluster group.

47 So, Many crimes committed by adolescents are done in groups with other teens and are not premeditated. (Lawrence Steinberg, Ph.D. Temple University) Illustrates the need for “de-escalation,” the need to remove the audience, and change the environment for teenagers, so they can make informed choices. Need for coping and decision making skills. Illustrates the need for a one-on-one mentoring and intergenerational relationships with adolescents. Guide by the side, not a sage on the stage!

48 Trauma Youth who are victims of emotional or physical trauma may suffer from a delay in brain maturation because of the disruption in brain development. [Rebecca L. McNamee, supra, note 2.

49 So... When trauma is combined with drugs and alcohol, it’s a ineffective way of making a decisions and causes developmental delays. Adolescents may “use” drugs and alcohol to mask, reduce or control “feelings” that they don’t know how to manage. Heavy substance abuse can affect future decision making and brain development.

50 Hazards and costs of alcohol and drug abuse 40 percent of those who started drinking at age 13 or younger developed alcohol dependence later in life. Ten percent of teens who began drinking after the age of 17 developed dependence. The overwhelming majority of youth (74% of 8-17 year-olds; 74% of 8-12 year-olds; 74% of year- olds) cite their parents as the primary influence in their decisions about whether they drink alcohol or not.

51 Underage drinking costs the United States more than $58 billion every year. The 25.9% of underage drinkers in the United States who are alcohol abusers and alcohol dependent drink 47.3% of the alcohol that is consumed by all underage drinkers. Those who are most vulnerable to excessive alcohol and drug abuse are young adults between the ages of

52 Fifty percent of U.S. homicides are alcohol related. Over all, about three-quarters of all prisoners in 1997 were involved in alcohol or drug abuse in some way in the time leading up to their current offense.

53 If an adolescent has his first drink before the age of 15 there is a 55% chance of developing chemical use problems as an adult. (Falkowski, 2008) If an adolescent has his or her first drink at the age of 21 or 22 the chances of developing chemical use concerns as an adult drops to 10-15%. (Falkowski, 2008)

54 So what? Alcohol and drug abuse has many legal, health and safety factors. Delaying alcohol use until age 20 or 21 has significant benefits on one’s life. When it comes to adolescent brains, research suggests that drugs and alcohol can cause permanent damage to the adolescent brain. (Walsh, 2004 & Winters, 2009 )

55 Toxic substances damage the brain and cause holes similar to taking a chunk out of our brain with an ice cream scoop. (Amen, 2004) Toxic substances (teratogens) include; drugs, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. (Amen,2004)

56 When our brain works right we work right, when our brain is troubled we are troubled. (Amen,2004) The brain will begin to heal itself once we stop using toxic substances. (Amen, 2004)

57 Brain Development Prenatal Post-birth Age RATE OF CHANGE  Myelination Synaptic Refinemen t Volum e Metabolis m Blood Flow Receptors Tapert & Schweinsburg (2005) Adolescence

58 Susceptibility to Alcohol Adolescents are over-sensitive to damage and under-sensitive to the warning signs of abuse. (Walsh, 2004) It takes an adolescent drinker a lot more alcohol before sedation and motor coordination problems take effect By then they can be dangerously drunk. (Walsh, 2004)

59 Percentages of Past Year Alcohol Use Disorder (Abuse or Dependence) Among Adults Aged 21 or Older, by Age of First Use (SAMHSA, 2005) Age Started Drinking % Fewer Problems in Those Who Start Later

60 So... Adolescents who drink together substantially increase their probability of making a poor decision. (Binging) When with a group, the ability of a teen to think for himself or herself is compromised.

61 Summary

62 It takes longer to grow up. The upcoming generation seems to have been abandoned by our society. Our young adults don’t know who they are or what to do. Our young people struggle to make healthy decisions and choices. They don’t know where or who to turn to.

63 Models of Human Development

64 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

65 Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages or Development

66 Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority Peer group will gain greater significance and will become a major source of the child’s self esteem. The child now feels the need to win approval by demonstrating competencies that are valued by society, and begin to develop a sense of pride in accomplishments. If encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and feel confident in their ability to achieve goals. If this initiative is not encouraged, or if it is restricted by parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and therefore may not reach his or her potential. If the child cannot develop the specific skill they feel society is demanding then they may develop a sense of inferiority. Some failure may be necessary so that the child can develop some modesty. Yet again, a balance between competence and modesty is necessary. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of competence.

67 Identity vs. Role Confusion The child has to learn the roles he will occupy as an adult and re-examine his identity and try to find out exactly who he or she is. Erikson suggests that two identities are involved: the sexual and the occupational. This stage is “a reintegrated sense of self, of what one wants to do or be, and of one’s appropriate sex role”. During this stage the body image of the adolescent changes. Erikson claims that the adolescent may feel uncomfortable about their body for a while until they can adapt and “grow into” the changes. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of fidelity. Fidelity involves being able to commit one's self to others on the basis of accepting others even when there may be ideological differences. Begin to form their own identity based upon the outcome of their explorations. Failure to establish a sense of identity within society can lead to role confusion. Role confusion involves the individual not being sure about themselves or their place in society. In response to role confusion or identity crisis an adolescent may begin to experiment with different lifestyles (e.g. work, education or political activities). Also pressuring someone into an identity can result in rebellion in the form of establishing a negative identity, and in addition to this feelings of unhappiness.

68 Intimacy vs. Isolation We begin to share ourselves more intimately with others. We explore relationships leading toward longer term commitments with someone other than a family member. Successful completion of this stage can lead to comfortable relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of love.

69 What can we do?

70 Help Teens Answer these Questions 1.The question of identity – “Who am I?” 2.The question of autonomy or power – “What’s my unique contribution?” “Do I matter?” 3.The question of affinity or belonging – “Where do I belong and to whom?” “Does anybody care?”

71 Developmental assets are positive experiences, relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to grow up healthy, caring, competent, and responsible. Developmental Assets ™ (Search Institute, 2004)

72 The Power of Assets (Search Institute, 2004)  Reduce and protect from risk-taking behaviors  Promote thriving behaviors  Boost student achievement  Engage a community in care the for adolescents. (It takes a village)

73 The Power of Assets to Protect

74 “Building relationships with young people is at least as successful in increasing their academic performance as any other single documented strategy.” (Search Institute)

75 Assets for Ages 5-12 Counseling Helps Developmental Folder

76 Assets for Ages Counseling Helps Developmental Folder

77 Practical Tools for Building Positive Relationships with Others

78 1.Go to them.  School events  Sporting events  Other extracurricular activities  Community events  Their job

79 2. Create a conversation.  S chool  L ikes  I nterests  R ules & relationships

80 Crucial Conversations – Joseph Grenny Be available, as best you can for the crucial moment of disproportionate influence. My interpretation - Be ready to talk, at the right time, in the right place regarding “tough” issues.

81 3. Be real  Apologize  Know your boundaries and limitations  Keep your promises and know what you can promise.  More is caught than taught  No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

82 4. Ninety minutes that can make a difference in the life of an adolescent.  15 minutes = one telephone call  15 minutes = three notes of encouragement  60 minutes = one personal visit

83 There is no word in a teenager’s vocabulary more enjoyed than the sound of his or her name. (Mayo)

84 Rules without relationships lead to rebellion. (McDowell)

85 Resource List Hurt 2.0 by Chap Clark, 2011 Why Do they Act that Way?, David Walsh, 2004 The Price of Privilege, Madeline Levine, 2006 Generation iY, Tim Elmore, The Adolescent Journey, Amy Jacobson, 2011 Growing Leaders Website, Tim Elmore Search Institute A Tribe Apart, Patricia Hersch


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