In this technological era, where the roles are adapted on the basis of cultural demands, adolescent developmental milestones are achieved quite late during the twenties, therefore, the period of adolescent psycho-sexual and psycho-social development could be considered from age 13 to 20. It starts with the onset of puberty where a sexual orientation and differentiation is introduced through bodily changes.
If an adolescent doesn’t successfully pass puberty it may cause psychological problems such as difficulty in accepting one’s gender, for instance, may result in poor body image. Another trend which is now seen increasingly in adolescent girls is to adapt tomboyish look. If we find in-depth reasons, it connects with primitive experiences, such as a girl in childhood living among many brothers, observing gender discrimination, watching that her brothers gained more favours from parents and society, or listening to gender-based comments such as boys are stronger than girls. If adolescent forms such kind of perceptions and ideologies, the sense of self and identity becomes distorted. In extreme cases, they may develop gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder. During an adolescent crisis, dissatisfaction with one’s own genitals may further lead to sexual difficulties or psychological impotence.
Keeping recent trends in mind it is also evident that some adolescents who don’t feel satisfied with their gender attempt to change their gender by undergoing surgeries as we see many transgenders who deliberately choose this style of life. Other traumatic or early sexual experiences along with difficult puberty may also lead to sexual disorders in adulthood such as hypoactive desire disorder, sexual aversion, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and many others. Regarding career choices, an adolescent who couldn’t successfully attain the developmental tasks may acquire occupational choices other than gender suitability such as adolescent boy becoming more interested towards female fashion designing fields.
Some deviant career choices with this particular sexual identity crisis can include those sex sellers or prostitutes. Other abnormalities with respect to adolescent psycho-sexual and social attainments may include simple role confusions such as a female adopting dominant role in a family, going for a job while husband remains at home to take care of children. This could be primitively related to adolescence stage where a female felt inferior to males and to compensate this inferiority complex she adopts a powerful role in future. Similarly, an adolescent boy who observed a more dominant role of a mother compared to an inept father, he later in life may adapt female roles or may remain submissive just like his father was.
All of such issues are those requiring clinical attention. The period of youth is important in many regards. Youth is the period on which a person’s future is based. It is the period where an adolescent requires support and proper guidance. It is the alarming sign and it is the time to cater all of the above-mentioned issues related to the adolescent crisis before it’s too late.
During the adolescent period if parents observe any of these signs in their children then they must take steps. They may approach health workers, psychologist, psychiatrist, or any relevant professional to take proper guidance regarding how to deal adolescents with such issues. They may refer a child for psychotherapy where a therapist can help deal with such cases. Online counselling is now available to guide parents and adolescents regarding such issues. You can approach our trained professionals of this field by registering yourself for online counselling.
Dr Mehwish Mursaleen
PhD Clinical Psychology