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Despite the negative portrayals that sometimes seem so prevalent—and the negative attitudes about adolescents that they support—the picture of adolescents today is largely a very positive one.
People born in other countries now constitute 10% of the U. population, the highest rate since the 1930 census (U. Census Bureau, 2002).5 Half of those from other countries are from Latin American countries—overall, about 15% of adolescents ages 10 to 19 are of Hispanic or Latino origin (U. Thus, research on most areas of normal adolescent development for minority youth is still lacking; so caution should be used in generalizing the more global findings reported here to all adolescents.
The physical changes that herald adolescence—the development of breasts and first menstrual periods for girls, the deepened voices and broadened shoulders for boys—are the most visible and striking markers of this stage.
With all of the attention given to negative images of adolescents, however, the positive aspects of adolescents can be overlooked.
Professionals can play an important role in shifting perceptions of adolescents to the positive.
Efforts are made to move to a new way of understanding and working with adolescents in the context of larger systems (Lerner & Galambos, 1998); although working with adolescents and families is critical, systemic change is sometimes needed to safeguard adolescent health.
Also at the heart of is the theme that today’s adolescent needs one thing that adults seem to have the least surplus of—time. Council of Economic Advisers, teens rated “not having enough time together” with their parents as one of their top problems. A crosscutting theme, regardless of one’s professional role, is the need to communicate effectively with youth.
The truth is that adolescents, despite occasional or numerous protests, need adults and want them to be part of their lives, recognizing that they can nurture, teach, guide, and protect them on the journey to adulthood.
Directing the courage and creativity of normal adolescents into healthy pursuits is part of what successfully counseling, teaching, or mentoring an adolescent is all about.
Having an understanding of normal adolescent development can help professionals be effective communicators with young people.
It is critical that professionals educate themselves about the different cultural and ethnic groups with whom they work in order to provide competent services and to relate effectively one-on-one with adolescents.
Young people need adults who will listen to them—understand and appreciate their perspective—and then coach or motivate them to use information or services offered in the interest of their own health (Hamburg, 1997).Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating