Adolescent minds

Adolescence connects childhood to adulthood. It has aptly been described by Louis J. Kaplan as “an inner emotional upheaval: a struggle between the eternal human wish to cling on to the past and the equally powerful wish to get on with the future.”

For a lot of people, adolescence brings with it a burst of energy, clarity of mind and supreme confidence to face any difficulty. Whereas for some others, it brings mood swings, emotional upheaval and low self-esteem. There is not a single person who comes out of adolescence unscathed, but no matter what, it makes a person readier to face the world. Adolescence is a time of new birth, for it is a time when higher human traits are born. It is the most technicolour time of our lives! There is a pervasive notion that the teenage brain is immature and not up to its true potential. Whereas research has shown that adolescence is not only about cognitive vulnerabilities but also about greater opportunities for growing, learning and even preventing later psychiatric illnesses. In most cases, it is the only illness that can be cured if ignored long enough!

During adolescence, even shy and anxious children tend to be more exploratory and are likely to experiment with new things. Teenagers are more prone to risk taking. They don’t take calculated decisions, rather they think after they act! It is the only time in a person’s life when he/she can act on impulse without worrying about the consequences. This is why adolescence is said to be the “society’s permission slip for combining physical maturity with psychological irresponsibility”.It is the time that makes or breaks one’s life. But then again, adolescence is not about letting go, it is about holding on during a bumpy ride.

Over the recent years, we have seen a lot of teenagers successfully starting and running their own businesses. This only goes to prove the wonders adolescent minds are capable of! Adolescence is the formative age in a person’s life when new ideas are being created. With a little grooming, adolescents are capable of performing tasks that most adults would find difficult. This is because adolescents are gifted with the childlike lack of fear about what the future holds, yet they have the sense and sensibilities of adults.

One of the biggest advantages that teenagers have over adults is that despite the innumerable number of attempts they have got, there is always more time and energy left to get back up and start all over again. People are most often forgiven for the mistakes they make as teenagers. People don’t judge adolescents in the same manner as adults are judged. They are given the leave-way of still being children. Life too does not provide as many chances to adults as it does to teenagers. If a young individual decides to take control of his/her life, miracles can occur!

But adolescence does provide tremendous challenges to both the adolescents themselves and to their near and dear ones, for it is the period in one’s life when all of a sudden, one no longer has the carefree life of a child. Adolescents are not allowed to be children, yet they are not capable of being adults. The moodiness, the volatility and the wholesale lack of impulse control would be close to clinical conditions if they occurred at any point in life! But in adolescence, they are just part of the behavioural portfolio! “Elegance is not the prerogative of those who are going through adolescence but of those who have already taken possession of their future.” 

Every teenager experiences a tumultuous change in emotions and feelings during this crucial period in their lives. At that awkward age when a person is too old to be called a child and too young to be and adult, most people find it difficult to cope – until they realise that each and every single one of their peers is going through exactly the same changes as them. Especially during adolescence, change is truly the only constant. A teenager’s likes and dislikes, priorities and needs don’t remain the same even for a few consecutive days. Just as a pimple is an eyesore to a beautiful face, some events that occur during adolescence etch their mark on a person’s life. Most children feel vulnerable, confused and alone during adolescence.Children emerge from the state of obscurity and come out into the world from the protected nest of their family.

As we list out the challenges and opportunities for adolescent minds, we have to grudgingly add that it is a necessary evil. Perhaps it is even a gift to humanity. The opportunities it provides far out-weigh the challenges it puts forth, giving teenagers a much-needed impetus towards stability, maturity and finally successful adulthood!!

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