Adolescence is the phase of development when we change from the body and mind of a Child to that of an Adult. We now know, due to the major advances in our understanding of how the brain works, that this phase is not completed until the age of 24/25.
So what are the tasks of adolescence? They can be summed up as follows;
- To separate out from our parents,
- To figure out who we are,
- To acquire the skills and understanding to enable us to stand on our own two feet and make our own way in the world.
These are pretty big ticket tasks and in fact there are many adults walking around in the world today who never achieve them. To further complicate matters it is the emotional part of our brain that starts to develop first and this makes us feel everything more intensely, such as feelings of fear, sadness, joy, anger etc. So in fact it is a matter of pure biology that this phase can feel like an emotional roller coaster. It is during these years too that negative thoughts and feelings can flourish like weeds, as we compare ourselves to our peers and feel “stupid” , “ugly”, “not good enough”. It is important therefore to remember at these times that “Thoughts are not Facts” because it is during these years we create the explanatory story of ourselves , such as “I am a loser” or “I am a trier”, ” I am lovable” “I am unlovable. It is this story then that we tend to use for the rest of our lives and will influence everything we do.