Their bodies change physically. They mature intellectually, and adolescent makes changes which secure their own social identity. Each of these changes pulls direction both from the natural elements in their bodies, and the nurturing environment which is around them. Changes in biology require nature - food, exercise, caloric intake and other environmental contributors. On the other hand, changes in social identity, sexual identity, body image, and position in the pecking order are more a function of the nurturing social network which surrounds the teen than how much food they consume or how much sleep they get each night.Finally, the subject if intellectual development must also be taken into consideration regarding the teen's maturation process. Intellectual development is a function of but nurture and nature. The student can have the best natural environmental surroundings and still mature with the idea that he or she is of diminished intellectual ability. The intellectual maturation process required physiological changes in the adolescent's brain structure. This process also required input from those around the adolescent. The individual must be reinforced, and reassured that their intellectual growth is indeed accomplishing and attaining new levels of intellectual progress in order for the individual to grab a hold of this identity, that they are an intelligent person, and that their thoughts are indeed important and valuable.
The process of adolescent development is one which is complicated because of the totalistic range over which the child changes. One set of inputs; factors which catalyze the change also affect other areas. The absence of one of the required inputs, healthy nutrition for example, not only affects the physical growth of the person, but also can impact the child's emotional and intellectual balance and progress. Jerome Dusek in his book Adolescent Development and Behavior attacks this subject and attempts to give an both an overview as well as a detailed understanding of the myriad of changes which occur in the adolescent's mind, body and soul as they mature. This book addresses the list of tasks which the teen must accomplish on his or her journey from child to adult. Through this book, the reader is able to look at the entire process of adolescent maturation, and understand better, as if from a distance, the monumental achievement which we call surviving the teen years, and becoming a successful, balanced adult.
Adolescent Maturation Tasks
According to Dusek, the process of moving from child to adult is filled with specific tasks. Each of these tasks is specific and quantifiable. In order for the child to arrive in adulthood, the individual must "achieve mastery of "certain social abilities or attitudes related to development. In other words, developmental tasks are skill s, knowledge, functions or attitudes that in individual must acquire at various stages during his lifetime in order to adjust successfully to the more difficult roles and tasks that lie before him."1
As a person who is looking back at the adolescent process, this book has clarified a number of false impressions which are typical to the adolescent mind. There are a number of ideas which the adolescent holds which have nothing to do with the developmental tasks. These beliefs also form a core of what many adolescents think is the purpose of this phase of life.
For example, one of the chief beliefs that adolescents believe as part of their cultural identity is that their experience is unique. The teen is out on his own, and alone in this journey. For this reason, peer influence becomes such a highly charged influence for the teen. The teen places much of what is outside his or her sphere of peer social