Adolescents also develop cognitively (mentally). From the point of view of Piaget, the adolescent reasons in more abstract, idealistic and logical ways. During this period, all aspects of intelligence (e.g. judgment, reasoning, comprehension, memory and concentration) mature rapidly. Adolescents are no longer satisfied with being told what to do. They want to know why and to contribute. They may, therefore, challenge or rebel (Dulcan, 1997). Values and moral development also occur in adolescence. Another aspect of cognitive development that changes during adolescence is reasoning about moral issue. Many adolescents are searching for something to believe in that will make sense out of their world and give meaning to their lives. This may lead to increased religious activity and sometimes some fanaticism.
28 Counselling Needs of Adolescents Adolescence is a delicate period when boys and girls are faced with special needs and problems that they never had before, and problems that are somewhat different from what they encountered in childhood or will encounter as adults. Certain needs are accentuated, and a series of development task must be mastered properly. When the needs of this age are not adequately provided for, the problems of indecision, uncertainty, conflict, instability, unpredictability, perhaps leading to delinquency, alcoholism, career muddle and hindered heterosexuality may surface, hence the need for guidance and counselling to help adolescents find solutions to their many problems or better still help prevent them. There is a wide variation in the age at which an adolescent’s growth spurt start and end when puberty takes place; adolescents become pre-occupied with their looks and are often dissatisfied with how they look. They want to belong and to be accepted. Therefore in order for an adolescent to adjust and overcome the needs, the counsellor must assist the individual to accept himself/herself emphasizing on uniqueness and individual differences. Here, the individual accepts his physique, weaknesses, strengths and values. This will make the adolescent understand why somebody can do something she cannot do and also she does something uniquely. The counsellor should help to build the self-esteem and confidence of the individual. Hormonal imbalances in adolescents could lead to mood swings and the counselor should assure the adolescent that it is transitional and will not stay with him/her permanently. Counsellors also help the
29 adolescents to address their personal problems by giving information and equipping them with decision – making skills. The child comes to know about sex from the early age. Surveys made by Ramsey and Hamilton (as cited by Chauhan, 2002) prove that children cannot be kept ignorant of sex knowledge. Puberty triggers off an interest in the opposite sex. Older males may confuse their physical maturity with emotional maturity and this may lead into early sexual activity. It is therefore the role of the counsellor to assist them to understand such biological changes. The counsellors should also help them to identify their interests and develop
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