O parents and adolescents seem to be less comfortable

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o Parents and adolescents seem to be less comfortable in each other’s presence when puberty is reached, especially in their physical closeness. For example, one study of 10- to 15-year-olds found that regardless of age, those who had reached puberty felt less close to their mothers and less accepted by their fathers What is the explanation for this change in behaviour? o Biologically based incest taboo between parents and children once children reach sexual maturity, resulting in more distant relations (mostly white American families) Distancing is not typical in traditional cultures Personal Responses to Menarche and Semenarche p.58 Girls responses to this would be positive for the most part but with shades of ambivalence o Makes them feel more “grown up” M enarche is followed by increases in social maturity, prestige with peers, and self-esteem o Not all reactions are positive, both culture and biology may shade girls reactions Cultures may not provide information to prepare girls for menarche or the culture may alter their view to regard it as negative. Ex. Chinese girls have negative expectations of menarche due to their traditional beliefs (bad luck, sickness) Girls who mature earlier than others are more likely to be unprepared for menarche. o Because it takes place earlier for them than for other girls, they are less likely to have learned about it from peers, and their mothers are less likely to have prepared them Studies also indicate that most girls and women experience a certain amount of biologically based discomfort associated with menstruation. P.59 o Among adolescent girls, most report some degree of premenstrual syndrome (PMS ), the combination of behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms that occur in the week before menstruation Discomfort entails cramps, backaches, headaches, fatigue, and depression o Cramps is the most common (30-50% of women) For boys, perhaps the closest analogue to menarche is first ejaculation, sometimes known as semenarche o They enjoyed the pleasurable sensations of it, and, like girls’ experience of menarche, it made them feel more grown up. o However, many reported that guilt, surprise, or fear was part of the experience o Many boys were never told about semenarche Culture certainly influences boys’ interpretation of semenarche. o It may occur through “wet dreams” or masturbation, and there is a long history of shame and censure associated with masturbation in the West p.59 Early and Late Pubertal Timing P.61 One factor that determines how adolescents respond to reaching puberty is how other’s respond Within cultures, timing of puberty appears to be based mainly on genetic factors o Mother age of menarche predicts daughters o Sister’s ages of menarche are highly correlated However, there is some evidence that environmental factors such as stress or high socioeconomic status may trigger earlier puberty
Adolescents of the same age have many different levels of physical maturity. How does age-grading of schools accentuate these differences?

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