22/7 wrote:As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.
And as I noted, all of that applies to childhood in general, except puberty. Why don't we just call the whole thing 'childhood', and say 'postpubescent' when the issue of physical maturity comes up?
22/7 wrote:One of the biggest arguments offered so far is the boy-to-man-in-a-day culture, which doesn't really hold up because a) it *completely* ignores the biological and physiological changes that the boy-to-man goes through, which will not coincide with this one day (or even one week or one year) ritual, celebration, rite, whatever,
Puberty describes the biological and physiogical changes that an individual of 14-18 years (on average) is likely to go through. We don't need to be redundant about it. Puberty, as a term, even has the bonus of not having cultural baggage tacked onto it.
22/7 wrote:2) it assumes that a society will *immediately* begin to treat the newly created "man" as a full fledged man, no different from any other man aside from elders, chiefs, etc. (which, I posit, it will not), and d) it assumes that the newly created "man" will immediately begin to act, think, emote as a full fledged man in his society (which, I posit, he will not).
Right now, in western society, we do not *immediately* treat adults (19-20 year olds) like full-fledged adults. Furthermore these people do not act, think, and emote as full-fledged adults in society. They are no less adults for this fact.
22/7 wrote:Even if the culture he's in makes him a man on, say, his 13th birthday, he will be subject to the kinds of changes and transitions that everyone else will go through during their adolescence. Even if there is only child and adult in his society, there is a lot of transition that is happening, even if the society does not officially recognize it.
But those cultural changes and transitions are not unique or indicative of adolescence.
If I say, "A young man has been put into a new and somewhat frightening situation, in which he is at the bottom of the social ladder and needs to learn to adjust to his new surroundings," you would perhaps say that I am describing an adolescent going to High School.
But I could just as easily be describing an adult who is enrolling in college. Or an adult who has enlisted in the military. Or an adult who is getting a new job. If not for the "young" descriptor, I could be describing a 50-year-old man who is going back
And to Robin S: I don't think we know enough about how the mind works to say that. The brain's chemistry changes, constantly and due to biological forces independent of thought, from birth to death. These changes include aging (from birth to death, though it's more easily noticed in early years), diet, exercise regimen, and so on. We have only a loose grasp on what, if any, impact any one of these may have on our thoughts or behaviors.