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Developmental Psychology - Essay Example

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Should schools have sexual education programs in which they can inform and advise teens about sexual behavior, risk factors, and prevention? Why or why not?
There are several…
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Developmental Psychology
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What cognitive and social factors contribute to high-risk sexual behavior in some adolescents? Should schools have sexual education programs in whichthey can inform and advise teens about sexual behavior, risk factors, and prevention? Why or why not?
There are several cognitive and social factors that influence sexual behaviour in general. A teen-ager’s parents, for example, or the kind of relationship they have with their child have much to do with their child’s behaviour. Teens who have developed a close relationship with their parents will be less likely to engage in sexual behaviour (Kail, 2008, p 334). High-risk sexual behaviour may result from these and a combination of other factors. Unprotected sex, for instance, may lead to HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases. An absence of any of the contraceptive methods may also lead to pregnancy for teen girls, It is estimated that one of every six sexually active teen girls becomes pregnant (Kail, 2008, p. 336). The book lists four factors that contribute to high-risk sexual behaviour. These are ignorance, illusion of invulnerability (when the adolescent feels that the sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy could not happen to her), lack of motivation (desiring to become pregnant for the wrong reasons), and lack of access (inability to secure contraceptives).
Schools should be mandated to hold sexual education classes for their adolescent students. Students who get sexually promiscuous do so not solely because they have learned sex in school, but because of influences in mass media and other elements they are exposed to. In other words, sexual activity will occur with or without sex education classes. However, without knowing the biological reasons and ways of dealing with what they feel, students will be more at a loss as to how to protect themselves. What needs to be emphasized is that they should be responsible for their actions, and they have the choice to refuse to have sex even in the face of peer pressure. For sex education to be withheld from adolescents is not only irresponsible, but potentially dangerous for them.
Drawing on material from the text, respond to the following questions. The text discusses the "myth" that adolescence is a time of storm and stress. This has been the popular view for many years. Discuss the authors conclusions. Do you agree with their view? What have been your own experiences regarding this issue, either yourself or as a parent?
According to the authors, Kail & Cavanaugh, the rebellious teen is largely a myth perpetrated by popular media. Teen-agers are not truly combative or argumentative; on the contrary most adolescents (1) admire and love their parents; (2) rely upon their parents for advice; (3) embrace many of their parents’ values; and (4) feel loved by their parents.
Personally, I would agree with the authors, that parent-child relationships do not necessarily deteriorate during adolescence, but rather change as the adolescent tends to be more responsible and to try out his or her independence as a young adult. There might be a problem if the parents are too protective or too traditional, so as not to allow for a reasonable amount of change and adjustment according to the personality of the adolescent. After all the teen-ager is going through a period not of rebellion, but of confusion as he or she seeks out his or her own identity. An understanding and supportive parent would be a little more flexible and allow the adolescent some leeway for mistakes, uncertainties, and experimentation, but not so far as to expose him to real danger.
As an adolescent myself and looking at other adolescents now, I believe few teen-agers are extraordinarily unreasonable or rebellious towards my parents. While there are times their opinions may clash, this is just a matter of adjustment to change – growing pains, so to speak. I believe that parents are really glad and relieved that their children are becoming more independent and are better able to decide things for themselves; and though they may at times be apprehensive, as soon as they discover that their child has actually made good decisions, they are more than glad to let them take command of their lives, and to hope that they would still go to their parents for the occasional advice and to share their joys and problems. Read More
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