The “father of adolescence,” Granville Stanley Hall is best known for his prodigious scholarship that shaped adolescent themes in psychology, education, and popular culture. Granville Stanley Hall was born in a small farming village in Massachusetts, and his upbringing was modest and conservative. He has produced over 400 books and articles and had become the first president of Clark University, Massachusetts, but his greatest achievement has been his research work on child centered research, education, and adolescence to a society in transition. He was instrumental in the development of educational psychology, and attempted to determine the effect adolescence has on education.
Hall coined the phrase “storm and stress” with reference to adolescence and applied the phrase as he saw turmoil during adolescence as universal and inevitable.
It is important at this point to address directly the question of what is included under the concept of adolescent storm and stress. Taking historical and theoretical views in combination with contemporary research, the core of the storm and-stress view seems to be the idea that adolescence is a period of life that is difficult (Buchanan et al., 1990)—more difficult in some ways than other periods of life and difficult for adolescents as well as for the people around them. This idea, that adolescence is difficult, includes three key elements, let us delve into them:
Conflict with parents and other authority figures:
Hall (1904) viewed adolescence as a time when the wisdom and advice of parents and teachers is overtopped, and in ruder natures may be met by blank contradiction. He viewed this as due not only to human evolutionary history but also to the incompatibility between adolescents’ need for independence and the fact that parents, teachers and other authority figures still think of adolescents as mere children, and tighten the rein where they should loosen it”.
One naturalistic study of early adolescents’ conflicts with parents and siblings reported a rate of 2 conflicts every three days, or 20 per month (Montemayor & Hanson, 1985).
This conflict makes adolescence difficult not just for adolescents but for their parents and this in-turn reflects adolescents behaviour at school.
However, it should be added that there are substantial individual differences, and there are many authority figures and adolescents between whom there is little conflict, even if overall rates of conflict between authority figures and children rise in adolescence. Conflict between parents, teachers and adolescents is more likely when the adolescent is experiencing depressed mood (Cole & McPherson, 1993), when the adolescent is experiencing other problems such as substance abuse (Petersen, 1988),and when the adolescent is an early-maturing girl or boy (Buchanan et al., 1992).
According to a recent survey conducted by EduMedia on ‘Understanding adolescents concerns and relationships’, what stands apart is even amidst relatively high conflicts is that parents, teachers, other authority figures and adolescents tend to report that overall their relationships are good, that they share a wide range of core values, and that they retain a considerable amount of mutual affection and respect. The conflicts tend to be over apparently everyday issues such as dressing, hanging out with friends, home-work, curfews, and the like. Even if they disagree on these issues, they tend to agree on more serious issues such as the importance of education and choosing the right career etc.
Understanding this conflict as a major reason for stress among adolescents can help teachers and the school to create...