Psychological Aspects of Puberty

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Psychological Aspects of Puberty

This paper identifies the correlation between a child entering puberty and his or her history of sexual, physical, or psychological abuse. The paper examines whether children who are abused or maltreated have a more difficult time entering and going through puberty than those who were not abused. Puberty is the period of development where adolescents reach sexual maturity and are capable of reproduction. This can be a ‘scary’ or confusing time for adolescents as their body goes through a massive change. Further, a child who has been abused, especially sexually, has a different experience with these changes; sexually abused children and teens act and react in extremes, rather than moderation. Puberty is a time of sexual-awakening for a child; a child who has been sexually abused will neglect the idea of puberty based on his or her negative associations with sexual behavior.
Children who are abused experience sexuality in a premature manner. While the child did not understand the significance at the time of the abuse, he or she holds negative energy toward sexual alterations or changes because of the emotionally painful experience. However, children may have associated the physical aspect of the abuse with both pain and pleasure; this mixture of emotions and physical feelings creates shame in young teens and adolescents (Mandell, Damon, & Castaldo, 1989). Often the physical aspect of the sexual abuse has encouraging feelings; the one being abused may even reach orgasm. However, this brings further shame to the individual as he or she understands that it was not supposed to feel good, confusing the adolescent even more.
A child who associates positive physical feelings with sexual abuse can become a self-loathing individual. As the body enters puberty, these feelings of confusion that came from the sexual abuse are now compounded as the body goes through sexual changes. Furthermore, the child begins to understand what was taken from him or her during the sexual...

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