Assignment 18 - Coping with Development

Puberty is a time of change. Each individual changes at a rate unique to that person. Physical, emotional, sexual, and social differences between individuals can cause difficulties. This lesson focuses on evaluating personal feelings about puberty change, examining the impact of negative self-esteem, and identifying strategies to cope with negative feelings about physical, emotional, sexual, and social development.

1. Read through the following scenarios below. These stories are based on real-life events that could happen to you or your classmates this year. The students in each scenario are experiencing challenges in their lives due to changes happening to them. Although these changes are normal and natural, it certainly doesn't make them easy to handle at times.

2. Identify the changes happening in each scenario that are challenging that student. Is it physical change, emotional change, sexual change, or social change?

3. When you are experiencing a difficult challenge in your life, you need to face it and deal with the situation somehow. These actions are called "coping strategies" and they can be negative or positive. A negative coping strategy is something that can help you forget about the difficulties in your life, but it does not solve the problem. Examples of negative coping strategies are: abusing drugs or alcohol, overeating, withdrawing from friends and family, etc. A positive coping strategy is something that helps you overcome the difficulty and brings something good to your life. Examples of positive coping strategies are: positive self-talk, talking to friends and family, avoiding negative influences, etc.

Scenario One

Shoba really loves basketball. She plays it all the time and watches basketball games on television to learn new techniques and strategies. She’s in Grade 9 and was really excited to try out for the senior girls basketball team. She was sure that she would make captain this year. After tryouts she checked the posting in the gym and found out that she didn’t get picked for captain. Actually, she didn't even make the senior girls team at all! She asked her coach why she didn't make the senior team and she was told that it was because she is too short. Shoba was the shortest one at tryouts and the coach said was not as able to work well defensively on the court. Shoba is very upset because she thought she was good at basketball, but now she was told that she's not good at all. She feels like giving up playing basketball this year and forever.

  • Identify the change:
  • Two negative coping strategies:
  • Two positive coping strategies:

Scenario Two

Tyler has been dating the same girl for six months. They met at summer camp after Grade 9 and now they go to the same high school. It's the first girlfriend he ever had and he knows that she is "the one" for him. However, the relationship seems to be a bit rocky. His girlfriend is continually pressuring him to go further than he would like to sexually. Tyler knows the relationship is not working out, but he is worried about breaking up with her. No one before her ever wanted to date him, so he is convinced that he'll never get another girl as good as her to be with him again. He is also concerned that if the word gets out that they broke up because he he didn't want to "go all the way" with his girlfriend that the whole school will be laughing at him. Lastly, Tyler doesn’t want to be alone and he thinks that any relationship is better than no relationship.

  • Identify the change:
  • Two negative coping strategies:
  • Two positive coping strategies:

Scenario Three

Karyna is in high school. She has been sexually active, so she is taking birth control pills. Lately she has been thinking about what it would be like to have a baby. She's seen her older aunts and uncles have babies and she often babysits for them. She loves taking care of babies, playing with them, feeding them, and even cleaning up after them isn't so bad. Karyna thinks that having a baby would feel so amazing because you could have someone with you always who loves you and needs you no matter what. Karyna has decided to stop taking her birth control pills. She's not exactly looking to get pregnant on purpose, but if it does happen she will be secretly really happy about it. She hasn't told anyone about her decision.

  • Identify the change:
  • Two negative coping strategies:
  • Two positive coping strategies:

Scenario Four

Andy and his best friend Jamie have always loved to play online games together. They spend most lunch hours in the computer lab and they hang out at the second hand games store after school. They spend almost every weekend staying up late on night quests and raids with their online team. Lately, Jamie has been making excuses not to hang out with Andy. Instead, he is spending a lot of time with their other good friend, Sabrina. Jamie often eats lunch in the cafeteria now because he knows Sabrina will be there. Last weekend, Jamie said that he had to go visit his grandparents so he couldn't go over to Andy's house. Andy found out later that Jamie actually went to the movies with Sabrina. Andy isn't sure why his friend is ditching and doesn't seem into games any more when it used to be his favourite thing.

  • Identify the change:
  • Two negative coping strategies:
  • Two positive coping strategies:

Scenario Five

Marla is failing gym class this year because she is not participating enough. Her gym teacher has a rule that if you aren't changed into gym clothes you can't participate in class. Marla sits out because she forgets her gym clothes at home (on purpose). Other times she tells her teacher that she is feeling sick or has cramps, so she sits on the side. The reason why she doesn't want to participate is because she doesn't want to change her clothes in front of all the other girls. All the girls in her class seem to have the perfect figure and Marla is convinced that they will all whisper insults or laugh at her if they see her without clothes on.

  • Identify the change:
  • Two negative coping strategies:
  • Two positive coping strategies:

Scenario Six

Martin has a presentation to give in his astronomy class. He has spent weeks working on the project and feels like a true expert when it comes to this topic. The only problem is that his voice is changing and he can’t seem to control it. Every time he tries to answer a question in class lately his voice cracks or squeaks. Sometimes other students laugh a bit and he gets embarrassed and turns bright red. He wishes that the presentation was optional, but it is worth 20% of his mark. Without presenting, he’ll probably get a mark in the low 60's on this project. If he was able to present his project properly he could easily get higher than 90%. He can’t decide what would be worse – getting a grade that is less than what he deserves, or embarrassing himself in front of everyone.

  • Identify the change:
  • Two negative coping strategies:
  • Two positive coping strategies: