Puberty and Adolescence

While there are no specific terms for adolescence as a life stage, it is recognized in other ways for girls. Some time after menarche a girl goes through a small private initiation ceremony. She grinds corn for 3 days, after which a kinswoman puts her hair into a distinctive style of two large coils, one on either side of her head. This indicates that she is now an adolescent and ready to think about marriage and courtship. At this time her life becomes much more restricted. Her mother keeps her at home doing domestic tasks, although girl friends sometimes have corn-grinding parties in one of their homes. She is warned about being alone with an adolescent boy or man, and that she should not run about the village as she did earlier. At the same time, she is supposed to attract a suitable boy for her future husband. This presents a dilemma. The girl's movements are restricted just when her parents and fellow clan members expect her to find a suitor, and relations between mother and daughter often become rather tense.

Boys, on the other hand, experience greater freedom in adolescence than they do at any other time of life. They are required to help their fathers and maternal uncles in farming and herding, but they can do what they like at other times. Groups of boys usually go about together, playing games or just relaxing. After puberty it is quite common for groups of boys to sleep in the kiva when the weather is cold, along with unmarried young men and widowers, and when it is warm, they spend the night sleeping on a house roof.

Although parents are supposed to train adolescent boys to be hardworking, they often indulge their sons, rationalizing that these boys will soon be put to work under the strict supervision of their fathers-in-law. At the same time that adolescence is a time of restriction and tension for girls, for boys it is a time of freedom and male companionship.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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