Adolescent Development

Adolescence is the stage of developmental transition between childhood and adulthood, involving multiple physical, intellectual, personality, and social developmental changes. The onset of puberty dictates the beginning of adolescence, and puberty now occurs earlier, on average, than in the past. The end of this developmental period is tied more so to social and emotional factors and can be somewhat uncertain.

Family Life, Knowledge & Understanding

These are examples of what adolescents need as they mature and grow mentally, physically and emotionally

How is your child developing physically?

  • The adolescent growth spurt—an early sign of maturation
  • Primary sex characteristics—changes in the organs directly related to reproduction
  • Secondary sex characteristics—physiological signs of sexual maturity that do not directly involve reproductive organs

Other ways your child is developing

  • Adolescent thinking is on a higher level than that of children. They are able to deal with abstractions, test hypotheses, and see infinite possibilities.
  • Perhaps the most important task of adolescence is the search for identity!

How can parents support healthy adolescent development?

Are there "secrets" of good communication? While adolescence can be a trying period for both youth and their parents, the home should not become a battleground if both parents and young people make special efforts to understand one another. The following guidelines may help:

Social Development During the Teen Years

Self Esteem

Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. The development of a positive self-image and a healthy self-esteem is very important for making a successful transition from child to adult.

Peer Pressure

As children grow, they begin to spend more time with their friends and less time with their parents. As a result, friends can influence a child's thinking and behavior.


Drug abuse is a serious problem that can lead to serious, even fatal, consequences. Research suggests that nearly 25 percent of adolescents (ages 12 to 17) have used drugs, with 16 to 18 as the peak age for drinking and drug abuse.


It is common for teens to occasionally feel unhappy. However, when the unhappiness lasts for more than two weeks and the teen experiences other symptoms, then he or she may be suffering from depression.