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|Quick reference medical handouts used
by Pediatric offices
Stages of Adolescent Development
Stages of Adolescent
Adolescence is a challenging period for
both children and their parents. Three stages of adolescence - early, middle, and late,
are experienced by most teens, but the age at which each stage is reached varies greatly
from child to child. These different rates of maturation are connected to physical
development and hormone balance, neither of which the child can control. For this reason,
adolescents should be treated as individuals and any guidelines should be adapted to the
12 - 14 years
15 - 17 years
18 - 21 years
|Rapid body changes as
puberty is in full swing. Very moody. Teens wonder if they are going to be normal. They
are very sensitive to their changing body and often measure their physical appearance and
skills against idealized images. This is especially true of girls, who tend to be less
satisfied with their body image and most constantly want to lose weight.
||The majority of changes
associated with puberty have taken place
development is generally complete. Greater emotional stability Height may continue
to develop for a short time in males.
|Begins to show concern
for their body as rapid changes occur; shyness, blushing, modesty, and the need for
||Adolescents at this
age are very concerned with their physical appearance and believe that others are also
concerned. Greater time is invested in grooming, exercising, and experimenting with new
images such as makeup and clothing styles. This is done with the purpose of developing a
satisfying and realistic body image.
|Less concerned about
their body as puberty ends
|Curiosity about sexual
matters begins. Teens begin having new feelings, which are usually centered around their
own bodies, rather than developing sexual relationships with the opposite sex. Their
sexual curiosity is often expressed by affection for remote and desirable people, such as
teen idols, rock band members, and movie stars.
||Begins to have increased
concerns about their own sexual attractiveness with a movement towards heterosexuality and
some have concerns about attraction to same sex. Tenderness
is shown toward the opposite sex with frequently changing relationships. Sexuality is a
major preoccupation for the middle adolescent.
sexual identity. Is very concerned about serious relationships and develops the capacity
for tender and sensual love.
|Young teens would much
rather be with their friends than their family, especially their parents. Realizes
parents are not perfect and often points out their faults. Searches for new adults
to confide in instead of parents. They often need a "hero" or an adult to look
middle adolescents are broadened by their relationships with adults outside the family.
This exposes them to new and unfamiliar situations and lifestyles. These may be
frightening to the middle adolescent causing them to begin to worry about the
separation process, They often write down their inner thoughts and feelings in a diary.
||Adolescents in this age group often
turn back to the family and realize that their parents can be their best friends. This is
especially true if both the adolescent and parent show mutual respect for each other. The
peer group fades in importance and is replaced by a few good friends.
|Young adolescents may be
quick to disagree with parents and take the opposite view on an issue to test parental
values. They will often cast away hobbies or objects that link them to their childhood.
Shows parents less attention and is may be rude to them.
||Complains that parents
interfere with their independence. Teens during this stage experience the most conflict
with their parents. There is a lowered opinion of parents and withdrawal from them.
Achieving independence from their parents is particularly important to a middle
adolescent. Annoying habits, such as refusal to wash, poor manners, vegetarianism, messy
rooms, and untidy dress are normal ways in which the middle adolescent tries to become
independent. While they still need love and acceptance by their parents, most middle
adolescents will hide such needs in an effort to be mature.
||Young adult will
start to listen to parents advice again. They may even seek out their parents opinion as
parents accept adolescent as a young adult.
|Teens this age feel
invincible as if nothing bad could possibly happen to them; mostly interested in the
present. Young teens may start engaging in risky behaviors such as experimenting with
smoking, drugs, sex etc..
||Most teens this age
still feel invincible and that nothing bad could possibly happen to them. This will cause
them to engage in high risk behaviors. Experimentation with alcohol, cigarettes,
marijuana, and sexual intercourse increases sharply during this stage.
||Teens this age begin to
realize their mortality and begin to worry about the future. Some still think they are
invincible. There may be less participation in risky behavior Relationships with
parents improve for another reason: The adolescent has established a sense of
identity and is no longer threatened by seeking their parents' advice or counseling.
with peer groups become important at this age. It is important to the young adolescent to
fit in and not appear different from his/her peers. Most young teens would
rather"hang out" with the same sex friends. Peer group friendships become more
intimate with increased sharing of ideas, opinions, and activities. Conformity in behavior
and physical appearance (clothes, speech, hair styles, etc.) becomes very important,
"everything" to the middle adolescent. Picking good friends is important, and
loss of friendships can cause serious depression. Strong emphasis on their peer group and
the need for peer approval uses much of the teen's energy. Middle adolescents often confide more in each than with their
|Peer group less
influential. One on one dating becomes more important, and late adolescents may
develop a more intimate relationship with someone.
|Quick to demonstrate feelthrough
behavior (acting-out). They become frustrated and anxious because of lack of experience
and inability to cope with certain events and problems. , They have rigid concepts of
right and wrong.
||Begins better use of speech to
express themselves; less acting out of feelings. Increased ability to control their
conflicts, and say no to peer pressure.
||Has greater ability to express ideas
rather than acting out. Their value system is also changing. Often idealistic. Causes are
embraced with conviction. Peer-group relationships are replaced by individual friendships.
interests in future; some are unrealistic (rock start, astronaut, etc.)
||Most begin to think
about future vocation.
||Begins to think
seriously about career goals; Very concerned about the future; World of work
becomes very real for those who do not plan for college.
artistic, academic, or musical talents may emerge
||Encouragement of any
special athletic, artistic, academic, or musical talents may help develop a good
||Encouragement of any
special athletic, artistic, academic, or musical talents will help develop a good
considerable maturity and babyness; secretive "clams up at home" talkative but
not communicative; often giggly; Usually unwilling to compromise
||Have poor concept of
cause and effect causing many middle adolescents to be unable to link driving while
drinking with auto accidents and sexual intercourse with pregnancy or STD's
ability to make independent decisions and to compromise - but they still have a long way
to go. Takes pride in their work and some can be self-reliant.
As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as
medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your childs pediatrician.
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