Family Development - A Caregiver's Guide

Your Teenager

Many parents that have raised teenagers say the two hardest times in life came when they were a teenager and when they raised a teenager. Adolescence is a time of energy, passion and emerging identity. Parents often struggle with how to deal with their adolescent. Although your child seems to want little to do with you right now, teenagers still need nurturing, support and guidance to become independent adults.

Physical Development

  • Begins puberty: Girls have body growth along with the growth of breasts, pubic hair, and underarm hair and may also start menstruating. Boys will have body growth along with the growth of testes, penis, underarm/facial hair, and will have a change in their voice.
  • Faces health concerns such as eating disorders, substance abuse, sexuality, pregnancy, depression and suicide
  • Requires more sleep now that they are growing rapidly

Social/Emotional Development

  • Feels greater pressure to develop social relations with peers, and when these social relations happen, teens move further away from their parents, which can create conflict and tension at home
  • Struggles with self-doubt such as “What am I good at?”

Cognitive Development

  • Thinks more flexibly
  • Thinks through several solutions to a problem
  • Suspends judgment until receiving all information
  • Knows how to seek information
  • Anticipates the probable consequences of alternative actions before choosing them
  • Has a tendency to misinterpret other people’s behaviors and motives
  • Tends to exaggerate or oversimplify matters
  • Engages in argumentative and rebellious behavior
  • Has trouble with indecisiveness
  • Finds fault with authority figures