- Why kids and teens may face far more anxiety these days
- The Growing Child: Adolescent 13 to 18 Years
- What changes will happen during puberty?
- What does my adolescent understand?
- How to assist your adolescent in developing socially
- Extended Adolescence: When 25 Is the New 18
- Puberty: Stages and first signs
- Your Son at 14: Milestones
- Puberty: Adolescent Male
- What does my teen understand?
- Your teen's relationships with others
- Strength Training in Children and Adolescents: Raising the Bar for Young Athletes?
Why kids and teens may face far more anxiety these days
When it comes to treating anxiety in children and teens, Instagram, and are the bane of therapists' work.
“With (social media), it's all about the self-image — who's 'liking' them, who's watching them, who clicked on their picture,” said Marco Grados, associate professor of psychiatry and clinical director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “Everything can turn into something negative … [K]ids are exposed to that day after day, and it's not good for them.”
Anxiety, not depression, is the leading mental health issueamong American youths, and clinicians and research both suggest it is rising. The latest study was published in April in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
Based on data collected from the National Survey of Children’s Health for ages 6 to 17, researchers found a 20 percent increase in diagnoses of anxiety between 2007 and 2012. (The rate of depression over that same time period ticked up 0.
Philip Kendall, director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University and a practicing psychologist, was not surprised by the results and applauded the study for its “big picture” approach.
“There is definitely a rise in the identification of kids with serious anxiety,” he said. They are “growing up in an environment of volatility, where schools have lockdowns, where there are wars across borders. We used to have high confidence in our environment — now we have an environment that anticipates catastrophe.”
The data on anxiety among 18- and 19-year-olds is even starker. Since 1985, the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA has been asking incoming college freshmen if they “felt overwhelmed” by all they had to do. The first year, 18 percent replied yes. By 2000, that climbed to 28 percent.By 2016, to nearly 41 percent.
The same pattern is clear when comparing modern-day teens to those of their grandparents' or great-grandparents' era. One of the oldest surveys in assessing personality traits and psychopathology is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which dates to the Great Depression and remains in use today.
When Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, looked at the MMPI responses from more than 77,500 high school and college students over the decades, she found that five times as many students in 2007 “surpassed thresholds” in more than one mental health category than they did in 1938.
Anxiety and depression were six times more common.
Statistics on anxiety in children and younger adolescents aren't easy to come by.
The study published last month was the National Survey of Children's Health, which the researchers noted “is the only national data source to evaluate the presence of anxiety and depression on a regular basis.
” The findings were limited, though, and relied on the reports of parents and guardians as to whether a health-care professional had ever told them their child was suffering from one of those conditions.
Those responding yes were asked to describe the level of both anxiety and depression in their children: 10.7 percent said their child’s depression was severe, and 15.2 percent who listed their child's anxiety atthat level.
Among the study's other findings: Anxiety and depression were more commonly found among white and non-Hispanic children, and children with anxiety or depression were more ly than their peers to be obese. The researchers acknowledge that the survey method — parents reporting what they were told by their child's doctor — ly skewed the results.
Grados often identifies anxiety in the children and adolescents he sees as part of his clinical practice in Baltimore. “I have a wide range [of patients], take all insurances, do inpatients, day hospital, outpatients, and see anxiety across all strata,” he said.
The causes of that anxiety also include classroom pressures, according to Grados. “Now we're measuring everything,” he said. “School is putting so much pressure on them with the competitiveness … I've seen eighth graders admitted as inpatients, saying they have to choose a career!”
Yet even one of the latest study's authors acknowledges that it can be difficult to tease out the truth about the rise in anxiety.
“If you look at past studies,” said John T. Walkup, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, “you don’t know if the conditions themselves are increasing or clinicians are making the diagnosis more frequently due to advocacy or public health efforts.”
Nearly a third of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Health, with the incidence among girls (38.0 percent) far outpacing that among boys (26.1 percent).
Identifying anxiety in kids and getting them help is paramount, according to clinicians.“Anxiety can be an early stage of other conditions,” Grados said. “Bipolar, schizophrenia later in life can initially manifest as anxiety.”
For all these reasons, Kendall said, increased awareness is welcome.
“If you look at the history of child mental health problems,” he said, “we knew about delinquency at the beginning of the 20th century, autism was diagnosed in the 1940s, teenage depression in the mid-'80s. Anxiety is really coming late to the game.”
A warning for people with severe anxiety: Avoid the Internet'
The Woebot will see you now' — the rise of chatbot therapy
What drives children and teens to suicide?
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The Growing Child: Adolescent 13 to 18 Years
The teenage years are also called adolescence. Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes. An adolescent may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth, then have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty (sexual maturation) may happen gradually or several signs may become visible at the same time.
There is a great amount of variation in the rate of changes that may happen. Some teenagers may experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others.
What changes will happen during puberty?
Sexual and other physical maturation that happens during puberty is a result of hormonal changes. In boys, it is difficult to know exactly when puberty is coming. There are changes that happen, but they happen gradually and over a period of time, rather than as a single event. While each male adolescent is different, the following are average ages when puberty changes may happen:
- Beginning of puberty: 9.5 to 14 years old
- First pubertal change: enlargement of the testicles
- Penis enlargement: begins approximately 1 year after the testicles begin enlarging
- Appearance of pubic hair: 13.5 years old
- Nocturnal emissions (or “wet dreams”): 14 years old
- Hair under the arms and on the face, voice change, and acne: 15 years old
Girls also experience puberty as a sequence of events, but their pubertal changes usually begin before boys of the same age. Each girl is different and may progress through these changes differently. The following are average ages when puberty changes may happen:
- Beginning of puberty: 8 to 13 years
- First pubertal change: breast development
- Pubic hair development: shortly after breast development
- Hair under the arms: 12 years old
- Menstrual periods: 10 to 16.5 years old
There are specific stages of development that both boys and girls go through when developing secondary sexual characteristics. These are the physical characteristics of males and females that are not involved in reproduction, such as voice changes, body shape, pubic hair distribution, and facial hair. The following is a brief overview of the changes that happen:
- In boys, the initial puberty change is the enlargement of the scrotum and testes. At this point, the penis does not enlarge. Then, as the testes and scrotum continue to enlarge, the penis gets longer. Next, the penis will continue to grow in both size and length.
- In girls, the initial puberty change is the development of breast buds. This is when the breast and nipple elevate. The areola (dark area of skin that surrounds the nipple of the breast) increases in size at this time. The breasts then continue to enlarge. Eventually, the nipples and the areolas will elevate again. They then form another projection on the breasts. At the adult state, only the nipple remains elevated above the rest of the breast tissue.
- Pubic hair development is similar for both girls and boys. The initial growth of hair produces long, soft hair that is only in a small area around the genitals. This hair then becomes darker and coarser as it continues to spread. The pubic hair eventually looks adult hair, but in a smaller area. It may spread to the thighs and, sometimes, up the stomach.
What does my adolescent understand?
The teenage years bring many changes, not only physically, but also mentally and socially.
During these years, adolescents increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually make plans and set long-term goals.
Each child may progress at a different rate and may have a different view of the world. In general, the following are some of the abilities that may be evident in your adolescent:
- Develops the ability to think abstractly
- Is concerned with philosophy, politics, and social issues
- Thinks long-term
- Sets goals
- Compares one's self to one's peers
As your adolescent begins to struggle for independence and control, many changes may happen. The following are some of the issues that may be involved with your adolescent during these years:
- Wants independence from parents
- Peer influence and acceptance becomes very important
- Romantic and sexual relationships become important
- May be in love
- Has long-term commitment in relationship
How to assist your adolescent in developing socially
Consider the following as ways to foster your adolescent's social abilities:
- Encourage your adolescent to take on new challenges.
- Talk with your adolescent about not losing sight of one's self in group relations.
- Encourage your adolescent to talk to a trusted adult about problems or concerns, even if it is not you he or she chooses to talk with.
- Discuss ways to manage and handle stress.
- Provide consistent, loving discipline with limits, restrictions, and rewards.
- Find ways to spend time together.
Extended Adolescence: When 25 Is the New 18
Especially now, with society’s deepest depravities freely available online, youngsters seem to grow up quickly: barreling toward adulthood, iPhone in hand, while they Snap Chat racy photos along the way.
But new research suggests otherwise.
An analysis by researchers at San Diego State University and Bryn Mawr College reports that today’s teenagers are less ly to engage in adult activities having sex and drinking alcohol than teens from older generations.
The review, published today in the journal Child Development, looked at data from seven national surveys conducted between 1976 and 2016, including those issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
Together, the surveys included over eight million 13- to 19-year-olds from varying racial, economic and regional backgrounds.
Participants were asked a variety of questions about how the they spent their time outside of school and responses were tracked over time.
Beyond just a drop in alcohol use and sexual activity, the study authors found that since around 2000, teens have become considerably less ly to drive, have an after-school job and date. By the early 2010s, it also appeared that 12th graders were going out far less frequently than 8th graders did in the 1990s.
In 1991 54 percent of high schoolers reported having had sex at least once; in 2015 the number was down to 41 percent. What’s more, the decline in adult activity was consistent across all populations, and not influenced by race, gender or location.
“I’ve seen so many articles in which experts said they didn’t know why the teen pregnancy rate was going down or opining that teens were behaving in a more virtuous way…or that they were lazy because fewer were working,” recalls Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State and the lead author on the study.
“Our results show that it’s probably not that today’s teens are more virtuous, or more lazy—it’s just that they’re less ly to do adult things.” She adds that in terms of adult behaviors, 18-year-olds now look 15-year-olds of the past.
Twenge and her co-author, Heejung Park, assistant professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr College, initially thought the findings meant teens today are doing more homework or engaged in more extracurricular activities. Yet their data suggest the frequency of these activities has been stable for years, if not on a slight decline.
The fact teens (not un many adults) are glued to their computers and smartphones for much of the day may have contributed to the results the authors suggest.
Perhaps their socializing and more salacious interests have simply gone digital via texting, sexting and online pornography. (Today’s teens watch more porn than their predecessors.
) Yet virtual vice isn’t the whole story because the dip in adult activities began before internet usage became common.
The more ly explanation for this new extended adolescence its relationship to affluence. The analysis found adolescents were more ly to take part in adult activities if they came from larger families or those with lower incomes.
This mirrors so-called “life history theory,” the idea exposure to an unpredictable, impoverished environment as a kid leads to faster development whereas children who grow up in a stable environment with more resources tend to have a slower developmental course.
In families with means there is often more anticipation of years of schooling and career before one necessarily has to “grow up”—there’s plenty of time for that later. As Twenge and Park conclude, despite growing income disparities, a significant percentage of the U.S.
population has on average become more affluent over the past few decades and are living longer. As a result, people are waiting longer to get married and have children.
We’re also seeing a higher parental investment in fewer children—or, in the parlance of our times, more “helicopter parenting.”
This concept of extended adolescence is not new. It was first made famous by psychologist Erik Erikson, who in his theory on the different stages of human development termed this stage a “psychosocial moratorium.
” Yet many child psychologists believe today’s children seem to be idling in this hiatus period more so than ever before.
“I'm keenly aware of the shift, as I often see adolescents presenting with some of the same complaints as college graduates,” says Columbia University psychiatrist Mirjana Domakonda, who was not involved in the new study.
“Twenty-five is the new 18, and delayed adolescence is no longer a theory, but a reality. In some ways, we’re all in a ‘psychosocial moratorium,’ experimenting with a society where swipes constitute dating and s are the equivalent of conversation.”
Some experts caution against reading too much into the new findings, because asking a bunch of teenagers to accurately recount their behavior has its obvious statistical flaws.
“The new work highlights how vital it is to do careful, methodologically rigorous research,” says Robert Findling, director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medicine who also did not take part in the new research.
“Working from impressions, opinions or individual experiences can lead to spurious conclusions.”
But presuming some degree of truth to the new findings, what might postponing adulthood mean for society? Are we headed toward a culture of helpless, coddled teenagers unwilling to work? Or given that we’re living so much longer than past generations, maybe there’s nothing wrong with a few extra years of innocence? Twenge sees both upsides and downsides: “It's great to protect young teens, but parents should realize that older teens need some experience with independence before they go to college or start working.”
Domakonda adds that although parents can play a role in indulging extended youth, they are not the root cause. “Most are responding to their own anxieties about the new norm,” she says. “They recognize that now, in order for their children to succeed, they can’t simply get a job at the local factory, but may be faced with 10-plus years of postgraduate education and crippling student debt.”
She feels that instead of pushing young adults to mature faster, we should embrace the cultural shift and develop ways to both meet the psychological needs of modern teens while also setting them up for future success.
Domakonda suggests one such strategy might be expanding mental health services for adolescents, particularly because 75 percent of major mental illnesses emerge by the mid-20s.
She also feels we should stop arbitrarily defining 18 as the age of adulthood and recognize that psychosocial development occurs differently in different people.
“Researchers need to recognize that emerging adults are a unique developmental cohort and stop lumping them in the 18- to 65-year-old category for studies of adults,” she says. “That will help us learn about their specific needs so we may develop targeted prevention and treatment strategies [for mental illness]
Time will tell how extended adolescence influences American culture and character. But in the words of basketball legend Charles Barkley, there is one clear upside: “Kids are great. It’s a shame they have to grow up to be regular people and come to the games and call you names.”
Note: This story was updated to correct Mirjana Domakonda's job title.
Puberty: Stages and first signs
Everyone goes through puberty slightly differently, but there are puberty stages that usually happen at certain ages in a young person’s development.
In this article, we look at the stages of puberty for males and females, and the ways that parents and caregivers can help to support kids through this time.
Share on PinterestPeople’s experience of puberty varies.
Females start puberty sooner than males. Puberty in females most often begins between the ages of 8 and 13 years. The process may continue until they are 14 years old, although this can be later.
The first stage of puberty includes prepuberty changes. These are changes that start to happen in the body but are not yet visible.
One of the first physical changes females will notice during puberty is their breasts starting to grow.
The initial stage of growth is breast buds. Slight swelling appears under the nipple, and the area of skin around the nipple, known as the areola, will start to get bigger.
The breasts will then slowly start to grow during puberty. Females may experience some tenderness or itchiness as the breasts begin to change. It is usual for each breast to grow at slightly different rates, which will often even out over time.
Females will also start to notice more hair growing in places such as their legs and arms. At around 12 years old, on average, females will begin to see hair growth under the arms.
Pubic hair will start growing along the labia and will gradually become thicker, curlier, and cover a larger area of the vulva. In the final stages of puberty, pubic hair may grow around the top of the thighs.
Females will usually begin their period roughly 2 years after their breasts have started to grow. They might get their first period anywhere between 10 and 16.5 years old. It is also normal for females to have white vaginal discharge.
Females will also grow taller in puberty, with a gradual height increase each year. In the first stages of puberty, females may grow 5–6 centimeters (cm) in a year. In the following stages of puberty, this can increase to 7–8 cm per year. Females will usually stop growing around 16 years of age.
Females may also increase in weight and have more body fat around the upper arms, thighs, and back. Hips tend to become wider, while the waist narrows.
At 17–18 years old, breasts are usually fully developed. Breasts can continue to grow up until the early 20s, though.
One of the first changes in males during puberty is the scrotum enlarging and becoming darker. Once the scrotum and testes begin growing, the penis also starts to grow.
Males will start growing pubic hair at the base of the penis, which will then gradually cover a larger area around the genitals. As pubic hair grows, it becomes darker and coarser.
In the later stages of puberty, pubic hair may spread to the thighs and stomach. Males will also have hair growth under their arms, legs, and usually on their face and chest.
In the first stages of puberty, males may grow in height by about 5–6 cm. In later stages of puberty, this can increase to 7–8 cm and then 10 cm per year. Males will usually stop growing around 17 years old.
Height changes can happen in growth spurts, where teenagers may grow very quickly over several months. A period of slower growth may then follow. Males also become more muscular during puberty.
Hormonal changes during puberty can sometimes cause slight breast swelling in males. Breast swelling is a common and temporary stage of male puberty.
As the voice begins to deepen, males may find their voice “breaks.” This means the voice may go through a period of switching between sounding deep and high before it becomes permanently deeper.
Males may start having erections as the body begins to produce sperm. Males may also have ejaculations while they sleep, which people may refer to as “wet dreams.”
Some people may experience puberty later or earlier than usual. This can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so people should see their doctor.
If people experience puberty early, a doctor may refer to this as precocious puberty.
In females, early puberty is the appearance of puberty signs and symptoms before the age of 8, such as:
- ovulation and menstruation
- underarm and pubic hair
- breast development
For males, early puberty is the appearance of puberty signs and symptoms before the age of 9, such as:
- a deepening voice
- pubic and underarm hair
- enlarged testicles and penis
- facial hair
- sperm production
Early puberty may be a result of an underlying medical condition. Some causes of early puberty include:
- an issue with the central nervous system
- genetic syndrome
- a family history of the condition
- tumors or growths affecting either the ovaries, brain, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands
- early release of puberty hormones with no known cause
Delayed puberty means there are no physical signs of puberty in females by the age of 13 or males by 14 years old.
Symptoms of delayed puberty in females include:
- more than 4 years between the first signs of breast growth and their first period
- no breast development by age 13 years
- no menstruation by 14 to 16 years old
Symptoms of delayed puberty in males include:
- no testicle enlargement by 14 years of age
- longer than 4 years to reach the adult genital development stage
- no pubic hair by age 15 years
If people have signs of delayed puberty, they may want to see their doctor. Causes of delayed puberty can include:
- a family history of delayed puberty
- chromosomal or genetic disorders
- chronic illness
- tumors affecting the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, a part of the brain that affects hormones
Kids go through many physical and emotional changes during puberty and may experience:
- mood swings
- low self-esteem
- body image issues
Both males and females may develop acne during puberty. This is because of their body changes and increases in hormone production. These developments can create excess oil, which contributes to the start of acne. Washing the face daily with a cleanser may help to keep acne under control.
During puberty, people also start to sweat more. Daily hygiene is essential and may help prevent body odor. Young people may want to start using deodorant.
Sometimes, certain body parts, such as hands, feet, arms, and legs, will grow more quickly than the rest of the body. This may cause temporary clumsiness and a slight lack of coordination.
Parents and caregivers may want to discuss these issues with their teenagers to ease any embarrassment or anxiety they may feel about their changing bodies.
Teenagers may start experiencing romantic or sexual feelings for people of the opposite or same sex. Some teenagers may also feel uncomfortable about their assigned gender.
Talking through these issues with teenagers and giving them plenty of support can help them address any anxiety or confusing emotions they may be experiencing through puberty.
Advice from Planned Parenthood, which discusses how to talk through puberty with teenagers, may be helpful.
Although everyone will experience puberty slightly differently, particular physical changes occur that signal puberty. If people experience puberty symptoms a lot later or earlier than the standard stages, it may indicate an underlying medical condition, and people should see their doctor.
Some individuals may feel anxious or embarrassed about the changes to their bodies during puberty. Parents and caregivers may find that discussing the stages of puberty with their preteen or teenager might help to ease their worries.
Your Son at 14: Milestones
If you have a 14-year-old boy around the house, you already know that he has changed almost overnight in some ways that seem huge. Other changes might be more subtle. All boys are different, and all reach certain points in their development at different ages.
But at age 14, it’s a safe bet that your son’s rapidly emerging sense of self is going to astonish you and, at the same time, introduce new challenges into your relationship. His relationships with you, with his peers, and even with his own body, are changing, and he’s engaged in a struggle to keep up and emerge as a strong young adult.
At this age, your son is a teenager. Changes vary from person to person, but physical signs can include:
- A spurt in height, weight, and strength
- A voice that changes, gets deeper, and “cracks” from time to time
- Development of acne
- Growth in his penis and testicles
- Growth of underarm and pubic hair
- “Wet dreams” and ejaculations
Again, everyone is different, but if by age 14 your son isn’t showing some of these signs of puberty, you may want to make an appointment with a doctor for a physical exam.
Your son is most ly starting to show more complex thinking patterns, although sometimes getting those thoughts him may be difficult. You may notice:
- He’s developing strong s and diss.
- He seems to communicate less at times.
- He’s eager to enter into heated arguments and discussions with you.
- He challenges your assumptions and solutions.
- He’s becoming interested in politics, philosophy and social issues.
At 14, your son will be testing his friendships and, most ly, his first real sexual feelings. He will very ly be dealing with peer pressure to try alcohol, tobacco and drugs. It’s a busy time in his life:
- He’s absorbed in social media, texting and instant messaging, and probably gaming.
- He shows more interest in, and is influenced by, his peer group.
- He’ll begin spending much more time with his friends.
- His sexuality is beginning to emerge.
- He’ll need more sleep.
- He’ll most ly want to stay busy with all kinds of activities.
- He’ll have both male and female friends and may have a wide social circle.
- He may be embarrassed by you and by his family in general.
At this stage in your son’s life, he’s right in the midst of puberty, which means that his hormone levels are up and down. He’ll face emotional changes and feelings that are new and strange. You may see:
- Some mood swings and, at times, he may be depressed and short-tempered
- A focus on himself (ly swinging between moments of great self-confidence great insecurity)
- That he’s “in love” for the first time
This is a time when your son will have a lot of choices to make about who to be friends with, who to follow and who he wants to be. There are lots of challenges that you can help him with and some things to pay attention to:
Substance abuse. Talk to your son about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, vaping and using e-cigarettes. Be a good listener when he talks to you about these things.
Try not to judge him or his friends, because the main thing is to keep the lines of communication open. Be a good role model. Remember, he’s watching and taking his cues from you.
Also, many of the drugs teens abuse are prescription meds taken from their own homes. You may want to keep them locked up.
Know his friends. Make sure you get to know the kids your son is spending time with, because he’s watching and taking cues from them, as well. Reassure him that you are available for an early pick-up in the event that the group is engaged in inappropriate activities or activities that he does not enjoy.
TV and Internet screen time. Make sure you know what your son is watching on TV and consider restricting access to age-inappropriate material. The Internet is a different story.
Although kids use it for school and healthy social interaction, there are many possible dangers involved, including bullying, sexual exploitation, hate sites and plenty of pornography. Have conversations with your son about the dangers.
The more you know about his online life, the better.
Sex. Your 14-year-old is undoubtedly going to be very closed-mouthed about his sexual life. But the earlier you talk openly and honestly about all aspects of it, the more he will come to you as sexual issues arise.
At this age, your son will look for more independence, and it’s important for you to give him some space. Let him know that privileges and freedom come with responsibility and respect.
He may treat you with some disrespect and may begin to feel that he knows everything. On the other hand, he may feel that you have very little knowledge about anything. Temper your response, but don’t let him get away with this behavior. Make sure you set some boundaries with consequences and follow through on them.
Give your son privileges performance. He’s old enough to be assigned chores around the house and should be expected to fulfill them. Completing homework and school assignments should also be expected with the promise of earned privileges and extra freedom responsibility.
Children’s Health: “Keeping Families Healthy.”
Aboutkidshealth: “Stages of Puberty in Boys.”
St. Paul’s Health and Wellness Blog: “Development from age 13-16.”
Children’s Neuropsychological Services: “Development Milestones for 12-14 Year Olds.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library: “The Growing Child: Adolescent (13 to 18 Years).”
ParentsandKids.com: “Developmental Milestones for 14-year-old.”
Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation: “Child Development: 13- to 16-Year-Olds — Insight & Growth.”
Sutter Health: Palo Alto Medical Foundation: “Parents & Teachers: Teen Growth & Development, Years 11 to 14.”
Understood.org: “Developmental Milestones for Typical High-Schoolers.”
Healthychildren.org, American Academy of Pediatrics: “Stages of Adolescence.”
© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Your Daughter at 15
Puberty: Adolescent Male
The teenage years are also called adolescence. During this time, teens will see the greatest amount of growth in height and weight. Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes.
A teenager may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth. Then they may have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty may happen slowly. Or several changes may occur at the same time.
It's important to remember that these changes will happen differently for each teen. Some teens may experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others. And being smaller or bigger than other boys is normal. Each child goes through puberty at their own pace.
What does my teen understand?
The teen years bring many changes—not only physically, but also mentally and socially. During these years, teens increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually to make plans and set long-term goals. Each child may progress at different rates, and show a different view of the world. In general, the following are some of the abilities you may see in your teenager:
- Developing the ability to think abstractly
- Concerned with philosophy, politics, and social issues
- Thinking long-term
- Setting goals
- Comparing himself to his peers
Your teen's relationships with others
As your teenager begins to struggle for independence and control, many changes may happen. Here are some of the issues that your teen may experience during these years:
- He wants independence from parents.
- Peer influence and acceptance is very important.
- Peer relationships become very important.
- He may be in love.
- He may have long-term commitments in relationships.
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