Adolescence Key Points

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Physical Development:

  • Rapid weight gain occurs at beginning of adolescence. A change (+) in appetite occurs.
  • Sexual maturity accompanies physical and emotional mood swings.
  • Girls are usually about two years ahead of boys.
  • Sometimes a period of glandular imbalance.
  • Skeletal growth completed, adult height reached in girls, later in boys, muscular coordination improved.
  • Heart size increases rapidly at beginning of adolescence

Characteristic Behaviors, Responses and Activity:

  • Going to extremes, emotional instability with “know-it-all” attitude.
  • Swaggering sense of power due to private (secret) life knowledge
  • Regressing to personal habits of a younger child: nail biting, tricks, impudence, daydreaming, teasing and humorous mimicry and disgust of people and things
  • Searching out philosophical, ethical, and religious ideas.
  • Preoccupying one’s self with peer approval and social groups.
  • Fearing ridicule and being unpopular; acting pitiful and sensitive.
  • Strongly identifying with teen culture heroes, groups, peers and admired adults.
  • Asserting independence from family in public and in private.
  • Joining clubs and clique groups under supervision, given responsibility by adults
  • Attaining status for physical attractiveness for both boys and girls.
  • Girls usually more interested in boys than boys in girls.

Helpful Family Behaviors to Ease This Stage of Life:

  • Acceptance of the need to communicate and conform to age-mates.
  • Parental understanding of sexual attitudes and secret life relationships and attitudes.
  • Adult guidance and leadership, especially in making friendship choices, and respect for the adolescent’s need to learn from mistakes and exercise his/her free will.
  • Assurance of security through parental supervision and constant communication.
  • Insistence of parents to engage adolescents in conversations on all topics, whether adolescents complain or not offer objections
  • Early provision by parents for opportunities to self-employed or get a job that earns and saves money.
  • Provision for constructive community service; select with adolescents a cause, idea, or issue to work for, which comes from their own talents, skills or interests.
Ask Dr. Susan