Teens and Adolescence
Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development that typically occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). The time of adolescence are often compared to the adolescent years; although the physical, psychological and cultural expressions will begin earlier and finish later.
An understanding of teens and adolescence in society depends on information from various perspectives, including psychology, biology, sociology, history, and education. the end of adolescence and also the starting of adulthood varies by region and by function. Also, even within a single culture, there may be different ages at which an individual is considered mature enough for society to entrust them with sure rights and responsibilities.
Changes in the adolescent brain
Our brains are not fully developed by the time we reach puberty. Between the ages of 10 and 25, the brain encounters changes that have significant implications for behavior and their behavioral health. The biggest shifts in the folds of the brain during this time occur in the parts of the cortex that process cognitive and emotional information.
Adolescence is also a time for rapid cognitive development. Piaget describes adolescence as the stage of life in which the individual's thoughts start taking more of an abstract form and the egocentric thoughts decrease. This allows the individual to think and reason in a wider perspective.
Because most injuries sustained by adolescents are related to risky behavior (car crashes, unprotected sex, substance abuse), a great deal of research has been done on the cognitive and emotional processes associated with adolescent risk-taking. Along these lines, it is important to distinguish whether teenagers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, whether they make risk-related decisions similarly or differently than adults, or whether they use the same processes but value different things and thus arrive at different results.
Some have argued that there may be evolutionary benefits to an increased inclination for risk-taking in adolescence. Without a willingness to take risks, adolescents would not have the motivation or confidence essential to leave their family or home.
Related to their increased tendency for risk-taking, adolescents show impaired behavioral inhibition, including deficits in extinction learning. This has important implications for engaging in risky behavior such as unsafe sex or illicit drug use, as adolescents are less likely to inhibit actions that may have adverse outcomes in the future.
Relationship to the family
Adolescence signals a rapid change in one's role within a family as well. Teenagers try to assert themselves forcefully but are typically unable to demonstrate much influence over family decisions until early young adulthood, when they are increasingly viewed by parents as equals. Adolescence may affect this relationship differently, depending on sibling gender. In same-sex sibling pairs, intimacy increases during early adolescence, then remains stable.
Despite changing family roles during adolescence, the home-living situation and parents are still important for the behaviors and choices of adolescents. Teenagers who have a good relationship with their parents are less likely to engage in various risk behaviors, such as drinking, smoking, fighting, and/or unprotected sexual intercourse.
Essential peer groups
Peer groups are essential to social and the general development of a teen. Communication with peers increases during adolescence, and peer relationships become more intense than in other stages and more influential to the teen, affecting the decisions and choices being made. High-quality friendships may enhance children's development regardless of the characteristics of those friends.
Communication within peer groups enables adolescents to explore their feelings and identity; as well as develop their social skills. Peer groups offer members the chance to develop social skills such as sharing, empathy, and leadership. Teenagers choose peer groups based on characteristics similarly found in themselves.
There are certain aspects of adolescent maturation that are more rooted in culture than in human biology. For the best information regarding troubled teen issues please review the search results below. Our goal is to be the clearing house of relevant articles and web sources regarding issues related to "troubled teens."
- Some of the topics you will find in our comprehensive listing of articles regarding troubled teens are::
- Drug and alcohol experimentation
- Risky behavior
- Sneaking out
- Sexual promiscuity
- Academic failure
- Poor peer choices
- Divorce reaction
- Anger issues (acting out)
- Depression and anxiety
For a more comprehensive information about troubled teen issues please see the search results below.