Posts Tagged ‘Milestones’

Adolescence – Know the Milestones of Your Adolescent

May 7th, 2021

Adolescence is the developmental phase between childhood and adulthood characterized by rapid changes in physical, psychosocial, moral, and cognitive growth. There are 3 stages of adolescence: early (11-13 years), mid (14-16 years), and late (>17 years). Each of these stages differs in respect to the developmental milestones your adolescent needs to achieve. Everybody is different, and not every child reaches certain stages at the same time as other kids. The most important thing is to be supportive of your adolescent and show patience within healthy boundaries and rules.

Consider these developmental milestones when interacting with your adolescent:

INDEPENDENCE

In early adolescence, children want to break away from their parents. They prefer to spend time with friends than family. In mid adolescence, children are ambiguous about the separation, but by late adolescence your child should resolve these issues.

BODY IMAGE

In early adolescence, your child adjusts to pubescent changes. In mid adolescence, children “try on” different images to find their real self. By late adolescence, your child should develop a satisfying body image.

RELATIONSHIPS

In early adolescence, children hang around unisex friends. In mid adolescence your child will spend more time in a heterosexual peer group. By late adolescence, expect that individual relationships will become more important to your child than the peer group.

CAREER PLANS

In early and mid adolescence, career plans are vague. As your child enters late adolescence, specific goals and steps to implement these goals are present in your child’s mind.

VALUE SYSTEM

Your early adolescent will test your moral system. Mid adolescents are self-centered. Late adolescents have a rigid concept of right and wrong, and are other-oriented.

SEXUAL DRIVES

Early adolescents are sexually curious, and by mid adolescence they may begin sexual experimentation. In late adolescence, however, they begin intimacy and caring.

At the onset of puberty, your adolescent will begin to need privacy. This can be accomplished by allowing your teen to have his/her own room. If you cannot provide this, your teen should have his/her own section of a room where they cannot be disturbed.

Be prepared for your adolescent to declare their independence. Your adolescent has an appropriate psychological need to separate from you and establish his/her own identity as an individual. For most adolescents, it is accomplished quietly through the media of clothes, hair, jewelry, music, and the increased importance of close friends. As adolescents separate from parents, they need the support of their peer group for a safe psychological shelter (supportive structure) in which to grow outside of family. But that does not mean that your adolescent does not need you anymore. They need you more than you think, so express your concerns for them (without embarrassing them in front of their friends!).