Adolescence is a long transition period between childhood and adulthood. It is a period of change … for their body and their brains. Teens battle their physiology as moods can swing wildly, sleep patterns change and assessing risk becomes more difficult.
It’s also a period of challenge as they frequently question parent authority, and can go to great lengths to remind you that you aren’t the font of all wisdom as they once thought!
Raising an adolescent is exhilarating, excruciating and anxiety-inducing.
I’ve seen each of my three children enter the fog of adolescence and wondered what happened to the once-compliant and easy-going kid. It’s been a relief to see them come out of that fog, all at different stages and all having experienced adolescence differently.
3 phases of adolescence
There are three distinct adolescent phases:
- Early adolescence lasts from 10 to 13 years of age and comes as a shock for many parents. Peers rather than parents are important in a young teens’ mind. They like to have more privacy, and their vocabulary starts to shrink as well.
- Middle adolescence, 13 to 16 years of age is a tricky stage all around. Boys take more risks and girls can be downright cruel to each other in times when social success, is far more important than academic success.
- Late adolescence starts at around 17 years of age and can last until well into the twenties. It’s an easier stage as teens begin to negotiate different relationships with their parents. Still they are emotionally and financially-dependent on their parents for longer than past generations.
Raising teens today takes some savvy, some attitude and some backbone. Teens need parents who know how they tick and can handle them effectively at each stage of development during these high-risk, volatile times.