The journey from childhood to adolescence is very challenging. Between the ages of 10 and 17 there are major changes in physical, cognitive, social, and moral development. The major task for adolescents is to establish their self-identity.
By determining–as best they can–a sense of who they are, they attempt to find a group that reflects or reinforces this self-identity. The group allows them to feel that they stand out from the crowd. This phase of development allows the adolescent to search for their sense of self. This helps them answer the increasingly important question that they could not consider in earlier stages of development: “Who am I?”
This is why the teenager can quickly change what they think, believe and how they act. They are a shifting form as they:
« contrast self with others
« sort through identifications
« choose those that seem to fit
« discard those that don’t
« integrate the identification into a unique individual
Be patient and gentle as you watch your teenage go through these changes. They will settle into who they are in their 20’s. Remember how confused you were when you were a teenager?
©2013 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 24 year-old children.