During adolescence, your child is coping with many changes in the following:
- independence - Independence is defined as making decisions for one's self and acting on the basis of one's own thought processes, judgment and decision-making. Part of the developmental process an adolescent is to learn to work out her own problems independently.
- identity - Identity is defined as a sense of self or self-knowledge about one's characteristics or personality. One of the fundamental tasks of adolescence is to achieve a sense of a personal identity and a secure sense of self. Difficulty in developing a clear concept of self or identity occurs when an adolescent is unable to resolve struggles about who she is as a physical, sexual and independent person.
- self-esteem - During adolescence, a teen become more thoughtful about who she is and who she wants to be. Girls tend to have lower self-esteem than boys.
Developmental changes in peer relationships:
Your teenager will want to spend more time with her friends. Don't worry if your teenager enjoys the time she spends with friends more than other activities, and if your teenager wants to spend less time with family.
Close friendships tend to develop between teens that are more similar in nature, interest, social class and ethnic backgrounds. While childhood friends tend to be based on common activities, adolescent friendships expand to include similarities in attitudes, values, loyalty and intimacy, as well as common activities.
Teen friendships also tend to be more similar in level of involvement in academic and educational interest. Especially for girls, close, intimate, self-disclosing conversations with friends help them explore their identities and define their sense of self. Conversations within these important friendships also assist adolescents in exploring their sexuality and how they feel about it.
Boys, on the other hand, are more prone to form an alliance with a group of friends who validate each other's worth through actions and deeds rather than personal disclosure.
Developmental changes in male-female relationships:
The adolescent transition to male-female and sexual relationships is influenced by a teen's sexual interest and by social and cultural influences and expectations. Social and cultural expectations and behaviors in male-female or sexual relationships are learned from observations and practice.
During adolescence, developmental tasks include struggles to gain control over sexual and aggressive urges and discovering new and appealing potential or actual love relationships. Sexual behaviors during adolescence may include impulsive behavior, a wide range of experimental interactions of mutual exploring and, eventually, intercourse. Biological differences, and differences in the socialization of males and females, set the stage for boys and girls to have different expectations of sexual and love relationships.
Developmental changes in family relationships:
One of the developmental tasks of adolescence is for a teen to separate from her family as she becomes an independent young adult. A part of this process is coming to terms with specific feelings about family. During adolescence, teens begin to realize that their parents and significant authority figures do not know everything or have solutions to all types of struggles. Your teenager's rebellion against you is common and normal.