Normal Adolescent Development in Middle School Years

Early adolescence is a difficult time for students, who don't understand their emotions or desires, as well as parents, who may be worried or confused by the changes in their teenagers. This article contains information about the adolescent phase of development.

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Adolescence can be a confusing time for parents and their teenagers, but it often eases anxiety to understand how this period of time unfolds. It is important to remember that each teenager is an individual with a unique personality, but to recognize that there are also developmental issues that almost everyone undergoes during the adolescent years.

Throughout much of adolescence, teenagers struggle with developing their own identity. They also may often feel awkward or strange about their bodies. Typically, they have high expectations for themselves, but this is tempered by a tendency for poor self-esteem. During this period of time, friends are the most important part of life, and a teenager's interests and clothing style tend to be influenced by their peer group. It is difficult for parents during this time, because teenagers recognize that their parents are not perfect; they tend to show less overt affection, and can be rude and moody. This is the time they start to see a parent's involvement as interference with their independence, yet they may return at times, to childish or immature behavior, particularly overwhelmed or stressed.

A teenager's interests are strongly focused on the present, and thoughts of the future are limited . Many teenagers feel overwhelmed in the present moment, and the future seems hard to imagine as a reality. During this time, people's intellectual interests expand and these interests make huge gains in importance.

Adolescence is the time where sexual development occurs in humans. While there are obvious physical changes, there are a lot of mental changes in this realm as well. Adolescents may display shyness, blushing, and modesty, show an increased interest in sex, and begin to explore issues regarding their sexuality and sexual orientation. This increase of interest in sexual relationships causes teenagers to have concerns regarding their physical and sexual attractiveness to others. They may frequently change relationships, with friends or significant others, and they may worry a lot about being normal.

One of the major changes in the life of a teenager is the development of one's own sense of morality and code of ethics. During this period of time, there will be greater testing of rules and limits, along with a capacity for abstract thinking. This may lead teenagers to seem extremely rebellious, while simultaneously being extremely idealistic. This development of personal values may lead to experimentation with sex and drugs, as teenagers decide what they believe.

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