There are essentially three stages of adolescence. The first is early adolescence, when a teen is between the ages of 11 and 14. Middle adolescence is the stage a teen goes through when he or she is between the ages of 15 and 17. And late adolescence describes the time when a teen is 18 to 21 years old. Essentially there are major developmental tasks that an adolescent goes through in order to find an identity and prepare for adulthood. These tasks have to do with a teen’s physical, intellectual, social, and emotional growth.
During the first stage, a teen is entering puberty. This is an uncomfortable period of physical growth and sexual development. Although it’s uncomfortable, puberty is often over by mid-adolescence, meaning that a teen is often at their adult height by mid-adolescence. The physical growth in teens can certainly have an influence on their emotional and psychological growth, especially if they are concerned about their looks among peers.
Mid adolescence consists of emotional and psychological development. At this stage, teens are beginning to assert their independence. They might do this by pulling away from their parents and their family in general. They might wish to spend more time with friends or new adults in their life whom they admire. Teens are searching for an identity and might want to spend time with people whose traits they want to adopt. One conflict, however, about the emotional and psychological development that teens go through is that they are both reaching for their independence while at the same time fearing losing the security of their parents.
Throughout adolescence, and most prominently during late adolescence, teens are finding their way through the social scene. They might gain more and more confidence and begin to expand their social circles to include those they might not otherwise spend time with. They might pull more and more away from parents, find a job and form relationships with those at work, and they might begin to date. All of these are ways that teens are slowly taking steps toward adulthood.
One way to support your teen during all these changes is to make sure that they have the support they need. Of course, parents can provide this kind of support. However, as mentioned above, teens are attempting to distance themselves from the family in order to find their independence. Therefore, another form of support might be a therapist or psychologist.
There are a number of ways that psychotherapy can be beneficial for your teen. For instance, psychotherapy can facilitate your teen’s maturity, independence, and autonomy. Because teens are caught in between childhood and adulthood, they need an adult with whom they can begin to have a mature relationship with. Psychotherapy can provide your child with coping mechanisms. Being a teenager is stressful. They are undergoing a number of changes, and those changes are major ones. Add to this that adolescence is often a stage in which any unresolved trauma resurfaces. On top of all this, a teen may not know appropriate and healthy ways to manage intense feelings such as anxiety, fear, sadness, shame, or anger. A therapist can provide specific ways to manage emotions and stressful circumstances.
No matter which stage of adolescence your teen is in, providing various forms of support can ease his or her way to adulthood.