One of the most important developmental tasks of a teen is to discover a sense of self. The reason for this is that teens are moving between childhood and adulthood. They are often pulling away from parents and spending more time with friends. They are trying out new things and modeling the behaviors of friends they like. They are doing all this to piece together for themselves a solid sense of self.
Sadly, parents and adults tend to see this as moodiness or instability. Teens are full of emotional responses. Although this can often appear as moodiness, it points to the explosion of life and change that is happening inside an adolescent. Furthermore, a teen will often be incredibly impulsive. Typically, a teen wants to try new things, explore the world, and role-play. Although this also comes with impulsivity and risk taking, a parent with a deeper understanding of a teen’s growth might allow for more investigation of the world while curbing a teen’s impulsivity.
Meanwhile, it’s important that teens take advantage of this time of life by participating in the following:
More Social Connection: Usually, a teen wants to be surrounded by connection with others. Too much isolation could lead to risky behavior, poor decision-making, and perhaps even mental illness, such as depression. Strong friendships and relationships with family can support healthy adolescent growth. Also, this social connection helps teens to recognize in themselves who they want to be. It facilitates role play and adopting traits of others that teens want for themselves. Teens might also recognize certain character traits they do not want to take on.
Emotional Responses: A teen will have a heart full of emotions. Although this can lead to moodiness, it points to the explosion of life that is happening within. To take advantage and utilize the emotionality of this stage of life, teens can journal or channel their emotions into creativity, social activism, or deeper connections with friends and family. Emotions can also foster passion and identifying what area of life a teen might want to focus on professionally.
Creativity: With a fiery mind and heart, full of emotions and curiosity, teens are likely going to be creative and innovative. Although curiosity can lead an adolescent in directions that don’t support his or her overall growth, that curiosity also supports his or her discovery of self, which is a necessary task at this stage in life. This creativity also supports positive risk-taking, such as traveling, meeting people teens might not otherwise befriend, and discovering more about one’s life.
The emotionality, curiosity, and creativity of teens can be challenging and create problems for some parents. However, it can also ignite a teen to explore, take positive risks, and role play to uncover who they are. The fiery heart and mind of a teen can be used to discover a sense of self, and throughout life, it can foster the strengthening of this self.
Knowing who you are and being able to stand firm in that throughout life reveals maturity and inspires respect from others. If you’re a teen who is unsure of yourself, take some time to role play by exploring what it’s like to take on the traits of others. This can help develop and strengthen a strong self for a lifetime of self-confidence.