All About Adolescence

Adolescence typically describes the years between ages 13 and 19 and can be considered the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. However, the physical and psychological changes that occur in adolescence can start earlier, during the preteen or "tween" years (ages 9 through 12). Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. This transitional period can bring up issues of independence and self-identity; many adolescents and their peers face tough choices regarding schoolwork, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, and social life. Peer groups, romantic interests, and appearance tend to naturally increase in importance for some time during a teen's journey toward adulthood.

Recent posts on Adolescence

On Your Adolescents Getting Up in the Morning

It's hard for adolescents to get up in the morning, especially if they suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. What tips can we get from published research?

Buyer Beware: Two New Apps Your Tweens Should Avoid

Two apps that have developed popularity among teens and tweens are raising red flags with law enforcement and others.
Nur Andi Ravsanjani Gusma and pexels

The Pleasures of the Apocalypse

Don't worry. The end is near.

Is Your Teen Addicted to Dieting? Try a Social Media Fast

By Joy Jacobs J.D., Ph.D. on August 16, 2017 in One More Bite
Why a social media fast might be an essential tool for eating disorder recovery.
2004 by Tomasz Sienicki

Do Smartphones Delay Sex and Dating?

Perhaps the correlation is not causal because a third variable, such as helicopter parenting, might be responsible for having a smartphone and delaying sex and romance.

Young Men and the Empathy Gap

By Philip Zimbardo Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Hero
We have an empathy gap when it comes to having compassion for the challenges boys and young men face, and we're going to lose a whole generation if we don't pay attention.

No, Team, No!

By Laurie Helgoe Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Introvert Power
He's young, healthy, and not into sports? How to stop seeing this as a problem.

Why Should We Care What the Victorians Thought of Self-Harm?

Forget what you thought you knew about self-harm. History suggests our attitudes are more culturally determined than we might think.

Teen Attitude, Teen Trouble

It’s hard to parent a teenager. It's even harder to be one. Here are eleven attitudes and actions that can help make it easier for you, and might even make it easier for your kid.

Does "Tough Love" Produce Better Working Dogs?

Puppies with overly attentive mothers have poorer problem-solving abilities and are less likely to succeed as service dogs.

Teens and Texting: A Recipe for Disaster

Teens and texting... Is your child the next Michelle Carter?

Why Are We Doing This, Sir? What's The Point?

By Nick Luxmoore on August 12, 2017 in Young People Up Close
How to make sense of the adult world without having the identity of a traditional profession? How to develop a sense of personal agency in a world where the rules keep changing?

To Say "I" Means To Be Alone

By Elena Bezzubova on August 12, 2017 in The Search for Self
Loneliness seems a transient step to self identity that could include depersonalization-like feelings of detachment and autism/introversion-like feelings of isolation.
McLeon91 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Masturbation: Do Boys Do “it” More and Better than Girls?

Gender equality is becoming more of a reality when it comes to masturbation, at least in Sweden, but there is a cluster of girls who prefer not to masturbate.

How Children’s Brains Learn to Reason

By Lydia Denworth on August 09, 2017 in Brain Waves
Reasoning is a profoundly important cognitive skill that affects achievement in school and in challenging careers. Now we know more about how it develops in children's brains.

Teen Therapy Without Parental Consent

Should adolescents be able to consent to initial mental health treatment without their parents? On this issue, state laws are all over the place.

How to Help Kids Manage Anger

Are you feeling embarrassed or baffled by your child's way of handling anger? You're not alone. Here's how to help.

Essential Parenting Tasks for a Healthy College Transition

The transition to campus and adulthood brings high stress for students. Here are the steps you should take as a parent to support them through this transition.
Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.

Motivating Your Adolescent to Exercise

Regular physical exercise is a self-investment that provides many positive personal returns in adolescence.

The Trouble with Teenagers

By Vanessa LoBue, Ph.D. on August 07, 2017 in The Baby Scientist
Do you have a teenager at home? Here's what's special about the teenage years and what makes them so difficult...for both parents and teenagers.

Cornering a Slippery Child

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 06, 2017 in Ambigamy
After decades with an inherently slippery child, I was able to distill his many excuses to three. If I could go back, here's how I would have tried to block each of them.

No, Smartphones are Not Destroying a Generation

A recent article in the Atlantic claims that smartphones and social media have ruined a generation. It is wrong.

Three Signs Your Teen Needs Therapy

Red flags that demand attention.

How Do We Talk About Condoms?

By Sean M. Horan Ph.D. on August 03, 2017 in Adventures in Dating
Condoms are important in negotiating safer sex—but what do people actually say about using them? My latest study examined this question, summarized here.
Nancy Darling

When Kids Hurt: Chronic vs. Acute Pain

By Nancy Darling Ph.D. on August 02, 2017 in Thinking About Kids
Treating chronic pain the way we treat pain from an injury makes it harder to heal and more likely that our pain will increase over time.

Back-to-school Homophobia

What are your LGBT children learning in sex ed?

Keeping Refugee Children and Teens Safe

Even as we cheer for George and Amal Clooney's commitment to schools for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, let's remember the mental health needs of refugee children everywhere.

Shoe Shaming in the Strictest School in Britain

Merchants’ Academy was called the strictest school in Britain, a tough label for a good school. But Merchants’ may not make it easy for itself by using shame to enforce behavior.

A Letter to Parents of Children Heading to College

We don't talk enough about how hard the transition to college can be for parents. Get perspective on how to handle the challenges to come.

How Do We Parent in the Trump Era?

If we want to live in a world of honesty, integrity, respect, concern for others, and so forth then we have to model these values at every opportunity to do so.