All About Adolescence

Adolescence describes the teenage years between 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. The 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 their social life. Peer groups, romantic interests and external appearance tend to naturally increase in importance for some time during a teen's journey toward adulthood.

Recent Posts on Adolescence

5 Tips for Taming Overly Wired and Overly Rude Teens

Rude teenagers may be simply practicing the skills their parents have allowed to take root. If a child grows up interacting in a private, virtual world more often than interacting one-on-one with family, a whole slew of social skills and social learning will be missed.

Beyond the Toddler Years

We are continuing our exploration of the three pillars of human development--Affects (Feelings), Language, and Cognition. This month we wrap up the section of Language by examining the link between feelings and words, a process we call translation.

Anxiety and Overcoming Failure to Launch Syndrome

When overcoming debilitating anxiety in young adults, what matters most is not just an improvement according to a diagnostic manual (known as “syndromal improvement”) but also functional improvement. In essence: Has the young adult’s life improved in ways that he or she now has more hope, feels happier, and has a sense of real, meaningful connection to the world?

When Adolescents Continually Lie

Continually lying to parents needs to prove counter-productive for the adolescent.

Groupies, Deviants, Devils and Flourishing

Should we blame wild music, or outlandish art, or the over-the-edge theater for adolescent deviance, or can it be helpful?

Will Valuable Lessons Continue with Violence?

By Jamie Krenn Ph.D. on June 26, 2015 in Screen Time
See the Mocking Jay's World Before it Rest - The Hunger Games: The Exhibition will open on July 1. The exhibit will provide fans with an insider's view of Panem everything from costumes to hands-on interactions. The level of violent content within is cause for discussion on its continuance. Will a similar level of violent now become commonplace in young adult media?

Medical Marijuana Laws Haven't Endangered Teens, Study Finds

By Guest Blogger on June 25, 2015 in Brainstorm
Research suggests that cannabis may help treat pain, inflammation, nausea, epileptic seizures, and other conditions. Despite these potential benefits, many people express concern that legalizing pot for some adults will lead to a spike in recreational use by adolescents.

Why Do Teens Assume Vaping or Smoking Marijuana Is Harmless?

A new study from Stanford University Medical Center reports that adolescents commonly assume that "vaping" e-cigarettes or smoking marijuana is harmless. Why do so many teenagers underestimate the risks of e-cigarettes and smoking cannabis?

Delight, Cruelty and Young People

By Nick Luxmoore on June 23, 2015 in Young People Up Close
How can anyone delight in young people capable of doing terrible things?

The Psychological Effects of Shaming Children

Public shaming videos seem to be on an uptick, and the recent story of a teen girl’s apparent suicide after a public shaming incident is an extreme example. Whether or not this particular case was a one of a parent shaming his child, there are lessons for all parents on the psychological risks of using shame to change your child or teen's behavior.

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 6

By Eyal Winter on June 20, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Men, Women and the Roulette of Life

Are We Shortchanging LGBTQ Youth?

By Izzy Kalman on June 17, 2015 in Resilience to Bullying
The news continues to bring us tragic stories of LGBTQ kids–even ones who attend LGBTQ support centers–committing suicide because they can no longer tolerate being bullied. Perhaps its because these kids are not being taught resilience. If we truly want to be helping LGBTQ kids, here are some messages we need to be giving them.

The Enneagram: Teens Speak for Themselves, Part 2

Nine-Peace Seeker (avoiding conflict): “I looked different on the outside from how I felt inside. I felt different from what was around me. There didn’t seem to be a place for me in my family so I numbed myself—"

Medical "Disruptors" as Adolescents

Entrepreneurs with "disruptive" business models are driven idealists and rebels, impatient with current practice. In this way they are like adolescents. Our future is in their hands, but they need guidance.

When Parents Get Angry at Their Adolescent

One primary responsibility of parents is to teach their adolescent how to manage anger well through their instruction, interaction, and example in family life.

Fathers and Sons

By Rosemary K.M. Sword on June 12, 2015 in The Time Cure
Ciao! Phil Zimbardo here. I’d like to share some alarming new information we’ve gathered about men and boys, fathers and sons...

Mira Hu

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on June 11, 2015 in Minority Report
The recent story of an Asian teenager running away after her parents dropped her off to take her SAT test should cause Asian parents to pause and ask themselves if they are contributing to unreal academic expectations for their children. Beyond the high-pressure stakes of college entrance exams, AP classes, lies the stifling cultural theme of Asian honor and shame.

Grow a Child's Empathy in 3 Easy Ways

When young people experience and act upon feelings of empathy, they are more likely to achieve greater success and emotional well-being. These 3 phases of development help young people feel good about themselves and act in ways that benefit others. In the process, it just might help them change the world!

Distinct ADHD Symptoms in Girls Result in Under-Diagnosis

Understanding gender differences leads to a better diagnosis.

Why Are Teen Brains Designed for Risk-taking?

Here are four ways parents can reduce the danger

Parental Complicity in Adolescent "Problems"

Parental perception and parental enabling can contribute to what constitute adolescent "problems" in their eyes.

Do Teens Imitate the Sex They See in the Movies?

Although research finds that exposure to sexualized media is linked to more sexual partners and unprotected sex among teens, it is premature to suggest that sex should be edited out from the movies entirely.

A Virtual Identity Crisis in the Making

So, what's your avatar look like?

Don't Act So Shocked (Even If You Are)

A little under-reacting can go a long way! When parents respond with emotion to negative attitudes or behaviors, communication is cast aside in favor of an argument. Learning to grin and bear it for a few moments can help us listen, choose our reactions, and help communication to continue.

How Can We End Bullying?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on June 01, 2015 in Media Spotlight
A new review article published in American Psychologist tackles the thorny question of what actual works in bullying prevention programs. Written by Catherine P. Bradshaw of the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, the article examines recent research evaluating the effectiveness of anti-bullying programs and makes some recommendations for the future.

Once Private, Growing Up Is Now Public

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on June 01, 2015 in Singletons
The journey of growing up was once personal; now it is so public. Today teenagers’ sense of selves ar being defined by what they see on You Tube and Facebook and how they present themselves on social networking sites. How can parents keep their teenagers safe and raise them to be successful, caring, and productive adults in the face of technology’s grip? Here, a roadmap.

Teens Redefining "Norms"

By Shimi Kang M.D. on June 01, 2015 in The Dolphin Way
Teens versus school dress codes—should they be able to dress however they choose? Teenagers express themselves through clothing and blogs. A teenage girl causes controversy amongst parents when told to "cover up" by her school and responds with a three-page letter citing hyper-sexualization of women and sexist dress codes at school.

What Adolescents Can Learn From Parental Conflict

The job of parents is to provide a constructive example for conducting conflict with each other from which their adolescent can positively learn.

Three Potential Lessons from the Dennis Hastert Abuse Story

As the Dennis Hastert story unfolds, let’s remind ourselves that in order to maximize the safety of children and teens everywhere, we must be vigilant about who has access to and power over our precious children and just because someone is smart, charming, and successful doesn’t mean that they won’t take advantage of children if given the opportunity to do.

Hallowed Halls and Stage Lights

By Susan Hooper on May 30, 2015 in Detours and Tangents
The landscape of the past has many points of entry. I walked through one of them when I revisited the building where I went to high school and the stage where I had been a student performer.