Thursday, October 1, 2009


Adolescence is that wonderful period of life where, that transition from being a child to a adult, that phase just before adulthood that they become perplexing creatures for their parents and adults around them.

It seems that there is no right way to understand them, respond to them and approach them and everything we do seems to go wrong. The best way to describe them as part time adults and part time child and they will decided on which part time is when!

Adolescence can be a scary time, full of angst and new emotions. It is also a time when there is a tremendous amount of energy in these young people and they can actually contribute to many worthwhile projects. The more parents and teachers can do to engage and understand teenagers, the more likely it is that young people will have a successful transition to adulthood.

Now with changing times the age of puberty is itself coming down and we could see all around us children who are not in their teens typically, but display teenage attitudes, and feelings. The cause for this could be attributed to greater exposure, their being observant, higher awareness levels and greater intelligence. This age is called the TWEEN age, the in-betweens, “a child and a teenager soon to be.”

  • their sense of dressing changes,
  • they are confused about gender roles
  • they are aware of relations and their qualities
  • signs of first rebelliousness
  • they are observant and start to understand the value system of the world.

Adolescence is that stage of life which starts with puberty and the child is changing physically, emotional, socially and intellectually, these changes traditional could be fit into ages 13 and onwards.


During early adolescence, there is a accelerated skeletal growth and puberty starts transforming a boy into a man and a girl into a woman. Physical changes are happening in their body and this leads to an increased interest in their BODY IMAGE, making them critical of their looks and judging how others look, and are constantly comparing themselves with others.


Along with rapidly changing bodies, teenagers are experimenting with their own identity. “ Who am I?” is one of the pressing questions of this time.

They are becoming capable of abstract thinking, and are able to think logically and question and critically think. We would see these changes manifest in the following behaviour:

  • Challenges rules and need explanation for every rules made.
  • argumentative,
  • need for freedom,
  • need for privacy(room door locked)
  • over generalization- (nobody understands me, nothing to wear)
  • live in a world of their own.
  • increased desire to make their own decisions and choices
  • increased risk taking (doing a dare, free wheeling, etc )


Changes occur in the way they relate with the adults in their world, it is not true that they don’t care for the parents, or are disrespectful, but it is just that the expression is not always smooth and is conflict ridden, because they don’t want to be babies any more and want to be independent.

  • They want to move away from parents emotional,
  • increased criticisms of parent (“what to talk and wear when a parent goes to Parent teacher meeting”)
  • Embarrassed at being seen with parents (“Drop me here and I shall walk the remaining way”)
  • Need to identify and associate with other adults other than parents (Teachers, parent of a friend)
  • fight for freedom and privacy
  • decrease in communication with parents


During this age they spend most of their time with friends and friends become the most important part of their lives. Acceptance by peers is a very large pressure for teenagers.

Peers provide the opportunity to explore different identities, social ideas and the nature of relationships. friends support their new independent selves and image.

Adolescents who rely on the peer group, rather than the family, for their main support are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure to engage in problem behaviour, such as smoking drinking or drugs.

An adolescent slowly moves thorough the early adolescent stage to the late adolescent stage from being moody, expressing feelings in action rather than words, need to associate with other adults, questioning all the rules, unclear about the future, not able to make clear goals in the early stages, to becoming more self involved and capable to making goals, think about his skills, capable of making and taking decisions, during the middle phases and slowly moving on to the late stages where they are more stable emotionally, an identity of their own being created, ability to express themselves and their feelings, take pride in their work, show concern for others and create or set goals realistically.

This transition brings in conflict or issues in the following three areas:

  • Career and studies
  • sexuality and boy-girl relationship
  • parent-child and other social relations, values.

Given the description of the teenager and his behaviour the first thing that we as adults in their world need to remember and change , is that we grow with them, change our attitudes, method of discipline, respect his ideas, give responsibility, and independence and yet at the same time be around to guide and hold their hands when they need it.

the followings steps may help us to reach up to them and grow with them:

  • give them their space, time
  • answer their questions honestly, and encourage them to ask questions.
  • be consistent in laying down rules
  • be approachable, genuine, available, and understanding
  • give choices while giving instructions
  • get into their world
  • keep communication open, wherein he can share and talk about anything under the sun without hesitation.

Teenage happens only once in a lifetime and we as parents and adults around them can grow with them and get to see their world and enjoy with them for soon they will be adults and will find a direction to their life.

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aak said...

nice write-up

Nalini Hebbar said...

this is wonderful...great write up...very useful for first time parents facing the teenage day-mare!

God my teenage son...he is driving me up the other son who is 22 is close and supportive...but this brat who is the Under14 state(AP) captain seems to think I am just the 12th woman...I know it will pass...but so will the hair on my head fall!!!:)

Swathi Pradeep said...

thanks for the appreciation!

Thanks a lot for loving it :)
It feels sad to know that we need to pass such stages :(
Hope my post will help u :)