Psychological characteristics

of Teenagers

Mariana S. (M)


 Age limits

There is not exact age limit of teen years. Specialists have different opinions about it.
Some of them think that it is rather large period from 11 till 18; others think it is 12-15, 13-15, 14-16, and 13-17. There are specialists who divide teen’s years into periods: early teen, middle teen, late teen.
It looks like the most common opinion is to think about teenager’s years as the period between 13 and 17 years.
But the period limit is individual and can begin and end at different ages for different people.

Physical development

At this period teenagers have big changes physically. Their body proportions are becoming like that of adults. The growth is usually rapid, especially in height. Skeleton grows quicker than muscles and at this period teenagers can feel very awkward. Many teenagers have problems with hearth activity that can not fully serve the growth. That is the reason of rising of blood pressure, head aches, getting tired quickly. This can lead to frequent changes in the mood, general emotional instability. That is why at the beginning of teen period parents should take care that children have enough sleep and eat healthy food.
Many teenagers have problems with their skin, especially on faces.
Owing to rapid growth, teenagers start to pay close attention to their appearance. All drawbacks are often exaggerated but for some it can result in low self esteem and becoming reserved, if their real appearance is far from their ideal picture of themselves.

Feeling of being adult

Rapid growth and physical development determines one of the most important characteristics of teenagers. It is feeling of already being adult.
A teenager understands that he is not a child anymore and he does not want to be treated like a child. He wants to be accepted according to his new status but this status exists often only in his mind. Parents and other adults are often not ready to accept this. The change was so quick, only yesterday a child was obedient and today he tells he is grown.
For a large number of teenagers adulthood is connected with some symbols, like smoking, drinking, coming home whenever they want to, being out of control, dating, using make up, and wearing fashionable or expensive clothes. They try to do some of this to prove them and show others that they are not children. Trying to seem adult is one of important reasons why teenagers start smoking or drinking.
If society does not accept a teenager as a grown individual and he is continued to be treated like a child, he starts to fight for his rights and this might results in serious conflicts with parents and teachers.

Relation with parents

As it was told, a teenager feels grown and his relations with parents change.
He refuses to obey demands that earlier he did, he wants to have less control and more independence, and he wants to be equal.
But it is not always easy for parents to change the relations, because they are used too much control and coordination, and because they do not see reasons to change something (a teenager is still a student and still dependant on them). Besides, teenagers often do not show any proof of more mature behavior.

It is very important if parents choose democratic style of relations. At this age parents should give more freedom and independence, less control. Teen years are a very important period for children to learn norms of social behavior and adults should help them with it. The time of communication should increase.
Parents should choose such a style of relations in which they can be as older and wiser friends, not to command but explain and guide. Relations should be cooperation based on respect of each other and where parents serve as example.
Teenagers should not only be given more independence and rights but more duties.

If there is no good contact and understanding between parents and teenagers, it will result in constant conflicts. This, in this turn, can have bad consequences for a teenager; they will go to the street in search of people who will? Understand? Them and become a victim of drug sellers.



At this age all brain functions are rapidly developing too, that is why the period is very good for study and acquiring practical skills. But schools stops being the only place of getting knowledge. As it was told, at this age communication with friends comes to the first place, and teenager begins to be interested in many other things, besides study, volume of information received form other sources increases.
That is why lessons should be very interesting and motivating. Only with this condition learning and school performance will be very successful. Boring lessons is the reason of discipline problems, missing classes and loss of interest and motivation.

Teachers should be careful in communication with teenagers. Opinion of class is very important and they do not want to look funny in classmates' eyes. All critics should be done in friendly manner and not touch human dignity. Praise of achievements and progress can play a good role too; it will increase self opinion of a teenager and help him to become more interested in the subject. If a teenager feels humiliated, he will break discipline to restore the respect of the class.
It is up to teachers to take care that there are no isolated students. Grouping is in nature of teenager and if he is not accepted by his class, he might search for company of other isolated students at school and it is not always good for all, because such groups usually form gangs and bring a lot of trouble making their revenge.

Relations with friends

Necessity to be with others is characteristics features of teenagers. Communication with friends takes a very important place in life, for many it becomes even more important than communication with parents or study.
If at younger age communication with friends is often based on school study, at teen years it becomes much wider. Teenagers are connected with other on hobbies, common interests or just talking. Personal qualities of friends start to become more important than progress at school.
Teenagers consider relations with friends as their private matter and do not like interference. If parents are not tactful discussing friends, it can cause protest and conflicts.
At this age it is very important for teenagers to be accepted by others. Friendship is one of the ways to satisfy this need. A teenager needs someone who will understand him, someone whom he can tell about his problems and concerns and get help.
Friends become example for teenagers and have a lot of influence on them, more influence than teachers or parents. That is why choice of friends is very important.
It is very common for teenagers to want to be "like others", like their friends. And it often becomes a problem for parents when children demand different things that friends have and they do not.
Communicating with friends teenagers learn vital skills of living and interacting in society and get experience in building personal relations.
Parents should start to worry if their children do not have friends and try to help to find a reason of it and correct situation.

Development of individuality

Teen years are a very important period in development of individuality. It influences the whole future life of children.
Teenagers start to learn themselves, their inner world, strong and weak personal qualities.
Sometimes it might happen that teenagers have a big gap between their ideal picture of themselves and a real one. It can lead to depression and low self esteem.
Many children at this age begin to try many different hobbies and start to be interested in many things. Then they might give up interests and try new ones. All this is attempted to find them in life and express individuality. Sometimes they try to express individuality through appearance, like crazy clothes, dyeing hair in crazy color, piercing and so on.
Personal instability is characteristics of teenagers. They support one point of view but in some time they will support the opposite point of view. All this shows that teenagers are in search.
It is very important to have the right to personal opinion.
At teen age children start to form their system of values, which, in most cases stays for the rest of their life. They begin to think about what is good and what is evil.
That is why it is very important to have good contact with adults who can show the right direction.

by Nika (R)

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