Helping You Through Life's Transitions

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Growing up is hard. The transition between childhood and adulthood is not easy.  There are key developmental changes that nearly all adolescents experience during their transition from childhood to adulthood. I can help you with those changes and help you set a path to help you navigate for life's transitions. Adolescence is a stage between the teenage years and the time one takes to develop into an adult. These are not just physical changes, such as the onset of puberty, but emotional changes as well.  

This table illustrates that adolescence is one of the most dynamic stages of human growth and development.*

Stages of AdolescencePhysical DevelopmentCognitive DevelopmentSocial-Emotional Development
Early Adolescence
Approximately 11 – 13
years of age
Puberty: grow body hair, increase perspiration and oil production in hair and skin

Girls – breast and hip development, onset of menstruation

Boys – growth in testicles and penis, wet dreams, deepening of voice

Tremendous physical growth: gain height and weight
Growing capacity for abstract thought

Mostly interested in present with limited thought to the future

Intellectual interests expand and become more important

Deeper moral thinking
Struggle with sense of identity

Feel awkward about one’s self and one’s body; worry about being normal

Realize that parents are not perfect; increased conflict with parents

Increased influence of peer group

Desire for independence

Tendency to return to “childish” behavior, particularly when stressed

Rule- and limit-testing
Greater interest in privacy

Growing sexual interest
Middle Adolescence
Approximately 14 – 18
years of age
Puberty is completed

Physical growth slows for girls, continues for boys
Continued growth of capacity for abstract thought

Greater capacity for setting goals

Interest in moral reasoning

Thinking about the meaning of life
Intense self-involvement, changing between high expectations and poor self-concept

Continued adjustment to changing body, worries about being normal

Tendency to distance selves from parents, continued drive for independence

Driven to make friends and greater reliance on them, popularity can be an important issue

Feelings of love and passion

Increased sexual interest
Late Adolescence
Approximately 19 – 24
years of age
Young women, typically, are physically fully developed

Young men continue to gain height, weight, muscle mass, and body hair
Ability to think ideas through from beginning to end

Ability to delay gratification

Examination of inner experiences

Increased concern for future

Continued interest in moral reasoning
Firmer sense of identity, including sexual identity

Increased emotional stability

Increased concern for others

Increased independence and self-reliance

Peer relationships remain important

Development of more serious relationships

Social and cultural traditions regain some of their importance

  1. Kaplan, P. S. (2004). Adolescence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

*Chart and content reference on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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