Teenage Growth and Development: Ages 13 to 18 (Adolescent) - Child Health Orange County (2023)

Teenage Growth and Development: Ages 13 to 18 (Adolescent) - Child Health Orange County (1)

Growth and development during the teenage years

Teenagers going through puberty will experience many changes in their developing bodies as well as advances in their social and emotional growth.

There is a wide range of times when children experience puberty-related growth spurts:

  • Most girls begin sexual development between the ages of 8 and 13 (average age is 12) and have a growth spurt between the ages of 10 and 14.
  • Most boys begin their sexual development between the ages of 10 and 13 and continue to grow until they are around 16 years old.

How Much Will My Teenager Grow?

The teenage years are also called adolescence. Puberty is a time for growth spurts and pubertal changes. A teenager may grow several inches over several months, followed by a period of very slow growth and another growth spurt. Changes during puberty (sexual maturation) can occur gradually or several signs can become visible at the same time. Some teenagers experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others.

What changes occur during puberty?

Sexual maturity and other physical changes during puberty are due to hormonal changes. In boys, it is difficult to know exactly when puberty will come. Changes do occur, but they often occur gradually rather than as a single event.

Girls experience puberty as a series of events. Every girl is different and may go through these changes differently. Below are the average ages at which pubertal changes can occur:

  • Onset of puberty: 8 to 13 years
  • First pubertal change: breast development
  • Pubic hair development: just after breast development
  • Armpit hair: 12 years old
  • Menstrual periods: average 12 years old; Normal range is 10 to 15 years old

Boys also experience puberty as a series of events that typically begin later than girls. While every male adolescent is different, the following are average ages at which pubertal changes can occur:

  • Onset of puberty: 9 to 14 years old
  • First pubertal change: enlargement of the testicles
  • Penis Enlargement: About a year after the testicles start to enlarge
  • Pubic hair development: 13.5 years old
  • Nocturnal Emissions (or "Wet Dreams"): 14 years old
  • Facial and armpit hair, voice changes and acne: 15 years old

What does my youngster understand?

The teenage years bring many changes, not only physically but also mentally and socially. During these years, adolescents improve their ability to think abstractly and eventually make plans and set long-term goals. Each child can progress at different rates and have a different perspective on the world. In general, the following skills are some of the skills that may be evident in your youngster:

  • Think more abstractly
  • Deals with philosophy, politics and social issues
  • Think long term
  • Set goals
  • Compares himself to his peers

As your youngster begins to seek independence and control, many changes can occur. The following are some issues that may arise during adolescence:

  • Development of independence from parents
  • Peer influence and acceptance become important
  • Romantic or sexual relationships become important
  • May show long-term commitment to the relationship

How to communicate with a teenager

Teenagers communicate much like adults, with increasing maturity during high school. As teenagers seek independence from family and establish their own identities, they begin to think abstractly and engage with moral issues. All of this shapes the way they think and communicate.

During this time, teenagers spend much of the day outside the home - at school or on extracurricular activities or jobs and with their friends. But it's important that you try to talk to your teen every day to share opinions, ideas, and information. Here are a few tips to help you communicate with your teen:

  • Make time during the day or evening to catch up on your teen's activities. Make sure he or she knows you are actively interested and listening carefully.
  • Remember to talk to your teen, not just him.
  • Ask questions that go beyond "yes" or "no" answers to encourage a more developed conversation.
  • Use the time during car journeys to talk to your teen.
  • Make time for sporting and school events, play games, and talk about current events.

language development in adolescents

Adolescents should be able to grasp word meanings and context, understand punctuation and form complex syntactic structures (how words are put together). However, communication is more than using and understanding words - it also involves how teenagers think about themselves, their peers and authority figures. Explanations can become more figurative and less literal. Young people will also understand abstract and figurative language such as similes, metaphors and idioms.

When should you seek help to improve your teen's language skills?

To understand your teenager's overall language skills and progress, make sure you have ongoing communication with their teachers. If the teachers suspect a language learning disability, comprehensive tests are necessary. This can include a hearing test, a psychoeducational assessment (standardized tests to assess learning style and cognitive processes) and a language-language evaluation.

Parents often feel that the teenage years are a time of difficult communication, when it is normal for teenagers to challenge parents and defy authority. But behavior that causes severe disruption in the home may not be normal teenage rebellion. If you feel your relationship is particularly stressful, talk to your child's doctor about it.

How can I help my youth develop socially?

  • Consider the following ways to develop your youngster's social skills:
  • Encourage your youth to take on new challenges.
  • Talk to your youth about not losing sight of each other in group relationships.
  • Encourage your teen to talk to a trusted adult about a problem or concern, even if they don't want to talk to you.
  • Discuss ways to manage and manage stress.
  • Provide consistent, loving discipline with appropriate boundaries, limitations, and rewards.
  • Find ways to spend time together.

Teenage Growth and Development: Ages 13 to 18 (Adolescent) - Child Health Orange County (2)

Fitness for teenagers from 13 to 18 years

As children enter their teenage years, they may lose interest in physical activity. Between school, homework, friends, and even part-time jobs, they juggle many interests and responsibilities. But regular physical activity can help your teen feel more energetic, improve focus and attention, and promote a better outlook. Regular physical activity can also help your teen maintain a healthy weight and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other medical problems that may arise later in life.

Teenage fitness

Physical activity guidelines for teens recommend that they get at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Additionally:

  • Most physical activity should be aerobic, engaging large muscles and lasting for a period of time. Examples of aerobic activities are running, swimming and dancing.
  • Any moderate to vigorous activity counts towards the 60 minute goal.
  • Teens can be active in sports and structured exercise programs that include muscle and bone strengthening activities.
  • If your teen is interested in strength training, it should be done under the supervision of a qualified adult.

Motivating young people to be active

Parents should give teens control over how they choose to be physically active. Emphasize that that's not what they do - they just have to be active. Given the opportunity and interest, teens can reap health benefits from almost any activity they enjoy — skateboarding, touch soccer, yoga, swimming, or dancing.

All teenagers should limit the time they spend in sedentary activities such as watching TV, playing video games, and using computers, smartphones, or tablets. Motivating teens to swap sedentary activities for physical activity can be the hardest part. However, once teenagers begin physical activity, many enjoy the sense of well-being, reduced stress, and increased strength and energy they gain from exercise. As a result, some begin exercising regularly without prodding from a parent.

Help your teen stay active by finding an exercise plan that fits their schedule. They may not have time to play a team sport at school or in a local league, but most teens can incorporate physical activity into daily life, such as going to school, doing chores, or finding an active part-time job. Gyms can also be an option as many gyms offer teen memberships. Some teens may feel more comfortable doing home exercise videos or exercise video games (like tennis or bowling). These can be good options, but it's important to also engage in moderate to vigorous activity on a daily basis.

When to talk to your doctor

If you're concerned about your teen's fitness, talk to their doctor. Here are some instances where your teen's doctor may need to intervene:

  • If your teen is overweight or very sedentary, they may need to start physical activity slowly. Your doctor may be able to help you create a fitness plan or recommend local programs.
  • If your teen is a chronic health condition or disability. Your teen shouldn't be excluded from fitness activities, but you should talk to their doctor about what activities are safe. Some activities may need to be modified or adjusted, and some may be too risky depending on the condition.
  • When your teenager overdoes it. There can be pressure for young people in sports to lose weight or build muscle with dangerous substances. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
  • If your teenager complains of pain during or after sports and exercise.

How Long Should My Teen Sleep?

Getting the right amount of sleep is important for anyone who wants to do well on an exam or do their best in a sport. Unfortunately, many teenagers don't get enough sleep. Most teenagers need around 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

Teenage sleep patterns differ from those of adults or younger children. During the teenage years, the body's circadian rhythm (an internal biological clock) resets, telling your teen to fall asleep later and wake up later. This change is likely due to the brain hormone melatonin, which is released later in the night in teenagers than in children and adults. This can make it difficult for teenagers to fall asleep early.

Check out oursHealthy sleep tips for teenagersFor more information.

Reviewed byDr. Gregory Kennedy, Southern Orange County Pediatric Associates, CHOC Primary Care – Juni 2021


What developmental task best displays adolescence 13 to 18 years? ›

This is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes (sexual maturation). A teen may grow several inches in several months, followed by a time of very slow growth. Then they may have another growth spurt.

What skills the child will develop from ages 13 18? ›

Young people should be able to do: Follow complex spoken instructions containing a large amount of information, new vocabulary and complex grammar. Have an understanding of common simple sayings in context. Acknowledge and have understanding of another's point of view even if it is conflicting or different to their own ...

Which is a characteristic of adolescence aged 13 to 18 years? ›

Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes. An adolescent may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth, then have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty (sexual maturation) may happen gradually or several signs may become visible at the same time.

What happens in 13 to 19 years physical development? ›

Physical Development

Acne occurs in the majority of teenagers, and females will reach menarche during this stage. Other physical changes include the final stages of breast, penile and pubic hair development, and many teenagers will reach, or be close to reaching, their adult height and weight.

What is cognitive development in ages 13 18? ›

Typical Cognitive Changes During Adolescence. During adolescence (between 12 and 18 years of age), the developing teenager gains the ability to think systematically about all logical relationships within a problem. The transition from concrete thinking to formal logical operations happens over time.

What are the 5 major developmental changes that occur in adolescence? ›

The fundamental purpose of these tasks is to form one's own identity and to prepare for adulthood.
  • Physical Development. Puberty is defined as the biological changes of adolescence. ...
  • Intellectual Development. ...
  • Emotional Development. ...
  • Social Development.

What is the social goals of 13 18 years old? ›

Begin to spend more time with friends and less time with family. Start to form an identity, through hobbies, friends, school activities, clothes, hairstyles, music, etc. Moodiness is common throughout the search for an identity. Often push the limits of adults to assert their independence.

Which of the 3 stages of adolescence is between 14 to 16 years of age? ›

Middle Adolescence (Ages 14 to 17)

Why is the age 13 so important? ›

13-Year-Old Physical Milestones

During this time, it becomes more important than ever to fit in with peers. At 13, your teen is beginning to grow taller, gain weight, and become physically mature. Girls become fully physically developed during middle adolescence and boys reach physical maturity during late adolescence.

What are the three 3 stages of adolescence? ›

Adolescence undergoes three primary developmental stages of adolescence.
  • Early adolescence – Occurs between the age of 10 and 13 years.
  • Middle adolescence – Occurs between the age of 14 and 17 years.
  • Late adolescence – Occurs between the age of 18 and 19 years. This stage is also called young adulthood.

What are the three challenges of adolescence? ›

The common teenage problems that teenagers face today are usually related to: Self-Esteem and Body Image. Stress. Bullying.

What are the signs of abnormal adolescence? ›

Here are some signs of abnormal behavior.
  • Shunning Social Activity – Even with Their Friends. ...
  • Extreme Physical Symptoms. ...
  • Sadness or Anxiety That Lasts For More than a Few Weeks. ...
  • They Start Engaging In Risky or Delinquent Behavior. ...
  • They Start Harming Themselves or Others.
May 30, 2018

What changes when your 13 years old? ›

Hormones change as puberty begins. Most boys grow facial and pubic hair and their voices deepen. Most girls grow pubic hair and breasts, and start their period. They might be worried about these changes and how they are looked at by others.

Which phase of development is from 12 to 18 years? ›

The development of children ages 12 through 18 years old should include expected physical and mental milestones.

Is your brain still developing at 13? ›

Though the brain may be done growing in size, it does not finish developing and maturing until the mid- to late 20s. The front part of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex, is one of the last brain regions to mature.

Which is the stage of 13 to 19 years? ›

Age Groups

The Government of India, however, in the National Youth Policy defines youth as the 15-35 age group and adolescents as 13-19 years. “Adolescence” is recognised as a phase rather than a fixed time period in an individual's life.

What part of the brain develops at 13? ›

Because the prefrontal cortex is still developing, teenagers might rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. The amygdala is associated with emotions, impulses, aggression and instinctive behaviour.

What are the 7 stages of adolescence? ›

In her book, Damour describes seven stages in a girl's life: parting with childhood; joining a new tribe; harnessing emotions; contending with adult authority; planning for the future; entering the romantic world; and caring for herself. Each stage is brought to life through research, anecdotes and analysis.

What are 3 mental emotional changes that occur during puberty adolescence? ›

During puberty your child's emotions may become stronger and more intense. Their mood might change more frequently, quickly and randomly. Your child may have strong emotions that they've never experienced before. It's common for them to feel confused, scared or angry and not know why.

What are the 8 stages of adolescence? ›

Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development include:
  • Trust vs. Mistrust. ...
  • Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. ...
  • Initiative vs. Guilt. ...
  • Industry vs. Inferiority. ...
  • Identity vs. Role Confusion. ...
  • Intimacy vs. Isolation. ...
  • Generativity vs. Stagnation. ...
  • Ego Integrity vs. Despair.

What social skills should 13 year olds have? ›

Let's take a brief look at each one.
  • Building others' self-esteem. ...
  • Showing empathy for others. ...
  • Encouraging people to cooperate with each other. ...
  • Communicating assertively. ...
  • Asking productive questions and demonstrating listening skills. ...
  • Responding productively to emotional statements.

What is normal behavior for an 18 year old? ›

By age 18, many teens are feeling a combination of excitement and fear about the future. They tend to be very focused on their friends, social lives, and future. There are a lot of decisions to be made about life after graduation, including potential careers, college plans, or military service paths.

What are typical teenage behavior? ›

Typical Teen Behavior

Struggle with their identity – for instance, obsessing over their appearance. Feel awkward about their changing bodies. Switch between being overconfident and having poor self-esteem. Follow friends' examples in clothing and activities.

What are the hardest years of adolescence? ›

Teen Years are the Hardest Years!?

According to a new survey of parents, age 15 is the hardest age to deal with. A study of 1,000 parents found that 75 percent think the ages of 13-19 are the most challenging years of raising children, with 32 percent admitting they were 'unprepared'.

Is any person ages between 13 and 18 and a period of transition between childhood and adulthood? ›

Adolescence is the phase of life between childhood and adulthood, from ages 10 to 19.

What stage occurs between the ages of 12 and 18 during adolescence? ›

Stage 5: Identity Versus Role Confusion

These formative years – ages 12 to 18 – provide a valuable and in-depth exploration of beliefs, goals, and values while searching for personal identity and a sense of self. The transition between childhood and adulthood is crucial.

What do 13 year olds worry about? ›

But teenagers are more likely to be worried about themselves — their performance in school or sports, how they are perceived by others, the changes in their bodies. Some anxious teenagers have been anxious for many years by the time they reach adolescence.

At what age do teenage mood swings stop? ›

There was more variation among girls than among boys in how happy or sad they were, but both genders had a similar rate of change overall. By 18 years old, most of the emotional hills and valleys had given way to a more gentle landscape.

Is adolescence the hardest life stage? ›

Note: Adolescence is the most difficult period of one's life. There are far too many significant life changes occurring in one's life, such as physical, psychological, and behavioural changes. Making mistakes is a common method for adolescents to get lost while searching for the adult world.

What are cognitive changes in adolescence? ›

Uses complex thinking to focus on less self-centered concepts and personal decision-making. Has increased thoughts about more global concepts, such as justice, history, politics, and patriotism. Often develops idealistic views on specific topics or concerns. May debate and develop intolerance of opposing views.

What are the five key developmental areas? ›

There are 5 key areas of development:
  • gross motor skills, for example crawling, jumping or running.
  • fine motor skills, such as writing and drawing.
  • speech and language.
  • cognitive and intellectual, such as counting or identifying shapes.
  • social and emotional skills, such as playing with other children.

What is the most important part of adolescent development? ›

The most important task of social development in adolescence is the search for identity. This is often a lifelong voyage that launches during adolescence. Along with the search for identity comes the struggle for independence.

What are the 7 areas of development? ›

The areas of learning are:
  • communication and language.
  • physical development.
  • personal, social and emotional development.
  • literacy.
  • mathematics.
  • understanding the world.
  • expressive arts and design.

What is the most common psychological problem in adolescence? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in adolescents.

Why is adolescence the hardest life stage? ›

One of the reasons many of us find it so hard is because it is a time of rapid physical development and deep emotional changes. These are exciting, but can also be confusing and uncomfortable for child and parent alike.

How do I know if my teenager needs counseling? ›

Signs Your Child Needs Counseling

Feeling restless; unable to settle down or focus. Talking about death or expressing suicidal thoughts. Talking about harming themselves or others. Engaging in self-harm behaviors (cutting, hitting, etc.)

What are the signs of an abnormal child? ›

What are the warning signs of mental illness in children?
  • Persistent sadness that lasts two weeks or more.
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding social interactions.
  • Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself.
  • Talking about death or suicide.
  • Outbursts or extreme irritability.
  • Out-of-control behavior that can be harmful.

What does anxiety look like in a teenager? ›

Symptoms generally include excessive fears and worries, feelings of inner restlessness, and a tendency to be excessively wary and vigilant. Even in the absence of an actual threat, some teenagers describe feelings of continual nervousness, restlessness, or extreme stress.

What developmental task best displays adolescence 13 to 18 years old? ›

Physical Development

By this age, most girls will also have had their first menstrual period, begun to develop breasts and grown pubic hair. Boys will grow pubic hair during puberty as well as facial hair. A great amount of excitement and anxiety can come with these changes in both boys and girls.

What are the common problem of adolescence 13 to 18 years old? ›

The following are some of the issues that may be involved with your adolescent during these years: Wants independence from parents. Peer influence and acceptance becomes very important. Romantic and sexual relationships become important.

Which developmental tasks show in adolescence stage? ›

An adolescent has four tasks to accomplish to become a well-adjusted adult. These tasks are categorized as: 1) independence, 2) body image, 3) peer relations, and 4) identity.

Which developmental task is appropriate for the adolescence stage? ›

To develop career/vocational goals and ways to reach these goals; to be able to make a living. To develop an outlook toward life based on what is important. To participate as a responsible person with friends at home, and in the community; to develop personal moral values to guide behavior.

What is a developmental task the adolescent from 12 to 18 years of age is trying to accomplish? ›

They are developing skills such as planning, prioritising, organising thoughts, suppressing impulses, problem solving and weighing consequences. These skills, still developing, are influencing their decision making processes. Psychologically they are developing autonomy and independent identity.

What psychological changes occur in adolescence? ›

The most important psychological and psychosocial changes in puberty and early adolescence are the emergence of abstract thinking, the growing ability of absorbing the perspectives or viewpoints of others, an increased ability of introspection, the development of personal and sexual identity, the establishment of a ...

What are the 3 crucial tasks of adolescence? ›

The overarching goal of adolescence is to enable children to develop independent thought and independent action. In order to accomplish this goal, adolescents need to complete four major tasks. These tasks are (1) individuation, (2) separation, (3) autonomy, and (4) cooperation.

What are your 3 responsibilities as an adolescent? ›

How to Be a Responsible Teen. 1 Keep your room clean and organized. 2 Help out around your home. 3 Work toward good grades.

What are the 4 stages of adolescence? ›

The normal feelings and behaviors of the middle school and high school adolescent can be categorized into four broad areas: moving toward independence; future interests and cognitive development; sexuality; and ethics and self-direction.


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