Adolescent Years - Ten to Seventeen Years of Age
Adolescent development deals mostly with the changes in body, behavior and emotions of children going through this ever-changing sometimes-turbulent time. By the time of adolescence the gross motor, fine motor, visual and language skills are almost fully developed and now undergo fine-tuning. The athletes' gross and fine motor skills may excel. The studious' language skills will excel. Different adolescents will follow very different paths at this age, either good or bad, depending on their peer group, parental example and teaching over the years, and personality.
Development at this age involves growth, body changes and social development.
Growth usually continues through adolescence at a rate of four to five pounds per year and two to three inches per year. During a growth spurt, growth may increase four inches in one year. Females average a growth spurt at twelve years of age; males at fourteen years of age. During late adolescence the growth will slow down considerably.
Physical maturity or puberty occurs during the adolescent years. This is measured in the Tanner stages. The Tanner stages take into account pubic hair and breast changes in the female; pubic hair, penis and testicle changes in the male. Tanner 1 is pre-adolescent and Tanner 5 is fully mature.
Early adolescence includes the age ranges from ten to twelve years. Social development in the early adolescent concerns two primary groups. Family and peer group. This is a time of developing independence which can start to show in behavior toward family while still needing parental support and guidance. Usually this age group will turn to some same-sex peers for friendship and support. This is an important time for the family. Especially same-sex parents to be involved and available for the adolescent to answer questions, give guidance, set limits and provide proper discipline.
Middle adolescence includes the age ranges thirteen to fifteen years of age. Middle adolescence is the time of the growth spurt where adolescents feel clumsy and awkward, develop acne and become more interested in the opposite sex. Peer groups may become involved in risky behavior such as drugs, alcohol or sexual activity without fully understanding the potential complications of these behaviors. This is also a time where the future is seriously considered including further education or employment. There are so many important events happening in this period, it can be very confusing to a developing adolescent. The parents' role again, is to be available to help and guide the adolescent and to talk about subjects such as drugs, alcohol and sexual activity. The family's approval is still very important at this age and the need for this approval gives the parents a chance to continue to guide and teach the adolescent.
Late adolescence includes the age group sixteen to eighteen years of age. Late adolescence is a shift to the start of a job, career or further education. Many adolescence at this time will now turn to back to the family instead of to the peer group for advice but will feel on a more equal level in discussions. By seventeen years of age eighty per cent of males and sixty per cent of females have had sexual intercourse and this is a time of more intense romantic relationships. Again, the parents' guidance is helpful, keeping in mind the almost fully developed mind of adolescence and this age group. Although by this age adolescents have made very important life decisions including career and relationships, a parent's advice and guidance can still be a great asset. It may seem unappreciated but it is heard and is not ignored.