Signs of Normal Development Stages Ages 13-18

| Age 13-18, Parent Resources

Children must pass through several stages, or take specific steps, on their road to becoming adults. You can begin to understand this age group if you look at its place on the growth sequence. One of the first things they must do is to start making their own decisions. To do this they must put a little distance between themselves and their parents. This does not mean that you can’t continue to “look after them” or help them when needed. You should, as much as possible, let them learn from the results of their actions.

Talking teens. Signs of Normal Development Stages Ages 13-18. Teen Development.


Age Physical and Language Intellectual Social/ Emotional
13-14 years: Girls body fat increases.

Boys muscle mass increases.

Girls breasts enlarge.

Boys genitals enlarge.

Both Boys and Girls voices lower, with the Boys voices lower much more.

Girls experience their first menstrual cycle (typically around the same time as their mother experiences her’s)

Body hair grows.

Sweat glands become more active.

Hormonal changes may cause acne.

Questioning of school and family rules.

Concrete thinking styles something is right or wrong, good or bad.

Begin to think that bad things will not happen to them.

Children in this stage believe that they are the center of attention, and therefore are painfully self- conscious.

If a child has one pimple, they truly believe that the whole world is looking at it.

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.

Have mixed feelings about breaking away from you.

Daughters might want nothing to do with you one day, & never leave your side the next.

Spending a lot of time on the phone is normal, and a way of developing social skills for adolescents.

15-18 years: Facial hair begins to appear.

Girls are usually at full development.

Girls are very concerned with the way they look. More than 50% of high school girls are dieting.

Better at solving problems than younger teens, but are inconsistent.

They tend to make rash decisions even though they weigh the consequences first.

Organizational skills improve and are better at balancing school, activities, social life, and work.

Attempt to answer the questions, Who am I? and What will I be? by exploring job and college options, religion, social and political issues.

Frequently question and challenge rules

More self assured and thus are better at resisting peer pressure.

Spend even less time with family.

Make close friends.

Want control over more aspects of their lives.

Are excited, but also overwhelmed about the future (college, workforce, military, moving away from home, marriage, etc).

Teens get depressed. However, like with adults if this lasts more than 2 weeks see a health care professional.

Begin to have strong sexual urges and may become sexually active.

Become aware of sexual orientation.


What You Can do to Help Your Teen

  • Wanting to break away and have more privacy is normal for teens. Don’t take it personally.
  • Teens need rules and limits and although they won’t admit it, want them!
  • Negotiate the rules. The more involved in the process your teen can be, the more likely he will be to follow them.
  • Discuss the consequences of breaking the rules clearly and be consistent in following through with actions.
  • Teens will make mistakes and break your trust. Give them a second chance.
  • Discuss your own values and thoughts regarding drugs, alcohol, sex, and other issues
  • Help your child explore options for future plans, but do not make the decisions for her.

For more on your child and helpful facts please click on:

Link I
Link II Source: Iowa State University Extension. Written by Lesia Oesterreich, Extension Human Development Specialist.

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