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.
Physical and LanguageIntellectualSocial/ 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:
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.