Adolescence is divided into 3 stages: early (12 to 14
years), middle (15 to 17 years), and late (18 to 20 years).
While certain attitudes, behaviors, and physical milestones
tend to occur at certain ages, a wide spectrum of growth and
behavior for each age is normal. Consequently, these
guidelines are offered as a way of showing a general
progression through the developmental stages rather than as
fixed requirements. It is perfectly natural for a teen to
attain some milestones earlier and other milestones later
than the general trend.
- Most girls have completed the physical changes related to
puberty by age 15.
- Boys are still maturing and gaining strength, muscle
mass, and height and are completing the development of
- May have anxiety over school and test scores.
- Is self-involved (may have high expectations and low
- Seeks privacy and time alone.
- Is concerned about physical and sexual attractiveness.
- May complain that parents prevent him or her from doing
- Starts to integrate both physical and emotional intimacy
- Is increasingly aware of social behaviors of friends.
- Seeks friends that share similar beliefs, values, and
interests. Friends become more important.
- Starts to have more intellectual interests.
- May be influenced by peers to try risky behaviors
(alcohol, tobacco, sex).
- Becomes better able to set goals and think in terms of
- Has a better understanding of complex interrelationships
of problems and issues.
- Starts to develop moral ideals and to select role models.
If you have any concerns related to your teen's own pattern
of development, check with your health care provider.