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Parenting teenagers (13-18 years)

Adolescence represents a time of significant growth and transformation. Physical changes, social interactions, and emotional and intellectual development shape adolescents’ experiences and prepare them for adulthood.

This stage marks a period of rapid physical growth and development (Best & Ban, 2021). It is characterized by the onset of puberty, which brings about significant hormonal changes, growth spurts, changes in body shape, and the maturation of reproductive organs.

In their teenage years, young people experience a wide range of emotions as they navigate the challenges of identity formation and self-discovery (Branje et al., 2021). They may struggle with self-esteem, self-image, and mood swings (Maciejewski, 2015). During adolescence, conflicts between parents and teens are common (Branje, 2018). They try to assert their independence and challenge authority figures. The brain’s reward system becomes hypersensitive, leading to increased risk-taking behavior (Galván, 2010). Parents should recognize that this quest for independence is a normal part of development and does not mean a rejection of their influence. Setting clear boundaries and maintaining open lines of communication can help manage potential conflicts (Cummings et al., 2015).

The ages 13-18 mark another dynamic phase of brain development. During this time, significant restructuring and strengthening of neural connections occur in the brain. Although the prefrontal cortex is still under construction, teens show progress in critical thinking and problem-solving. They develop the ability to think hypothetically and consider multiple perspectives. Their intellectual curiosity increases, and they become more capable of engaging with complex arguments and abstract concepts (Amel & Moshman, 2015). They begin to explore their interests, pursue academic goals, and make decisions about their future path.

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by Lavie Mincu
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