For many parents, and the general public, adolescence is seen as a troubling stage in life, hence the term terrible teens. The troublesome behaviour of teens is greatly depicted in the media and in movies, portraying teenagers as capable of nothing but trouble.
However, in psychology, adolescence is seen as an important life stage, in which the individual learns about their social life and the world, in preparation for adulthood. Adolescents learn what friendships and intimate relationships entail and, through this learning process, they create the foundations on which their adult social life will depend.
Adolescents also experience changes in their bodies, in the way they see the world around them and in the way they think about it. These biological and psychological changes cause an identity revaluation, where adolescents seek to find themselves through experimentation. They also involve the ability to consider the ‘what ifs’ and the tendency to be idealistic in their thinking. However, although gaining these thinking abilities, adolescents still lack the cognitive skills to evaluate risks, leading them to feel invincible. As a result, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviour.
Although viewed as troublesome, this exploratory behaviour is beneficial for the adolescent to discover their own identity, which will reflect the type of adults they will become in later years.
In the upcoming blog, I will be writing about how important parents are in aid of this development in preventing negative developmental outcomes.
– Alessia Camilleri is a first year Bachelor of Psychology (Hons.) student at the University of Malta. She is particularly interested in the counselling and family therapy. Alessia is an intern at Willingness.com.mt.