Child Development of the 15-18 Year Old
♥ Do not like parents to interfere with their independence
♥ May experience sadness or depression. Tip: if these symptoms occur for longer than two weeks, contact your child’s doctor or seek counseling
for your child.
♥ Common to see them purposefully change hygiene routines, change the style of their dress or look in an effort to assert their independence
♥ Conflict increases with parents at age 15 and gets better around 17 & 18
♥ Relationships with siblings may be better than with parents
♥ Although they hide it well, love and acceptance are desired from their parents
♥ Begins to see parents as people versus enforcers of the rules
♥ May have an interest in keeping a diary to express thoughts, emotions and experiences
♥ Feelings of being invincible continue. The risk of experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and/or sex increases dramatically and their ability to accurately identify cause and effect in these situations is poor.
♥ Very concerned with their physical appearance – be aware of possible eating problems that may arise from trying to maintain an ideal body image.
Tip: contact your child’s doctor if you feel that body image and/or eating problems are present.
♥ Friends are extremely important. Adolescents normally choose the support of their peers over their parents.
♥ Usually has many friends, with one or two best friends
♥ A falling out with a friend may result in depression
♥ Their own sexuality and sexual feelings they have for others are considered. Dating and romantic relationships are common.
♥ Affection is usually shown to those the adolescent is attracted to – relationships tend to change frequently
♥ Willingness to make responsible decisions increases with age
♥ Better able to resolve conflicts peacefully
♥ Begins to regularly see that present actions may have an impact on their future
♥ Interest in choosing a future career
♥ Needs guidance to plan future life decisions
♥ Has a good sense of right and wrong
♥ Able to form alternate solutions to a problem
♥ Tends to make impulsive decisions despite having the knowledge and ability to make wise choices
♥ Is able to use logic regularly in conversations and when thinking through a problem or decision
♥ Willingness to listen to another person’s point of view and to process and accept their opinion
♥ Motor skills are intact, however growth spurts may result in some lack of coordination or clumsiness
♥ Exercise helps to improve strength and coordination
♥ Girls develop on average two years before boys
♥ Girls’ bodies change (fat distribution in buttocks, legs, and stomach increases; hips widen; pubic hair grows; start of menses;
breasts begin to develop)
♥ Boys’ bodies change (voice changes; testicles, scrotum, and penis enlarge; pubic hair grows; rapid growth in weight and height;
muscles fill out; body hair increases; ejaculation and night time emissions occur)
♥ May try masturbation
♥ Sexual desires and fantasies are present and increase
♥ Always hungry
♥ Need for sleep may increase
♥ Oily skin and sweat increase – acne may be a problem