Adolescence: Changes in Development

Programs Teens
Parenting Teens: Weathering the Storm
Changes In Thinking
July 2008 Year
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This edition of the Stein Counseling E-Newsletter will focus on adolescent development and what every parent needs to know about their blooming young adults.

mother and teen Three Types of Teenagers

Teenager development can be categorized into three types: Early Developers, Late Developers and Troubled Development.

frustrated teen Early Developers
Research into early developers suggest these type of adolescents do well during the elementary school years and are basically cooperative youth prior to adolescence. Longitudinal research indicates these adolescents turn out to be responsible members of society as adults regardless of the level of rebelliousness present during adolescence. Their resiliency is large part due to healthy pregnancy and prenatal care, love and nurturing during the first three years of life, and during the second and third year the parents were kind but firm and loving regarding discipline. These parents set limits on their child’s inappropriate behavior consistently.

sadgirl2 Late Developers
Late developers are often described as by parents as “independent, strong willed, and stubborn” as infants and toddlers. Longitudinal research suggests that by age 11, these youth continue their independence, however; have partnerships with others to reach common goals. They do well in adolescence and their adult life.

troubled teen Troubled Development

Troubled teens tend to act in ways that are destructive to themselves and others. As children, parents report these youth to be difficult to sooth, aggressive, bossy, irritable and very difficult to parent. As teenagers, the often have a great deal of rage and have tend to make decisions based on instant gratification rather than working towards long term goals. They don’t trust adults and and often have problems with authority. They may be abusing drugs or alcohol, damage property, skipping school, failing grades, sexually acting out, extreme acts of disrespect, violence or threats of violence and may runaway or threaten suicide. They key here is a pattern of this behavior rather than moments or episodes of behavior. The most cooperative teenagers will often have instant gratification moments and strong emotional upsets. Click here to read about our adolescent services or click here about our services that support and help parents with these issues.

Upcoming Events
1-2-3 Magic! Child Management September 23, 2008 and October 21, 2008

Parenting with Love and Limits (based on the book “Parenting Your Out of Control Teenager”) September 22, 2008

Tender Parenting: Getting Past the Guilt; September 10, 2008

Closing Headline
Thanks for taking the time to read this information. We are grateful to be a service to the community and try to “give away” as much education as possible to help make our community stronger and our future brighter.
Contact Information

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  1. Teresa Schnitzler

    Is over-eating also a sign of low self-esteem? My son has been through SO MUCH in his short 14 years of life. He is very overweight, he wishes he was thinner, but he won’t exercise or actually change his eating habits to make this “wish” come true.

  2. Thank you for the question. Many factors may contribute to overeating. Regular eating high calorie foods or foods that head high glycemic index may contribute to excessive overeating and weight gain. Lack of exercise will contribute because calories out may not exceed calories in. A family history of obesity or being overweight and the presence of high calorie, high glycemic index foods always being available may contribute. Emotional eating in response to stress or to fight boredom may contribute. Purchasing grocery item’s that are more convenience foods such as cookies, chips and other high calorie items may contribute to excessive and overeating and weight gain. Socioeconomic factors have also been correlated to show over eating and obesity. Research indicates there is an impact of food advertising on childhood obesity as approximately 20% of our youth are now overweight with obesity rates in the preschool age children increasing at alarming speedAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled among children ages 2 to 5 (5.0% to 12.4%) and ages 6 to 11 (6.5% to 17.0%). In teens ages 12 to 19, prevalence rates have tripled (5.0% to 17.6%). Obesity in childhood places children and youth at risk for becoming obese as adults and associated poor health such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer. Prevention efforts must focus on reducing excess weight gain as children grow up. () Another research article indicates “as compared to those who did not have concerns about eating, those who were concerned about undereating felt that they had poorer relationships with their mothers and fathers, less social support, lower self-esteem and low levels of exercise. In contrast, those who were concerned about overeating perceived having an intimacy problem only with their fathers. Like those concerned about undereating, the group concerned about overeating also had lower self-esteem and low levels of exercise. But, unlike the under-eating concern group, the over-eating concern group scored higher on the depression scale.” (
    Complications of obesity impact various aspects of the child including the child’s physical, social and emotional development. Emotionally, it may include low self esteem and bullying, behavior and learning problems, and depression.
    To begin with; parents can check their shopping habits. It might be time for the family to adopt a healthy lifestyle that begins with the grocery list. Increase fruits, nuts, veggies, dairy, lean meats, and other known healthy items…Sugary cereal on the list – that has to go for certain! Limiting sweetened beverages including fruit juice is important. I suggest a no soda pop for 3 months rule in the house. Make family meals fun and healthy and talk about healthy food choices. Physical activity is also critical. Adolescents needs lots of calories to begin with due do physical development – so get the good calories in and get them active – biking, hiking and other fun activities. Limit TV and “screen time” to 30 minutes a day. If your child is depressed, it may be due to the types of food and lack of activity. I recommend counseling as a last resort after making other adjustments. Many clients I have seen who have adopted a healthy lifestyle report increased energy, self esteem, and mood – all without medications and very little counseling but more of a solution focused approach – setting clear goals with objectives. Coming up with a family plan can help – become a healthy family!