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Adolescent Psychology
Class Syllabus
Class Schedule
Instructor Info
Exam 1 Study Guide
Exam 2 Study Guide
Exam 3 Study Guide
Lecture Outlines
Thought Paper

Characteristics of Young Adolescents


Characteristic: Young adolescents are at a unique, vulnerable time in their lives, when adults continue to be important to them.

Adolescent Need: They need relationships with reassuring and informed adults who like and respect them, and who serve as role models and advisors to them.

Results: Adolescents go to adults for comfort and reassurance.


Characteristic: Young adolescents seek limited independence and autonomy; may imagine themselves to be vulnerable to dangerous risks.

Adolescent Need: They need adult guidance in setting clear limits, but they should help to make rules within those guidelines.

Results: Adolescents may display out-of-control behavior when limits are not clear.


Characteristic: Young adolescents live in a constantly expanding world, as they master new social skills and begin to see themselves in relation to their communities and to society in general.

Adolescent Need: They need opportunities to make meaningful contributions to their communities, so they see themselves as participants, not observers, in society.

Results:  Adolescents may volunteer for service projects.


Characteristic: Young adolescents question rules and beliefs that had been accepted on face value up until now.

Adolescent Need: They need to have a voice in planning the activities that shape their lives.

Results: Adolescents argue with staff about whether rules are reasonable and fair.


Characteristic: Young adolescents are a diverse and challenging age group with which to work.

Adolescent Need: They need youth workers who like and respect them for who they are right now; who respond sensitively to both their present joys and confusion, and their dreams and worries about the future.

Results: Adolescents have disdain for statements that start with When you grow up


Characteristic: Young adolescents grow more rapidly than at any other time in their lives except infancy.

Adolescent Need: They need lots of physical activity - not intense competition and time for relaxation, too.

Results: Adolescents fidget or squirm when sitting.


Characteristic: Young adolescents change at different rates, according to highly individual internal clocks, can be painfully self-conscious and critical, and are vulnerable to bouts of low self-esteem.

Adolescent Need: Adolescents needs may vary opportunities to achieve and to have their competence recognized by others.

Results: Adolescents ask for feedback on their work.


Characteristic: Young adolescents develop secondary sex characteristics and the capacity to reproduce; develop new thinking skills.

Adolescent Need: They need time for self-definition; that is, time to reflect upon and absorb their new look, new ways of thinking, and new reactions from others.

Results: Adolescents constantly look in mirrors.


Characteristic: Young adolescents have new interests and abilities, as well as many feelings, thoughts, and concerns about themselves and the world around them.

Adolescent Need: They need opportunities to express creatively these new interests, thoughts, and emotions.

Results: Adolescents identify with characters in stories and plays.


Characteristic: Young adolescents identify with their peer group, and want to belong; develop deepening, mutual friendships.

Adolescent Need: They need opportunities to form positive relations and experiences with peers.

Results: Adolescents resent being separated from best friends.