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
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
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
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.