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Developmental Characteristics of Fourteen to Eighteen Year Olds (Grades 9-12)

General Characteristics
  • Testing limits; a “know-it-all” attitude
  • Vulnerable; emotionally insecure; fear of rejection; mood swings
  • Identification with admired adults
  • Bodies going through physical changes that affect personal appearance
Physical Characteristics
  • Very concerned about their appearance; very self conscious about their physical changes
  • May have bad diet and sleep habits and, as a result, low energy levels
  • Often a rapid weight gain at beginning of adolescence; enormous appetite
Social Characteristics
  • Friends set the general rules of behavior
  • Feel a strong need to conform; dress and behave like their peers in order to “belong”
  • Very concerned with what others say and think about them
  • Have a tendency to try to manipulate others to get what they want
  • Go to extremes; often appear to be unstable emotionally while having a “know-it-all” attitude
  • Fear of ridicule and of being unpopular
  • Strong identification with admired adults
Emotional Characteristics
  • Very sensitive to praise and recognition; feelings are easily hurt
  • Caught between being a child and being an adult
  • Loud behavior may hide their lack of self confidence
  • Look at the world more objectively; look at adults more subjectively and are critical of them
Mental Characteristics
  • Can better understand moral principles
  • May have lengthy attention spans
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