What Are the Stages of Adolescence?
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Stages of Adolescence- An Overview

Published on Jan 24, 2023   -  4 min read


Adolescence is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood. Keep reading to know all about the stages of adolescence that a child goes through.


Adolescence is a phase of life during which a child transitions into adulthood. This period lasts for about six to seven years. It is a stage when puberty hits and a child transforms into a youngster. They notice many visible changes in their body during this phase. The changes can be physical, mental, emotional, social, and sexual. A child unprepared for this phase can go through a lot of apprehension and anxiety. Though the transition may be new and challenging to parents and children, understanding the ups and downs of adolescence can help them handle it better. Parents play an essential role in guiding and supporting the child positively.

What Are the Stages of Adolescence?

Adolescence is divided into three stages, which include:

  1. Early adolescence.

  2. Middle adolescence.

  3. Late adolescence.

What Is Early Adolescence?

These physical changes can create anxiety and curiosity in most children. Some might be unprepared and cannot differentiate whether the changes are normal or abnormal. Children in this age group have concrete “black and white” thinking, which means something is either excellent or terrible. They do not have room to accommodate a more detailed point of view. This kind of thinking makes them more self-centered. Also, they are constantly feeling of being judged and experience peer pressure.

Pre-teens also develop a sense of privacy. They try to maintain privacy by looking for ways to stay away from family. If elders place strict boundaries in the family, they retaliate.

What Is Middle Adolescence?

  • Middle adolescence lasts from 14 to 17 years.

  • Most of the physical changes are achieved by this stage.

  • Girls attain a major part of physical development and tend to get regular periods.

  • Voice changes are a noticeable change in boys. Their voices begin to crack and deepen.

  • Acne development is a common finding in both boys and girls.

Teens at this age develop an interest in sexual and romantic development. They explore sex and sexuality through self-stimulation called masturbation. Also, the feelings of having independence strengthen at this age, and they may constantly get into arguments with their parents. They develop a liking for spending more time with friends than at home or with family. Peer pressure is at its maximum, and they are very concerned about their appearance and what others think of them.

The brain continues to mature through middle adolescence. The frontal lobes of the brain develop entirely only in the 20s. Therefore, complex decision-making and an ability to consider various scenarios and consequences can differ in adolescents compared to adults. They validate situations more abstractly rather than understanding the pros and cons.

What Is Late Adolescence?

  • Late adolescence is from 18 to 21 years and beyond.

  • By this stage, most adolescents would have attained an adult height and have completed physical development.

Adolescents at this age have clearer thinking and can assess the good and bad in most situations. They can gauge the risks and rewards in a better way. They develop a sense of individuality and can focus well on essential decisions on their road to the future. They tend to detach themselves physically and emotionally from their family but can consider having an “adult” relationship with their parents. This thought process helps them keep the thread open and discuss mature topics and decisions with them, rather than only considering them as “authoritative figures.”

How Can Parents Help Children Navigate Through Adolescence?

Family dynamics and relationships can go through a lot of changes during a child’s adolescent period. During such times, constant support and understanding from parents are very important in helping the child get through. There are a few things that parents can do to help:

  • Sitting down and talking to the child. The child can be made to understand that “puberty” is a normal phase of development that everyone goes through. They may have fears and anticipations, which can be cleared by talking openly. They must also be given room to ask questions and express emotions. If required, a pediatrician can also be consulted.

  • Starting early conversations about topics like sex, sexuality, pregnancy, substance abuse, and consent helps build a good framework for future discussions.

  • Keeping conversations positive and celebrating successes.

  • Setting clear but reasonable boundaries. For example, communication must be clear regarding behavior or social media use so that they know the limits on a positive note. At the same time, they must be given the independence and encouragement to explore opportunities. A balance between the opinions of adolescents and parents has been shown to reduce the risk of depression and drug use.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of a consequence and explain to them the possible risks involved.

  • Setting a positive example for them so that they look up to the parents.

  • Guiding them in their decision-making journey.

  • Honoring a child’s individuality and independence as adolescence is only a phase of the transition from childhood to adulthood.

  • Assuring the children that their parents are always there for them in times of need.


Adolescence is a journey of a child into adulthood. A child undergoes physical and emotional development during this phase, which can create anxiety and anticipation. Parents play a vital role during this period to help and guide them in what they are going through in their minds and body. A positive relationship with children can help them become successful, happy, healthy adults.

Last reviewed at:
24 Jan 2023  -  4 min read




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