The period of transition when an individual is no longer a child and yet cannot be referred to as an adult is not only marked by noticeable physical changes but also changes in how they interact.A good understanding of these changes can promote healthy development throughout adolescence and early adulthood.The knowledge of these changes can also help parents to modify, utilize and deliberately take actions for the proper development of their adolescents because if they are not well understood it can result into frequent conflicts between an adolescent and their parents.


The following are the social changes that occur at the adolescent phase:

Identity: An adolescent experience difficulty in fitting their self-awareness and identifying their niche in the world. Adolescent experiment new things like new clothing styles, music, friendship groups etc.

Independence: The ability to be independent about things like their mobility and spending (time and money), how they locate places, how they spend their time, who they spend time with, and what they spend money on.

Responsibility: Taking responsibility both at home and in school might become keen at adolescence. This may also include responsibility like cooking dinner once a week or being on the school council.

New Experiences: Adolescents are likely to search for new knowledge including risky experiences. This is normal as an adolescent maximizes its own limits and abilities.

Values: Stronger individual set of values and morals begins to develop at adolescence. They question more because they are learning to take responsibility for their actions, decisions and consequences.

Influences: Adolescents are influenced by friends and peers. This may influence the adolescent behaviour, appearance, interests, self-worth and self-esteem.

Peers Interaction: Adolescents unlike children usually begin spending more time with peers and less time with their families, and these peer interactions are mostly unsupervised by adults. Shared activities are often the main focus of friendship in children’s notion, while in adolescents’ notions of friendship the focus is on intimate exchanges of thoughts and feelings.


An adolescent navigates the process of self-discovery, trying to figure out who they are, hence; parents should establish a positive relationship with their children. A positive parent-child relationship is indicated by kindness, consistency, love, warmth and respect. The relationship will as well help to build a good self-esteem, mental health, and social skills in the children.

Independent expression and thought should be encouraged by parents in their children. Parents who do this encourage them to express their views and thoughts and also encourage their participation in family rule setting and decision making which in turn make such teens to be competent, responsible and possess a high self-esteem.

Resnick MD et al. Protecting adolescents from harm: findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. JAMA 1997; 278:823-32.

Rice, P. and Dolgin, K. Adolescents in Theoretical Context from The Adolescent: Development, Relationships and Culture, 10th edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 2002.

Steinberg L. We know some things: parent-adolescent relationships in retrospect and prospect. Journal of Research in Adolescence 2001; 11:1-19.

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