During adolescence, young people go through many changes as they move from childhood into teenagers. Between the ages of 12 to 16, young girls’ breasts start to develop and will be fully developed between 12 to 18 years old. A girl’s menstrual cycle may start between 12 and 15 years of age. Physical development in young adults during this period can be very different. At the age of 14-16, some may be just at the beginning of their physical maturity and others may have already reached their full physical maturity.
At the end of this stage, most boys will be taller than girls. Boys’ body and facial hair start to grow, and teenage boys have huge appetites. When teenagers are 16, the dramatic physical changes of adolescence will eventually begin to stop.
At 12 years old, a young adolescent will go through a crucial transition leaving junior/primary school to enter secondary school. More is expected from teenagers both intellectually and academically. Class projects and talks become more complex and will require more planning.
At this stage, young adults explore their options at school and may develop clear topic/subject preferences. In fact, at this age they start to develop specific intellectual skills. For example, one can develop a real aptitude for maths, chemistry, physics or biology, another may use more his/her creative abilities. Also, young adults have a much more complex taste in reading and they are able to think logically combing information and looking for reasonable more complicated conclusions. Writing as well as reading improve enormously: it is well structured, grammatically correct and coherent.
After the age of 12, young adults are able to see connections between the novels they read for school and their real lives. The ways they communicate become more complex being characterised by many words and new expressions they are able to add to their vocabulary. In fact, at 12 to 14 years of age, children use very long sentences (up to a dozen words or more). They know how to use sarcasm and when others are being sarcastic. They are also able to use humour. At this stage, young adults understand and use slang terms with their friends. At 14 to 16, they can follow complicated instructions and the stories they tell become longer and more complicated. Young adolescents explore a wide variety of literary techniques in writing, including poetry, narrative, complex dialogues, and they look for different ways to elaborate more intriguing descriptive stories.
Young adults can be very supportive towards people experiencing difficulties and are less egocentric, but they could be influenced by role models in the media. Adolescents of this age seem to have the need to talk about their personal problems, but they also love to talk about science fiction, curious and mysterious experiences. Teenagers also want to talk about things that affect their lives, the society or the world in general: environment, violence, justice, politics, and other complex topics. Friendships are still very important to teenagers, but towards 16 years of age they may become less sociable and communication could sometimes be rather aggressive.
At this age it is still very important for a young adolescent to fit in and not appear different from his/her peers, therefore image and personal appearance becomes vital. Most teenagers start being rebellious: the way they express the need of independence could vary from not talking much to having mood swings and outbursts. It must be clarified that the lack of communication doesn’t necessarily indicate boredom or lack of interest, but could be more related to anxiety, worries or lack of confidence. In fact, puberty brings many emotional changes: adolescents may have strong opinions which often lead to arguments with adults and for them forgiveness may be challenging.
This lack of belief in her own mortality unfortunately coincides with a period of high experimentation: she’s still trying on different selfimages and constantly testing the boundaries around her.