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Adolescence: What changes to expect

February 28, 2023

5 min read

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Author : United We Care
Adolescence: What changes to expect


Adolescence is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood, and it can be an exciting yet challenging time. During adolescence, teens experience a wide range of physical and emotional changes. The following sections describe these changes in detail.

What is adolescence?

The word ‘adolescence’ comes from the Latin word adolescere, which means ‘to mature’. It is a period between childhood and adulthood, typically between ages 10 and 19, when teens experience physical, psychological, and social changes [1]. Adolescence is a time of exploration and growth as young people learn to navigate the world around them.

Changes related to adolescence

changes related to adolescence

1. Physical changes

During adolescence, a person’s body goes through several changes. These include:

  • Most kids will experience a growth spurt during adolescence, and their limbs might grow faster than the rest of the body [2].

  • During adolescence, one’s skin also matures. Sebaceous glands produce more oil, leading to acne and an uneven skin tone.

  • Hair follicles produce more sebum during adolescence as well. It makes the hair greasier and prone to tangling and breakage.

  • The voice box (larynx) grows during adolescence, causing one’s voice to change. Boys’ voices usually deepen, while girls’ voices become high-pitched.

  • Both boys and girls experience differences in physical traits during adolescence. Girls develop fuller breasts and broader hips, and boys’ shoulders start broadening.

2. Cognitive changes

Though everyone undergoing adolescence has different cognitive makeups, some common cognitive changes they face are:

  • During adolescence, teens start thinking more abstractly and can grasp concepts that were previously too challenging to understand. They can also identify patterns and connections between different ideas and concepts.

  • Adolescents are better at logical reasoning and can consider and weigh multiple perspectives before reaching conclusions.

  • Adolescents learn to think more abstractly and become better at solving problems. They can see the bigger picture and identify potential solutions.

  • Adolescents are typically more aware of themselves and their thoughts and feelings than younger children. They are also more aware of how others see them and how their actions might affect others.

3. Social changes

As teenagers move from childhood to adulthood, their relationships with family, peers, and society evolve. The social changes teens face during adolescence can have far-reaching implications [3]. Some of these changes are:

  • Teenagers often spend more time with their friends than with their family.

  • Most adolescent teens start to explore romantic and sexual relationships.

  • Teenagers often seek more independence and responsibility from their parents during adolescence.

4. Emotional changes

Adolescence is a period of rapid emotional transformation for teenagers. During this time:

  • Teenagers experience various emotions that are often difficult to manage and make sense of.

  • They often act impulsively without first considering the repercussions.

  • Teens may feel overwhelmed as they experience various changes and are often unprepared to deal with them.

  • Teens are also vulnerable to isolation and depression during adolescence.

In addition, parents often fail to understand their teens’ emotional needs, which can lead to sudden outbursts of anger and cause emotional distress between teens and their parents. Understanding teenagers’ dynamic changes can help their parents, teachers, and other adults offer better assistance.

What should you do to accept these changes in adolescence

Taking the changes that come with youth can be challenging, but there are several things that you can do to make the process easier:

  1. Stay informed: Educate yourself about adolescence’s physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. Understanding what to expect can help you feel more prepared and less anxious.

  2. Communicate: Talk to trusted adults or friends about what you are experiencing. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can help you feel heard and supported.

  3. Take care of yourself: Ensure you get enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food. Taking care of your physical health can help you feel more confident and better cope with stress.

  4. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and remember that it is normal to struggle with the changes that come with adolescence. Try to avoid being too hard on yourself and instead focus on your strengths and accomplishments.

  5. Seek professional help: If you are struggling with the changes of adolescence, consider talking to a mental health professional. A therapist or counsellor can provide you with additional support and guidance.

Remember that adolescence is a period of growth and change, and everyone experiences it differently. By taking care of yourself, staying informed, and seeking support, you can navigate this exciting and challenging time more efficiently and confidently.


Parents and caregivers must understand the changes that accompany adolescence. This way, they can provide the necessary support to teenagers. With the proper guidance, teens can successfully navigate this period of their lives. However, as a parent, if you think your teenager is struggling to manage their emotions during adolescence, do not hesitate to seek professional help at United We Care. 


  1. Adolescent development (no date) Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7060-adolescent-development (Accessed: February 18, 2023).
  2. The growing child: Adolescent 13 to 18 years (2020) The Growing Child: Adolescent 13 to 18 Years | Johns Hopkins Medicine. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-growing-child-adolescent-13-to-18-years#:~:text=Adolescence%20is%20a%20time%20for,visible%20at%20the%20same%20time. (Accessed: February 18, 2023).
  3. Adolescent health (no date) World Health Organization. World Health Organization. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/adolescent-health (Accessed: February 18, 2023).
  4. Adolescent development: medlineplus medical encyclopedia (no date) MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002003.htm (Accessed: February 18, 2023).



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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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