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Emotional Development - Emotional Development During Adolescence

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 3Emotional Development - Emotional Development In Infancy And Toddlerhood, Emotions And Early Relationships, Emotional Development During Adolescence, Summary - Emotional Development during Childhood

Emotional Development during Adolescence

Emotional development continues once children reach adolescence. In fact, emotions have often been used to define the period of adolescence. For some people, the changes associated with adolescence conjure up pictures of strong emotions—a developmental period characterized as a time when teens become moody and negative. These images, however, are accurate for only a minority of adolescents. Most adolescents cope with the changes in emotionally positive ways.

When emotional stress does arise, it often is the result of adolescents' conflicts with their parents. These conflicts frequently occur because adolescents are striving to make independent choices and do not agree with parents' requests and opinions as readily as they did when they were younger. Conversations about general household tasks and curfews can be potentially volatile—for instance, when a young person's desire to stay out late with his friends conflicts with the parents' needs to make sure their child is safe and home at a reasonable hour.

Although adolescents' conflicts over family issues can have an emotional impact, emotional extremes more often center on interactions with peers, particularly romantic partners. These extreme feelings are tied to the adolescent's self-perceptions, sometimes producing feelings of worthlessness and sometimes eliciting strong joy and desire. Depending on the unique characteristics of the young person, the availability of parental support, and the amount and kind of stress in an adolescent's life, some teens are able to surmount difficult emotional situations, whereas others may despair.

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