Social and emotional changes

As adolescents grow physically they also think and feel differently. The box below details the main social and emotional changes that take place. Some of these changes in the way they think are a consequence of growing older and learning more about the world and the way other people think and behave. But changes in the way they feel are more likely to be a consequence of the hormonal changes in their bodies. These changed feelings can often be a source of confusion and unhappiness. You will learn how you can help young people to prepare for these changes and to understand them.

Social and emotional changes during puberty

  • Starting to think independently/make decisions for themselves
  • Starting to have sexual feelings
  • Experimentation and curiosity (sexual intercourse, alcohol, drugs and other stimulants)
  • Friends may matter more than they used to (what they wear, do, how they speak and use language – e.g. slang and informal speech)
  • Mood changes
  • Need for privacy
  • Concern about body image, need to be seen as attractive and able to sexually attract people
  • Need to break social sanctions and laws
  • Disrespect for authority including parental supervision
  • Argumentative and aggressive behaviours become evident and often disturb parents and teachers
  • Delinquency/law-breaking activities
  • Political extremism.
Last modified: Tuesday, 1 July 2014, 2:38 PM