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Publication #FAR1220

Teens' Developmental Tasks 1

Rebecca McGovney and Millie Ferrer-Chancy2

Figure 1. 
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As your children enter their teen years, they begin a physical and emotional journey that will bring them into adulthood, and parents can play an important role in helping them establish who they are.

Teenagers begin to interact with each other in more adult ways as they mature. Experts at the University of Florida say this is linked to physical development and that peer groups may change during the teen years as they grow at different rates. While their bodies are changing, teens also are learning to accept their appearance.

Sexual maturity also occurs during the teen years. Teens begin to define what it means to be male or female, though most conform to society's definitions of gender. UF researchers say teens often confuse sexual feelings with intimacy and don't get into long-term relationships until later years.

Another teen process many of us are familiar with is establishing independence from parents and other adults. Although many Americans do not gain economic independence until after long schooling, it's during the teen years that they begin to consider careers and financial independence.

Teens also begin to determine their own values and beliefs, although research shows these are usually based on their parents' values and beliefs. They also begin to work towards socially responsible behavior, such as employment or marriage. So while parents may feel overwhelmed by the tide of what feels like counter-assaults on what they've taught their children, it's important to remember they still have tremendous influence.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at http://www.familyalbumradio.org.

To listen to the radio broadcast:

http://www.radiosource.net/radio_stories/tdt.mp3

Footnotes

1.

This document is FAR1220, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Broadcast as program 44. Original publication date December 2007. Revised December 2007. Reviewed March 2012. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Rebecca McGovney, master's student, and Millie Ferrer-Chancy, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.