Teen Age describes a period of child-growth that extends
from the thirteenth to the nineteenth year. It corresponds
generally to the period of development known as
adolescence, which may begin before the age of 13 and
extend well beyond the age of 19. 

Adolescence actually begins with puberty, a period during
which the child matures physically. Adolescence ends at
some indefinite point called maturity, or adulthood. Adults
have certain special characteristics that adolescents
usually lack. These include emotional and economic
independence; acceptance of responsibility; a sense of
self-identity or individuality; and a goal, or set of
values, that adults try to reach. But the chief factor of
adulthood is physical maturity, which is generally
completed between the ages of 20 and 23. 

The teen ager undergoes other great changes that tend to
confuse him/her. Physical changes sometimes upset him
emotionally. Intellectually, he/she begins to question
social, moral, and religious ideas that he had previously
received without question from his parents and society. 

The teen ager also strives for the independence, freedom,
and responsibility of an adult. This often leads to
conflicts between the teen ager and his/her parents, and to
conflicts within the teen ager him/herself. Too often
adults ignore, ridicule, or misunderstand the teen ager's
drive toward adulthood.
The teen ager may be divided into three separate categories
ranging from the radical to conservative. The "radical"
teen ager may be best described as one going to all
extremes to try and prove something that nobody else can
really understand. Punks, stoners, new- wavers, skaters,
surfers, and other similar people fall into this category.
The "moderate" group of the teen ager may best be described
as the classic teen ager, or really a teen ager who
epitomizes most of the qualities of a "normal" teen ager.
This category comprises the widest range of people and
could definitely be sub-divided within itself. This
particular category of teen ager is slightly vague as it
can range from teenagers such as "jocks" to "brains". The
last of these categories, the "conservative" teen ager
describes the class of teen agers who follow the rules and
teachings of the adult world without a complaint or
rejection. One will most likely find a "conservative" teen
in the front of the classroom trying to get as close to the
teacher's desk as possible. One will find that this person
is usually quite timid and quiet the majority of the time.
Parents are the greatest single influence in the life of an
adolescent. Whether the teen ager successfully makes the
transition form childhood to adulthood depends mostly on
them. Parents must constantly strive to understand their
growing youngsters. Parents themselves must make certain
adjustments so that the teen ager can fulfill his/her need
for independence and social development. They must provide
a secure and happy home where the teen ager can find
acceptance of himself and his friends. 

Teen agers must be prepared to meet many more problems than
those already discussed. They must develop moral and
ethical standards, and learn how to apply them. They must
learn how to study and how to succeed scholastically,
especially if they plan on going to college. They must also
learn how to use leisure time constrictively they must
develop wholesome attitudes toward other persons.
Adolescence is the proving ground for these future
responsibilities, and thus becomes one of the most
important periods in a person's life. The adolescent needs
the help of parents, school, and community. 

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