Growth and Development, Ages 15 to 18 Years - Topic Overview
How do teenagers grow and develop during ages 15 to 18?
The ages from 15 to 18 are an exciting time of life. But these years can
be challenging for teens and their parents. Emotions can change quickly as
teens learn to deal with school, their friends, and adult expectations. Teen
self-esteem is affected by success in school, sports, and friendships. Teens
tend to compare themselves with others, and they might form false ideas about
their body image. The influence of TV, magazines, and the Internet can add to a
teen's poor body image.
For parents, the teen years are a time to
get to know their teenager. While teens are maturing, they still need a
parent's love and guidance. Most do just fine as they face the challenges of
being a teen. But it is still important for teens to have good support from
their parents so that they can get through these years with as few problems as
There are four basic areas of teenage
- Physical development.
Most teens enter puberty by age 15. Girls go through a time of rapid growth
right before their first menstrual period. And by age 15, girls are near their
adult height. Boys usually continue to grow taller and gain weight through
their teen years.
- Cognitive development. As
they mature, teens are more able to think about and understand abstract ideas
such as morality. They also begin to understand other people better. Even
though they have a certain amount of empathy and can understand that others
have different ideas, they often strongly believe that their own ideas are the
- Emotional and social development.
Much of teens' emotional and social growth is about finding their place in the
world. They are trying to figure out "Who am I?" and "How do I fit in?" So it
is normal for their emotions to change from day to day.
- Sensory and motor development. Boys continue to get stronger
and more agile even after puberty. Girls tend to level out. Getting plenty of
exercise helps improve strength and coordination in boys and girls.
When are routine medical visits needed?
should see his or her doctor for a routine checkup each year. The doctor will ask
your teen questions about his or her life and activities. This helps the doctor
check on your teen's mental and physical health. It's a good idea to give your
teen some time alone with the doctor during these visits to talk in private.
Your teen will also get the shots (immunizations) that are needed at each
Teens should also see the dentist each year.
When should you call your doctor?
Call your doctor
if you have questions or concerns about your teen's physical or emotional
health, such as:
- Delayed growth.
- Changes in
- Body image problems.
- Skipping school or other problems with school.
- Alcohol and drug use.
Also call your doctor if you notice changes in your teen's
friendships or relationships or if you need help talking with your teen.