The period of adolescence, which lasts approximately 11 to 21 years, is characterized by several social and emotional changes. These include labile emotions, exploring and asserting of personal identity, peer relationships, independence, self-centered attitudes, and testing rules and boundaries. The stage marks a transition from childhood to adulthood. Adolescence involves a rapid change in behaviors, identity disturbances and strong emotions.
Adolescents often switch mood rapidly, dithering between happiness, anguish, self-confidence and anxiety. Some of these shifts in moods originate from biological resources. Adolescents’ labile emotional state also results from complex social interactions including conflicts with friends, pressure from school and experimentation with relationships. During adolescence, teenagers try to discover where they fit in with peers and their place in society. More often, adolescents experience an unsteady sense of self and experiment with new personal labels and relate to a number of peer groups.
At adolescence, peer relationships are given priority over family relationships. Adolescents often seek opinions from and perceptions of their friends; they are readily influenced by their peers’ behaviors and beliefs. During this stage, teenagers are extremely vulnerable to negative peer pressure. Adolescents are also characterized by their search for independence. The teenagers most often test the boundaries placed by their teachers and parents. In addition, adolescents develop a self-centered attitude and look at situations from their own perspectives.