• A time of significant development, growth and change, second only to infancy 
  • A time of exploration, figuring things out and taking charge

    "Adolescence is the most Technicolor time in our lives."    Ned Vizzini, writer

    To manage these changes, young people take off the life backpack they were given at birth and filled with the foundational things they need to thrive during childhood. They take charge of their back back by reorganizing everything that's inside:

    • Explore & try things out
    • Decipher what it all means, what's important to them, & how they'll use it
    • Add to & refine the content
    • Repack with the things they want - in the order that makes sense to them.

    Developmental Tasks

    As part of this process, adolescents accomplish developmental tasks that help them move into adulthood ready and prepared: 

    1. Figure out a new body
    2. Take on their sexuality
    3. Manage a rapidly changing brain
    4. Learn to think a new way
    5. Figure out a new sense of self
    6. Take charge of beliefs and values
    7. Renegotiate relationships with peers and parents/caregivers
    8. Identify their role in the world

    Foundational Supports

    Through this process, young people need foundational supports that help them develop, thrive, prosper and flourish.

    • Connections to caring, supportive people, schools and communities
    • Opportunities to try things out, find their “spark” and make a difference
    • Basic needs are met

     When young people are surrounded with these supports these supports, they:

    • Less likely to be involved in risk behaviors
    • Do better in school
    • More likely to believe in their own abilities

    Key Resources on Adolescent Development: 


    Understanding Adolescents, SAHRC YouTube Video Series

    1. The Basics (21.03 minutes)
    2. Development Tasks (Body) (25.04 minutes)
    3. Understanding Adolescence (Developmental Tasks, Sense of Self, Relationships) (32.56 minutes)
    4. Understanding Adolescence (Now What?)
    Adolescent Development: What's Going on in There? Act for Youth, Center of Excellence (Narrated Video)

    Free online learning modules, courses and toolkits

    Adolescent Development E-Learning ModuleOffice of Adolescent Health (60 minutes) 

    Positive Youth Development (PYD) 101 OnlineACT for Youth, Center of Excellence
    Series of short courses intended to introduce PYD to new youth work professionals, volunteers, and advocates, stand-alone, interactive 30 min courses can be taken in any order. Free, requires registration.

    Adolescent Development Toolkit, ACT for Youth, Center of Excellence
    Web-based resources that explain and describe adolescent development. Includes guides, articles, fact sheets, videos, narrated presentations, and related websites.  Assembled by the Risk and Thriving in Adolescence Program Work Team, a collaboration of Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, New York State 4-H Youth Development, and external stakeholders.

    Michigan Public Health Institute free online courses (Requires free registration, some courses offer CEU's for CHES and other professions)
    • Motivational Interviewing & Risk Assessment (includes discussion of developmental tasks of adolescence related to communicating with young people in clinical settings 6-8 hour self-paced modules)
    • Resilience and Positive Youth Development (1-2 hour self paced module).

    Requirements for Healthy Development of Adolescent Youth (1973). Gisela Konopka, ADOLESCENCE, Volume VIII Number 31, Fall 1973, pp. 1-26.

    Teen Years Explained (publication)Center for Adolescent Health, Johns Hopkins – Bloomberg school of Public Health

    MIT Young Adult Development Project
    (Compilation of new research findings that are emerging about young adulthood)

    SAHRC Developmental Tasks of Adolescence Fact Sheets (Download below)
    Kristin Teipel,
    Dec 18, 2017, 11:36 AM
    Kristin Teipel,
    Jun 14, 2017, 11:26 PM
    Kristin Teipel,
    Jun 15, 2017, 11:35 PM
    Kristin Teipel,
    Jun 15, 2017, 11:35 PM
    Kristin Teipel,
    Jun 15, 2017, 11:35 PM