According to Dr. Bowers Late adolescence usually unfolds between ages fifteen and eighteen, and problems are characterized by these common changes.
- Gains more independence by doing grown-up activities; part-time employment, driving a car, dating, and recreational substance use at social gatherings.
- Experiences more significant emotional (and often sexual) involvement in romantic relationships.
- Feels grief over the gradual separation from old friends (and perhaps leaving family) and more anxiety at his unreadiness to undertake more worldly independence (Bowers, 2011).
This is often the scariest phase of adolescence due to the increased exploration of freedom on the part of the child. As I spoke to the issue of avoiding parenting from the perspective of fear, guilt, and shame in my last post; let me remind you all of the importance of doing this.
During this stage as Dr. Bowers points out the actions of the adolescent becomes increasingly risky as they being to emulate adult life styles. One of the key issues here is that we must remember that adolescence mimic what they see and begin to explore what they see modeled around them whether in real life or in the media. Parents must know and remember that adolescents at this age lack the full function of the frontal lobe of the brain as it has yet to fully develop. The frontal lobe is responsible for the action of higher reasoning skills and controls our moral and ethical reasoning. This is why these adolescents are typically more impulsive.
This does not excuse the child from proper behavior however is does explain the often frequent lapses in behavior. This is why is it is increasingly important for us as parents and adults to exhibit the behavior we wish children to exhibit because we are in fact role models. This is also the reason why it is important to monitor the media input as this is a heavy influence in the lives of adolescence in our world today.
“This is why it is essential to maintain realistic expectations about your child’s passage through adolescence, and you will reduce the likelihood of overreacting when normal problems occur and helpful disciplinary support is required” (Bowers, 2011).