Personality Traits in Teens

Dealing with school pressures, emotional and physical changes, and the desire to fit in with peers can cause teenagers to adopt new and sometimes challenging personality traits, according to KidsHealth. Although teenagers’ personalities vary, you need to familiarize yourself with some common personality traits that you might witness as your teenager matures.


Teenagers dealing with the pressure of school, the social scene and family life might exhibit mood swings as a result of stress. Your teen’s emotions can run the gamut from ecstatic to sad, complete with corresponding actions, including shouting, slamming doors and crying. Although you may let your teen to ride out the emotions, “Worried About A Moody Teen?” a 2010 article on "The Wall Street Journal" website, notes that you should watch for changes in interests, sleeping and eating habits, and the ability to concentrate that last longer than two weeks, which could indicate depression 1.


When teenagers begin to assert their independence from parents, they might engage in rebellious behavior. Your teen might question your authority, argue more or break household rules, according to KidsHealth. Although you should ensure your teenager isn’t engaging in unsafe or unhealthy activities, consider listening to her opinions, giving her additional leeway and respecting her privacy unless she gives you a valid reason to question her judgment or trustworthiness.


The desire to do well in school and extracurricular activities might lead teenagers to strive for perfection. Whether they’re hoping to impress others or simply imposing high standards on themselves, teens struggling with perfectionism might feel disappointment and anxiety when they don’t reach their goals, according to the NYU Child Study Center 3. If your teen struggles with perfectionism, suggest that he try to accept mistakes as learning experiences and to strive for his personal best, such as getting a better score on the next test instead of trying to get the best score in the class.

Need for Approval

Teenagers might experience emotional turmoil as they seek the approval of parents, teachers and friends. Although your teen might act as though she doesn’t care what you think, expressing your disapproval through ridicule or criticism could undermine her self-esteem, according to a 2011 article at The need for approval can lead teens to succumb to peer pressure as a way to feel accepted. Bolster your teen’s confidence by showing that you love her unconditionally, even when she makes a bad decision.


Although changes in a teen’s personality are typical throughout adolescence, watch for extreme behavior that might indicate that your teen is dealing with a personality disorder. The Mayo Clinic suggests consulting a counselor, physician or therapist if your teen has drastic mood swings, violent outbursts, problems relating to family or peers, a lack of impulse control or shows signs of substance abuse.