Developmental Characteristics of Early Adolescence

Early adolescence can be a difficult time for a child. Many changes on a physical and an emotional level take place when puberty strikes. Since some of these changes can affect the way an adolescent acts, it may be a good idea to learn what the developmental characteristics of early adolescence are so you can better understand the reasons for the early adolescent’s actions.

Body Changes

Early adolescence is a time when a girl’s body and a boy’s body go through significant changes. Boys and girls will start to grow hair in the groin area and under the arms when they approach puberty, and underarm sweat will have a strong odor. The shape of a girl’s body will change as well. Her hips will widen and she will develop more fat. A girl’s breasts will start to grow at this time as well, and she may start to get her period. Boys approaching puberty will notice growth of their testes. Both boys and girls will grow taller during this transition.

Emotional Changes

During the time of early adolescence, boys and girls show more interest in their appearance. They may start to show more of an interest in clothes and hairstyles. Some girls will start to wear makeup. Boys and girls of this age will also start to worry more, and they may become more critical of themselves. They may have mood swings, and they may be less affectionate towards their mother, father and other family members. Rudeness is common in children of this age. Sometimes early adolescence causes eating disorders. Depression is common at this age as well.

Thought Changes

During this growing stage the thought process is more involved and the early adolescent has a better understanding of what is right and what is wrong. He will be able to change his thoughts into ideas, and he will be able to analyze his thoughts and the outcome of certain actions 2. The early adolescent’s mind is also better able to take in more complex information. Early adolescents will spend time trying to find their identity, and some will find this challenging.