Welcome to the Psychology of Teenagers!

When I meet people for the first time and I’m asked what I do for a living, I typically reply, “I am an adolescent counselor” to which people all too frequently respond, “Are you nuts?!”

I wouldn’t describe myself as nuts (not just yet) and I find my work very rewarding, but working with teenagers tests your patience!

Teens often give off the impression that they are stressed, unsure of themselves, and frustrated.  But considering that they are dealing with drastically changing bodies in an increasingly technological society, it is understandable why adolescence is so awkward.

If you could relive any period in your life, what would it be?   You may choose your childhood, or maybe the first time you felt self-sufficient.  You may look back on your carefree college days and smile.  Perhaps you reminisce of the days when your adolescent children where once innocent little babies.

The fact of the matter is that virtually no one wants to relieve their teen years and for totally legitimate reasons!  Do you remember your awkward teen years?

  • Acne
  • Having a crush on a significant other but not knowing what to do
  • Things getting stuck in your braces
  • Feeling so self-conscious
  • The thought of having to take a swimming class
  • Boys to the left and girls to the right side of the gym during middle school dances, with a few ‘advanced’ girls and boys mingling in the center
  • Fashion mishaps on a daily basis
  • Having the best day and the worst day—all on the same day

A colleague of mine once told me that middle school is the range of strange.  As a professional working with teens, you see kids varying on a spectrum in regards to their physical, emotional, and social development.  In comparison to each other, teens drastically differ in terms of their intelligence, maturity, height, confidence, self-esteem, athleticism, awkwardness, etc.  It isn’t until their later high school years when teens’ development tends to plateau and less inter-peer differences are noticeable.

You may be a teenager.  You may have a teenager.  You may anticipate one day having a teenager or you may just be interested in learning more about teenagers.   So to help you better under the psychology of teenagers, in addition to helping you navigate through the range of the strange, I will be providing you with tips, stories, research, statistics, and yes humor to help make those teen years just a bit more enjoyable.

Copyright Ann L. Naragon, Ph.D. 2010

Creative Commons License photo credit: sacha.frampton