Adolescence is a time of tremendous physical, mental and emotional growth. During this time in life, the brain changes so that the world becomes a much larger place — sometimes overwhelmingly so. Adolescents develop their relationship to pain at this time. It’s important that this relationship be a healthy one, wherein pain and loss are understood to be a natural part of life from which people recover. If not guided, however, adolescents may see pain as something to be avoided with the use of mind altering substances, self-harming behavior or adrenal-causing acting out. They may feel a victim of it. The outcome of adolescence impacts functioning throughout the rest of the life cycle.
Adolescence is also a time of revisiting earlier stages. Adolescents, in an increasingly adult body, may behave as if they are needy infants, tantrumming two years olds, productive ten year olds and independent adults. This may vary from day to day. To the degree that these stages were not resolved in childhood, they will emerge in adolescence. This can be confusing to both parents and adolescent alike but it is part of the process of growing up.