If you would like to study Child Psychology/Adolescent psychology or Certificate in Youth Counselling you can check out the courses by clicking on the links or check out all our psychology courses here – Psychology courses

Some traits that develop in adolescents include:


Adolescences become more able to evaluate what they learn, allowing them to start making moral judgements.  They can become annoyed with people who don’t share their newfound opinions, or who aren’t as passionate as they are.  Adolescents begin to perceive the possibilities in the world and ways in which it could be better, making them very idealistic.

They can be very critical of adults.  Some adolescents can develop a messianic complex, whereby they feel they have some vital role to play in the salvation of humanity and can become involved in political activism and social causes that champion the underdog.

Long Term Values

As adolescences become able, and expected to take on more and more adult roles and responsibility they begin to see themselves as equal to the adults around them.  They can start to map out a life plan, often starting out very egocentric, before gradually become less so.  Combined with development of their reasoning skills, they can begin to develop long term values and comprehend long term implication.  This is a change from the childish desire for immediate gratification.


Hypocrisy is by definition a difference in what a person says and does.  For example, a teenager complains about a sibling borrowing things without permission and is annoyed that the sibling isn’t punished by the parent.  The same teenager however sees no issue with borrowing items from his father that he feels he needs.  Hypocrisy is often related to idealism.  An example would be teenagers who demonstrate in support of a social underdog on the weekend, but who bullies a classmate at school.  Teenagers may also display hypocrisy by pretending to be something they are not.


As adolescents become more able to logically reason some adolescents become less creative than they were as children.  The pressures of society to conform can also inhibit an adolescence creative development.  Creativity develops in adolescents who aren’t as concerned about conformity and are confident enough to express their individuality.


This effect is often seen in teenagers, who can be over-eager to use their newly developed problem solving skills and attempt to address a simple problem in an overly complex manner, and fail.  They do not fail because the problem was too complex for them, but rather because they were to complex in addressing the problem.  They may overanalyse the problem, looking for tricks or hidden problems, and they can pick up on supposed nuances that are not really there.  The capacity to consider alternatives better than they were able to a few years before may mean ordering at a restaurant goes from an insistence on immediately ordering a favourite dish to spending 20 minutes agonising over their options.


Egocentrism is when a person concentrates their attention on themselves.  Teenagers going through adolescence become so focused on themselves that they conclude that everyone else around them is equally interested in them.  This can result in the teenager feeling like they are constantly performing, this is known as reacting to the ‘imaginary audience’.  Teenagers also tend to consider their lives and circumstance to be particularly unique or special, an opinion termed the ‘personal fable’.  This can include the belief that they are somehow immortal, or impervious to harm.  Examples are teenagers believing an unwanted pregnancy or a car accident is something that only happens to other people and not them, no matter how much their behaviour exposes them to these events.


Looking critically at oneself, and examining how ones thought processes work, is known as introspection (looking inward).  As their cognitive skills improve, teenagers can become fascinated with how these skills work in them.  They examine their thoughts and opinions in great detail and can replay social interactions and events to examine and attempt to solve real or perceived problems.

Self Concept  

Teenagers are well known to be concerned with themselves, self-absorbed, egotistical etc.  However this capacity to think about themselves is actually very important in the development of the person’s self-concept and identity.  Formal operative thinking means they will consider a range of simultaneous ideas about themselves and their personality and appearance, and test each one, by asking people around them for opinions.  They tend to accumulate outside information before determining for themselves what they feel is the truth.  It is this truth on which they create their self-image, whether positive or negative.

School Problems

School problems can also be due to emotional and intellectual problems, but as it can also be related to rebellion against authority, we will discuss it further here.

Refusal to go to school can be due to a number of problems –

Some children may be perfectionists.

They may become depressed and unsettled if they do not do as well as they expect to.

They may have a disturbed family life due to various factors, such as loss of a parent through death or divorce, parental relationship difficulties and so on.

They may experience difficulties being separated from their parents.

Their school problems may be an established pattern.

Some children may have established a pattern of missing school early in life.

They may often have physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches.

Some teenagers may go to school, then play truant.

This is usually because they are unhappy at home and frustrated at school. They may want to spend their days with others who feel the same way.

Emotional problems can affect school work. It can make it hard to concentrate. They may have worries about themselves, about home, pressure to do well, pass exams and so on. They may want to do well and push themselves. But excessive nagging and pushing can be counter-productive. Whilst exams are important, they should not be allowed to dominate the teenager’s life or cause them unhappiness.


Around 1 in 10 secondary school children is bullied at some point, 1 in 20 every week.

The methods employed by the teacher can also affect development.  The use of authoritarian methods can inhibit the development of real cognitive skills.  However providing an environment with discussion, and group interaction and exchange can promote formal thinking and problem-solving skills.

Course Extract from The Adolescent Psychology Course by Health Academy Australia

If you would like to study Child Psychology/Adolescent psychology or Certificate in Youth Counselling you can check out the courses by clicking on the links or check out all our psychology courses here – Psychology courses