As you watch your teen grow, you may search eagerly for indications that your offspring is maturing and growing toward adulthood. The teenage years will most likely be a slow process of growing gradually from a dependent youngster into a wiser and more mature young adult. Before you know it, those elusive signs of maturity will begin appearing in your young person.
A teenager’s mind grows and develops the ability to use logical reasoning at an adult level by approximately age 16, according to psychologist Laurence Steinberg, writing for the American Psychological Association website. By this age, a teenager has the same reasoning ability to analyze and understand issues, data and information as an adult. Teenagers do lack significant psychosocial maturity in comparison with adults, however. This fundamental deficiency makes it difficult for teenagers to make sound decisions, even after applying logic.
A growing and maturing teenager will provide telltale clues that he’s gaining emotional maturity as you interact with him and watch him interact with others. A mature teen will display self-control when he feels frustrated or angry, according to the Heartland Family Service website, a non-profit counseling agency. A maturing teen will also show respect and unselfishness toward others.
Making and keeping long-term goals is a sign of a maturing teenager, according to Dr. Tim Elmore, writing for Psychology Today. Goal setting involves delayed gratification and keeping commitments, both strong indications of a maturing adolescent. Goal setting also requires patience and perseverance to continue working toward a goal, even in the face of challenges and obstacles. When disappointments and setbacks occur, a maturing adolescent will be able to pick up the pieces and keep trying.
When you see your teen making decisions based on values and character and not simply on feelings and whims, you have strong indications of maturity. Asking questions and getting input from others before making a decision is also indicative of maturity in a teenager. If your teenager seeks your advice or input, provide guidance that will help your teen reach mature and positive decisions, while resisting the urge to make decisions for her or tell her what to do.