Young people undergo many different changes as they go through adolescence and increasingly take on adult roles and responsibilities.
These changes include physical changes, as well as changes to their thought processes and emotions (cognitive and emotional changes), sense of identity and values (psychological changes), relationships (social changes), and realistic aspirations for the future.
All young people are unique and therefore the degree, rate and pace of specific physical, emotional and social changes varies with each young person.
It is a very confusing time for a young person trying to make sense out of all of these changes as they start to negotiate: independence from parents and other adults, development of a realistic stable positive self-identity, formation of sexual identity, negotiation of peer and intimate relationships, development of realistic body image, formulation of their own moral/value system, acquisition of skills for future economic independence.
It can also be a difficult time for friends, family members, parents and carers on how to best help a young person navigate this journey.
It’s important that the young person with the help of family and friends put in practical supports to help themselves through this stressful time: eat well; get enough sleep; talk to people about how you feel; exercise; avoid using alcohol and other drugs; find time for enjoyable activities in your day; get help if things aren’t improving; and remember you are not alone.
These are some early signs that may suggest you need some support:
Changing moods – feeling sadder, more anxious or more irritable
Changing behaviours – less talkative, becoming withdrawn or being more aggressive
Changing relationships – falling out with friends, or your partner, or conflict with family
Changing appetite – eating too much or too little, or losing or gaining weight without trying
Changing sleeping patterns – not enough sleep, too much sleep
Changes in coping – feeling overwhelmed or tired of life
Changes in thinking – more negative thoughts, or thoughts of self harm or suicide.
There are people who can help and support you (young people, family members, carers and friends) if you want to talk through any questions or concerns.
- headspace - 02 4824 4944 www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/goulburn/
- Parents line – 1300 1300 52 www.parentline.org.au
- Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au
- Mental Health Line 1800 011 511