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Cognitive Development In Teens 2023


When a child is born, they do not give so much thought to what they do, and why they do it. But as they get older, they begin to question everything, as a result of a term called “cognitive development in teens”.

For so many parents and individuals, the teenage phase of a child can turn out to be a nightmare. And if this phase is not treated with care, then you would have an adult with teenage issues.

Nevertheless, you can do all these when you fully grasp the details in this article. In this article, you would get great insight into cognitive development in teens, the various phases, and how to handle it properly.

Before that, you should take a look at what it really means to be a teen.

What Does It Mean To Be A Teen

Before looking at the cognitive development in teens, it would be in your best interest to get good details on what it means to be a teen.

Most persons, they think being a teen is a stage where a child gets into the age range of 18 and early 20s. But it is more than that. And that is why you really need to learn cognitive development in teens.

A teen can simply be seen as a child that is undergoing the process of biological and physiological changes. The biological changes include the changes that you can see. For example, increased height, chest and breast development, etc.

While for physiological change, entails a change in character, increased demand for why action should or should not occur, creation of thoughts and ideas that they have in mind, etc. And this physiological change should be given priority, and that is why you need to study cognitive development in teens.

What Is Cognitive Development In Teens

Without trying to confuse you, cognitive development simply means the ability of teens to think and reason in a particular way. Now, thinking can either result in a positive or negative outcome, and for the good of all, it has to be a positive outcome right?

For children, thinking is only concrete, that is just combining, separating, transforming, and ordering their actions or objects without including abstract thinking. For example, they only know that something is either good or bad for them. They do not bother asking why.

But as they mature into their teenage age, you would begin to see them question why something is good or bad, why they think your idea of bad is wrong, and so many intriguing questions. Well, you are about to find out how to handle such situations.

Expected Cognitive Development In Teens


As established, the teenage phase marks the period where your child begins to question anything and everything. And in this section, you would see some possible ways that their thought process would be structured around.

Early teenage stage (11-14)

Cognitive development in teens begins at this stage. This stage is marked by complex thinking that resolves around the home and school environments. It includes:

Questioning of societal standards and authority

Prior to this age, children are not able to question authority and the standards set by society. But at this stage, they become bolder to ask questions like

  •  What parental rules seem non-realistic
  •  What would I do wrong for my teacher to be able to scold me?
  •  What right makes an individual a good person in society?

Formation and verbalization of their view on various topics

Provide you want to learn the cognitive development in teens, you should also understand that unlike when they were children, they would be able to form and give their own views on various topics. You could hear something like?

  •   Football is not a sport I love. I only loved it because my parents love it.
  • What makes me classify someone as desirable or attractive is their goal in life, not their beauty. And many more.

Middle adolescence (14-18)

The cognitive development in teens during the middle adolescent age would be around various philosophies and their future.

They would begin to ask questions extensively, such as

  •  What do I think is right? Is it right because it is right or because people say it is right?
  • What do I want for myself?
  •  What kind of friends do I keep, in order to have a better future?
  •  What type of future do I want? And what measures do I take to get it?

Late adolescence (18-24)

In this stage of cognitive development in teens, your child begins to focus on how to contribute to making the world a better place. Some possible question he would begin to ask includes:

  •   What part of history, politics, and justice can I contribute to, or make better?
  •   What role do I play at home as an adult?
  •   What ideas can I incorporate into an organization to make it better?

All the above are some of the cognitive development in teens that you would come across at different stages in their life. With these, you can prepare yourself to be a guide when the need arises.

How To Adapt As A Parent To Cognitive Development In Teens


It is enough to know the various cognitive development in teens. But you also have to know how you can adapt and make your teen shine better and brighter at this stage. And they include:

Guide not lecture

When most parents discover cognitive development in teens, they think the best thing to do would be to lecture the teen. Well, as much as this has a good intent with it, it end’s up doing the opposite.

When you discover cognitive development in teens, the best thing to do is to allow solve most of the problems associated with it themselves. This way, they get to learn and grow better even in your absence.

Allow them to make some decisions at home

Right from when your child could talk, you always gave them what to do. But what about letting them contribute to what to do?

Most adults who were trained to make decisions end up performing better than their peers. Although, the decisions don’t have to be the major one’s at first.

For example, you could allow them to make plans for groceries, based on the family budget. You could also allow them to plan the family meal once a week, etc.

All these would shape them up, and help them understand that their contributions are also valid.

Give them room to take risks

Life is filled with risks and rewards. The only thing one should note is that the reward should always outweigh the risks.

As cognitive development in teens kick off, there would be this adrenaline rush in your teen. And as much as you would want them to play safe, you may not always be their when they do so. Hence, you should encourage them to discuss any risk they intend to take so that you both can weigh it out.

Various risks that your teen may want to take include asking someone out to prom, taking the lead in the game or music team in school, being the leader of an organization, etc.

Be open to hearing their candid opinion

While your child was growing up, it was okay for them to always agree to whatever you say without airing their own opinion respectfully.

But as cognitive development in teens kicks off in them, you would definitely get a lot of no’s and why. And this is not because they intend to disrespect, but it is because they are becoming mature to decipher what may be right, or wrong for them.

Hence, when you receive a no or a why, do not get angry at them. All you need do is to find out why their choice of answer, and you may be amazed that it makes sense.

Final Thoughts On Cognitive Development In Teens

As promised, this article has talked extensively about cognitive development in teens and every other thing you need to know as a parent or a guardian.

Furthermore, you can also help your teen by giving them good meals, and teaching them to stay hydrated and sleep well.

With all these, you would definitely have a teen who would do better in future. In addition, your teen can only enjoy the world when other teens do better too. Hence, you should share this article with other parents or guardians that have teens in various age ranges.

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