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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Unraveling the Mysteries of Teen Development: What's Normal and What's Not

Updated: Apr 11

Navigating the tumultuous waters of adolescence can be a challenging experience for both teens and their parents. As teenagers undergo significant physical, emotional, and cognitive changes, it's natural for parents to wonder what is considered normal and when they should seek professional help. At Elevation Behavioral Therapy, we understand the importance of addressing these concerns.

In this blog post, we will explore the intricacies of teen development, shed light on what is considered normal, and provide guidance on when seeking therapy may be beneficial.

1. Physical Development:

During adolescence, teenagers experience rapid physical changes as they transition from childhood to adulthood. It's crucial for parents to understand that each teen's growth pattern is unique, and variations are normal. However, certain red flags may indicate the need for professional intervention. These include extreme weight loss or gain, delayed puberty, severe acne, or persistent physical pain. If you notice any of these signs, it's advisable to consult a therapist or medical professional.

2. Emotional and Behavioral Changes:

Teenagers often experience intense emotions and exhibit behavioral changes as they grapple with newfound independence and identity formation. While mood swings, irritability, and occasional rebelliousness are common, persistent and extreme emotional disturbances may indicate underlying issues. If your teen displays signs of prolonged sadness, withdrawal from activities, sudden changes in sleep patterns, or engaging in risky behaviors, it may be time to seek professional help.

3. Social Development:

As teens strive to establish their social identities, they may encounter challenges in navigating friendships, peer pressure, and romantic relationships. While it's normal for friendships to evolve and for teens to experiment with different social groups, persistent social isolation, bullying, or difficulty forming and maintaining relationships may warrant therapeutic support. Our therapy practice offers a safe space for teens to explore their social dynamics and develop healthy relationship skills.

4. Academic Performance:

Academic pressures can significantly impact a teenager's mental well-being. While it's common for teens to experience occasional academic setbacks, consistent struggles, declining grades, or a sudden disinterest in previously enjoyed activities may indicate underlying issues such as anxiety, depression, or learning disabilities. Our team of therapists can help identify and address these challenges, providing the necessary support to improve academic performance and overall well-being.

5. Substance Abuse and Risky Behaviors:

Experimentation with substances and engaging in risky behaviors are unfortunately prevalent among some teenagers. While occasional experimentation may be considered a part of adolescent development, persistent substance abuse or engaging in dangerous activities can have severe consequences. If you suspect your teen is struggling with substance abuse or engaging in risky behaviors, seeking professional help is crucial to prevent long-term harm.

Understanding what is and isn't normal during your teen's development can be a complex task. At Elevation Behavioral Therapy, we aim to provide guidance and support to both teens and their families during this transformative period. By recognizing the signs that may indicate the need for therapy, parents can ensure their teen receives the necessary help to navigate the challenges of adolescence successfully.

If you have any questions or concerns about your teen's development and want to try teen therapy, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at or call or text us at (720) 295-6566. You can also book a free initial phone consultation or schedule a first appointment directly through our website.

Let us help your teen thrive through our in person sessions in Denver, Colorado and teletherapy sessions throughout Colorado.

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