Typical Teenage Behaviors and Attitudes

There's a drastic change between how teens behave at 13 years old compared to 18 years old. Yet it happens so gradually that you might not even recognize your teen transforming into an adult right in front of your eyes.

It's important to know what to expect from your teen during each year of adolescence. While all teens grow and develop at different rates, it's important to know what your teen may be experiencing along the path toward adulthood.



13-year-old girl smiling

Cultura / Frank and Helena / Getty Images

Thirteen-year-old teens are finishing up one phase of life, leaving childhood behind, and entering another one, becoming a teen. So expect to see your teen seeking more independence as they try to become more grown-up at a rate faster than they can handle. They may rebel against bedtime rules and you'll need to let them make their own food choices. They may have a lot of stress and need relaxing activities.



Fourteen often marks the beginning of high school. And for many teens, that is an exciting yet frightening time. It's important to give your 14-year-old plenty of guidance to prevent them from straying down the wrong path.

There will be many choices ​for after-school activities to challenge their mind and body. With new school routines, you'll have to help your teen develop good meal habits and maintain good sleep habits.



Your 15-year-old teen will want to make their own decisions. And often, there are many decisions to be made at this age. Everything from dating to chores often becomes an issue during this phase of adolescence.

Fifteen is a time when some teens really start to flourish. And for those who lag behind, their immaturity becomes especially apparent. It's important to base your rules and consequences on how much responsibility your 15-year-old shows they can handle.



By now, you only have two more years until your child legally becomes an adult. It's a prime opportunity to examine the skill deficits your teen may have so you can ensure they are prepared for the real world.

Many 16-year-old teens land their first jobs, get their driver's licenses, and start experimenting more with bigger responsibilities. It's a great time to let your teen fail once in a while, just to show them that they can bounce back. But provide plenty of guidance as they accept new responsibilities.



By age 17, your role should be more of a guide, rather than a disciplinarian. Your teen may still need consequences at times, however, and it's important to use this year to really make sure that your teen's mistakes become learning opportunities before they enter into the real world.

If your 17-year-old has always been in organized sports, it's a good time for them to think about what they'll do for recreation once they graduate from school sports.



Eighteen-year-old teens are starting a very exciting time in their lives, a time of more freedom and much more responsibility. If your teen is still in high school, it's important to continue monitoring their activities.

Remind them that as long as they live in your house, they need to follow your rules, even if they are 18. But hopefully, by this age, you can rest a little easier knowing that you've done all you can to equip your teen for life after high school. 

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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.