Teen Life

A teen's life is a roller coaster of ups and downs. Your teenager may start dating and driving. They'll look at colleges and maybe even get their first job. But many teens also have to deal with peer pressure, overloaded schedules, and, of course, puberty—when their bodies and moods seem to change by the minute.

The trick is to encourage teenagers to develop autonomy while also lending support when it's needed most. By learning about all the challenges facing today's teens, you'll be better equipped to help them organize their busy lives and set goals for themselves. With a little extra empathy and communication, you can build new bonds with your teen and set them up for success as students, friends, and young adults.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the hardest age for a teenager?

    It's different for every teen. The 'tween' and early teen years may be hard as they deal with hormonal shifts, body changes, and acne. Boys start puberty between ages 10 and 16 and girls begin puberty between ages 8 and 13. Ages 16, 17, and 18 may prove challenging as academic demands pile up in preparation for college.

  • What is important in a teenager's life?

    Friendships are important to many teens, as they are biologically wired to venture beyond the nest for human connection. However, they still value support and validation from trusted grown-ups. Research shows teens' stress levels dip more dramatically in the presence of parents than with friends.

  • What’s the best part of being a teenager?

    The teen years are a great time to try new things. Teens have more independence than children but most aren't burdened yet by financial or familial obligations. This frees them up to explore a wide variety of hobbies or potential career paths. You can help teens find their calling by signing them up for interesting extracurricular activities or summer programs.

  • What are some of the common struggles of teenagers?

    Today's busy teens have a lot on their plates. Some struggle with balancing technology and schoolwork or dealing with pressure to succeed from parents or coaches. Others grapple with loneliness, which can be tied to excessive screen use. It's important to keep tabs on your teen's mental health by checking in with them often and seeking professional help if needed.

  • What are typical behaviors for a teenager?

    Though maddening to parents, mood swings are typical in teens, as new hormones circulate to prepare their bodies and brains for adulthood. Risk-taking behavior is also common, tending to rise dramatically in early adolescence and peaking in the late teen years. Enforcing consequences for actions that put your teen or others at risk can help keep negative behaviors in check.

  • Why is teenage life difficult?

    Some 70% of teens say they are stressed. While your teen might be enjoying new freedoms like dating and driving, they may also be coping with fluctuating hormones, increasing academic demands, and social drama. Plus, though they are often exciting, major life transitions like entering high school, heading to college, and working at a first job can be daunting, too.

Key Terms

Page Sources
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  5. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Promoting positive adolescent health behaviors and outcomes: Thriving in the 21st century.

  6. Pew Research Center. Most U.S. teens see anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers.

  7. Pew Research Center. Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level.

  8. Pew Research Center. A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression.

  9. U.S. Red Cross. Make a first aid kit.