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A young adolescent girl is playing with soap suds in the kitchen sink with her family.
A young adolescent girl is sleeping is in bed with an alarm clock set on the bedside table showing 7:05 in the morning. The young girl is having a hard time waking up.
A young adolescent girl and her parents are in disagreement over an issue.

Changes in Adolescence

Behavioural Changes

Adolescent behaviour is affected by hormonal changes. These changes are normal in young adolescents and bring them closer to becoming the healthy, independent adults they have the potential to become.

Behaviour during the Middle Years varies from child to child and from day to day. It may sometimes leave parents wondering or asking their child, “Why are you acting like this?”

Young adolescents may have no ready explanations for why they sometimes:

  • sigh and roll their eyes when asked to do something
  • argue with parents and push them to their limits
  • challenge authority
  • want to sleep in and stay in bed in the morning
  • push to stay up later at night
  • change eating patterns or food choices
  • become more aggressive or assertive
  • engage in risk-taking and impulsive behaviour
  • experiment with alcohol, drugs and sexual activity

Parents can lovingly and respectfully guide and, if needed, correct their young adolescent children’s behaviour. Choosing the right moment to do so can greatly help children think about and apply their parents’ advice. The Parenting Tips section of this resource suggests ways parents can support and guide their children.