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Here are some facts about teens that every parent, counselor, or educator needs to know about:

Fact #1: Personality traits change more during young adulthood than at any other period of life. (Roberts, Walton & Veichtbaner, 2006)

Fact #2: The more talents and interests a teen has, the better: Teens who identify specific talents and interests are more likely to be adaptable and flexible; to want to master new skills; to take advantage of opportunities to nurture their strengths and interests; to place a value on improving academic skills, and to
express a desire to contribute to society. The more interests they identify, the stronger these scores. (Benson et al., 2009)

Fact # 3: If it’s any consolation, B.J. Casey, a teen brain researcher who directs the Suckler Institute at Weill Medical College of Cornell, notes that adolescent primates, rodents and birds also fight more with their parents and hang out with friends during this stage of their life. (Shute, 02/2009)

Fact #4: That said, adolescent-parent train wrecks are not necessarily a predetermined outcome of the teenage years. In fact, teen-age turmoil is completely absent in more than 100 cultures around the world.  (Epstein, 2007) This suggests that most of the difficulties parents encounter are culturally based and rooted in confrontational child rearing practices. The more parents can do to avoid the practices that lead to conflict; the smoother a child’s transition to adulthood will go.

Fact # 5: A study of more than 37,000 teens found that connection with adults is the best defense against the different pitfalls that ensnare them. (Resnick, Harris & Blum, 1993)

Fact # 6: Some good news you probably didn’t know: merely interacting with teens and youth can be a source of vigor for older people, improving cognitive abilities and vascular health while increasing life span. (Westly, 2008)

Fact #7: Rates of major depressive disorder rise significantly during the period of adolescence. (Kessler, 2000) Girls are hit especially hard. By about age 13, depression becomes twice as common in girls as it is among boys. (Cloud, 2009)

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