What are personality changes in adolescence?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Adolescence is a time when a child's unique identity emerges. Until adolescence, a child basically fulfills the will of his parents. However, as an adolescent naturally separates from his parents, he develops his own distinct personality. Besides maturing physically and emotionally, adolescents grow intellectually, while they develop moral understanding and an ability to plan toward the future. While this independence can cause stress and conflict at home, parents should not feel rejected by the change in their child's personality; on the contrary, they should guide their adolescent to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Personality is based on temperament, character and environment. Temperament is controlled by a person's inborn genetic composition; character is determined by how a person thinks, feels, and behaves; and environment is the total sum of a person's life experiences. Parents can play a crucial role in developing their children's personality and behavior by anticipating issues that might be problematic and avoiding difficult situations altogether. They can steer a child toward his strengths, increasing his positive experiences.


As teenagers get older they become more sure of themselves and are willing to experiment with different roles until they find one that fits. Their personality changes according to the situation or group of friends. An adolescent's identity is a combination of religious beliefs, occupational goals, personal moral standards and sexual identity. Teens are often idealistic and willing to actively pursue an issue that's important to them. As adolescents look toward the future, they broaden their view of the world. Suddenly they are worried about global problems, the needy and life beyond college. As they emerge as a separate entity from their parents, they understand their parents' limitations and become more critical of themselves and their friends.