Adolescence can be a tumultuous part of life, as adolescents experience a wide range of physical, psychological, and social changes. The main issues in adolescence include social pressure, sexual awareness, and growing personal independence. Adolescents also undergo many changes as their bodies grow and mature, which can sometimes be uncomfortable and difficult to deal with. These and other issues in adolescence can be difficult to both adolescents and their parents, so it is important for both to be aware of them and to work through them together.
Psychological changes can be among the most difficult issues in adolescence as they radically affect the way in which the adolescent handles the world. Adolescents start to develop abstract reasoning abilities absent in younger children. This can lead to new and challenging personal and moral decisions that the adolescent may not have faced before or may have once handled very differently. Adolescents are also very dependent on their peer groups for psychological support as they have often not yet developed well-defined personal identities. Rejection by peers or having few friends can lead to depression or anxiety, especially if the adolescent also lacks parental support.
Social issues in adolescence are of great importance as adolescents strive to develop their personal and social identities. Peer groups often provide strong emotional support and can have a positive effect on adolescent development. On the other hand, social issues in adolescence exist in the form of negative peer pressure and excessive need to be accepted. Adolescents may find themselves inclined to start smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or abusing drugs simply to fit in with their peers.
Interactions with parents usually change substantially during adolescence. Adolescents want greater independence and parents want to protect them from situations they probably can't yet handle. This is often difficult for parents, who realize that their children may be ready for increased independence but know that adolescents usually lack the experience necessary to make good decisions. Fights with parents, then, are quite common and can be significant issues in adolescence.
Young adults are given greater legal freedom and responsibility as they progress through adolescence. A range of new issues in adolescence appear when this occurs. In many countries, young adults are able to start driving midway through adolescence, which can be quite risky if proper judgment is not used. Young adults can also be tried as adults in legal courts past a certain age. Decisions to drink alcohol underage or to abuse drugs, then, can have significant legal consequences.