Some of the most common elements of adolescence behavior include mood swings, stress, and anger. Much of the behavior can be contributed to rapidly changing hormones. Many adolescents experience periods of extremely low self-confidence, which can also result in troubling behavior.
Adolescence behavior is most commonly associated with bouts of anger than can be inexplicable, and parents often say that it is as if their child has suddenly come to despise them. Though this is seldom true, it can be a very difficult time for families, and the more the parents understand adolescence behavior, the more likely it will be that the family unit survives these troubling years. Most of the anger that the child is exhibiting is as alien to him or her as it is to others. Teen anger is often driven by surging hormones, and if everyone involved understands this, it is much easier to deal with.
Mood swings in adolescents are also usually driven by hormonal changes. In the space of a day, an adolescent can go through several different moods for no apparent reason. Occurrences that previously might have only caused only mild disappointment can, during adolescence, put the teen into a period of real depression. Parents and teachers should be particularly observant during this period, for severe depression can be life-threatening.
Low self-image is not a problem for all teens, but it has come to be viewed as a typical trigger for many types of adolescence behavior. Young people tend to magnify all of their shortcomings, especially when it comes to physical beauty, and though female adolescents are typically more comfortable talking about these issues, self-image problems are also common in males. A teen who has become fixated on self-image often spends an excessive amount of time on makeup and grooming. To a certain degree, this behavior is harmless, but parents should be watchful that it does not escalate into dangerous behaviors such as self-mutilation or extreme dieting and exercise.
Most experts agree that to adolescents, everything in their lives is suddenly “larger than life.” This puts the teen under an extreme amount of stress. Small problems can suddenly seem insurmountable, and the stress that results from this can put the teen at a real disadvantage in relationships both at home and school. Dealing with this inner stress can make a teen seem unusually self-involved, because to him, his problems seem not only huge, but in many cases, unsolvable. Teens exhibiting symptoms of high levels of stress may require medical intervention.