Young adolescents are in search of self-identity. The peer group becomes increasingly important to that search and adolescents feel an intense need to belong. Peer pressure and gender differences increase. Adolescents experience a strong desire to experiment with new behaviours in their attempt to understand who they are.
As children approach and enter adolescence, school and community influences begin to compete with the home environment as key factors in their lives. Broader community influences, such as the mass media, become increasingly important influences on their attitudes and behaviours. Each setting where young people live, learn, work, play and worship provides opportunities for youth to strengthen both their identities and their social, emotional and intellectual competencies.
While this section focuses on the transition to adolescence, many of the conditions that affect this transition come into play in the earlier school years. Thus, this section includes some information about initiatives and conditions in the earlier years that are known to positively or negatively affect the transition to adolescence.
Young people who make a healthy transition to adolescence exhibit the following characteristics:
To achieve these outcomes, children and adolescents need to learn the required knowledge and skills. More importantly, they need supportive environments at home, in school and in the community that provide clearly defined boundaries, and the support of people who love them.
Positive outcomes for this transition