Study adolescent psychology by distance learning - understand teenager and adolescent behaviour.

The period of adolescence involves a lot of changes and development. It can be difficult understanding the many changes that occur within teenagers.

  • Adolescent Psychology considers all the many changes that occur during the period of adolescence. There are many changes in relation to sexuality, bodily changes, emotional changes, including depression, and self-esteem.
  • The course looks at how teenagers may become involved in crime and how they develop morally during the adolescent period.
  • Students will have the opportunity to consider these changes in depth.
  • This is a useful course for anyone involved with teenagers in a professional or voluntary capacity and for parents.

Learn more about how the adolescent mind grows and develops.

  • Learn to understand adolescent behaviour.
  • Help adolescents through difficult periods of development and adjustment.
  • Study adolescent psychology as professional development or for career improvement.
  • Be more effective working with young people, in welfare, youth work, as a teacher or as a parent.

Course Structure and Lesson Content

Adolescent Psychology is a 100 hour course which is available for you to start at any time. The course consists of 10 lessons:

Lesson 1. Introduction
  • Theories of Human Development
  • What is adolescence?
  • Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development
  • The stages of Piaget’s theories
  • Moral development
  • Erikson’s psychosocial development theory, stages
Lesson 2. Life Crises
  • Life crisis
  • Problems
  • Puberty
  • Attachment theory
  • Internalised and externalized problems
  • Types of problems experienced by adolescents
Lesson 3. Physical Development
  • Puberty in females
  • Puberty in males
  • Hormones
  • Physical activity
  • Obesity
Lesson 4. Intellectual Development
  • Piaget’s formal operations stage
  • School problems
  • Lesson 5. Emotional Development
  • Freud’s theories
  • Emotional problems
  • Teenagers and grief
  • Eating problems
  • Depression
  • Emotional problems
  • Typical childhood responses to grief
  • Supporting a grieving child
Lesson 6. Sexuality
  • Acquisition of gender identity and social role identity
  • Vicarious learning and sexual identity
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Curiosity
  • Sex
  • Sexual behaviour
  • Masturbation
  • Sexuality and nudity
  • Answering questions
Lesson 7. Social Development
  • Family influence
  • Types of parenting
  • Denigration of parents
Lesson 8. Moral Development
  • Piaget’s theory of moral development
  • Kohlberg’s theory of moral reasoning
Lesson 9. Delinquency and Crime
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Pathways to delinquency
  • Gangs
  • Crimes more likely in adolescence
  • Behaviour problems
  • Drugs, solvents and alcohol
  • Child abuse
  • Triggers of abuse
  • Stranger abuse
  • How to deal with deviance
Lesson 10. Adolescents and the Transition to Adulthood
  • Erikson’s later stages
  • The transition to adulthood

Course Aims

  • Develop an understanding of the theories of child development in relation to adolescents.
  • Develop an understanding of life crises in relation to adolescents.
  • Develop an understanding of the physical changes that occur in puberty.
  • Develop an understanding of the intellectual changes that occur in adolescence.
  • Develop an understanding of the emotional development that occurs during adolescence.
  • Develop an understanding of sexuality during adolescence
  • Develop an understanding of the social development that occurs in adolescence.
  • Develop an understanding of the theories of moral development in relation to teenagers.
  • Consider the links between adolescence and delinquent activity such as crime.
  • Develop an understanding of the changes that occur moving from adolescence to adulthood.

Tips for Understanding Puberty

Many psychological changes accompany puberty:

  • Parents and friends begin treating you differently.
  • Growing consciousness about body image.
  • Changes in hormone concentrations contribute to and increase in variable and negative emotions.
  • Girls are commonly upset (even if only slightly) by their first period.
  • Risk taking behaviours can increase (altered perception of own invincibility).
  • Individuals who confront puberty earlier or later than their peers may perceive themselves differently.
  • Interest in opposite sex.
Adolescents may internalise, or externalise problems:
  • Internalised Problems  are disorders where the adolescent keeps the problem inside themselves (e.g. Depression, anger or other negative emotions).
  • Externalised Problems are disorders that are focused outward such as vandalism or crime.

Types of Problems

  • Substance Abuse (Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, pain killers).
  • Juvenile Delinquency.
  • Depression.
  • Suicide.
  • Sexual Problems.
  • School Related Problems.

Some specific examples of problems include:

  • Phoney behaviour – superficially charming.
  • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Lack of reciprocal affection.
  • Indiscriminate affection with strangers.
  • Self-destructive.
  • Destructive to others, objects.
  • Animal cruelty.
  • Poor relationships with peers.
  • Preoccupied with fire and/or gore.
  • Asking nonsense questions.
  • Little control over chattering.
  • Inappropriate clinginess.
  • Inappropriate sexuality.
  • Lying in the face of the obvious.
  • Poor impulse control.
  • Learning delays.
  • Lack of conscience.
  • Lack of understanding of cause and effect.
  • Abnormal eating patterns.
  • Fear of intimacy.
  • Lack of trust.
  • Distorted view of self.
  • Feelings of shame.
  • Feelings of being unlovable.
  • Sense that they are bad.
  • Difficulty asking for help.
  • Low motivation.
  • Poor academic performance.
  • Difficulty relying on others. 
Family Influences

As teenagers grow and develop, they may be more influenced by their peers than adults, including their parents.

Different parents can use different child rearing practices, and the influence of siblings on each other can also vary greatly. A lot of American research has focused on the influences of different types of parent child rearing attitudes. Put simply, attitudes have been seen to range from restrictive to permissive.

A restrictive parent lays down many rules for a child, is generally intolerant and over protective, although they do not necessarily use punitive methods in disciplining children, for often their strictness alone is successful in keeping their children in check. Usually they try to encourage mature behaviour in their children.

A permissive parent tends to be lax and unconcerned with the child's behaviour, seldom intervening in the child' behaviour, and seldom using any disciplinary procedures. Such parents usually make no effort to provide rules and regulations for the child to conform to. They tend to sit by and expect the children to resolve their own problems. They do not make many demands and do not expect mature behaviour.

Another dimension that describes different parental attitudes is that of acceptance and rejection. This is self explanatory. Rejecting parents tend to frequently criticise their children without providing reasons for their dissatisfaction. They seldom give physical affection or cues of approval.

Accepting parents tend to provide a lot of positive affirmations, often openly show signs of being proud of their children, and tend to use a reasoning approach when communicating with them.

Restrictive, rejecting parents are often referred to by psychologists as authoritarian. While parents who have been described as accepting without being permissive - that is, parents who use reasoning, give positive reinforcement, but still provide a measure of control - are referred to as authoritative.

American researchers investigated the parental attitudes of children they observed in pre-school. They noticed three distinctive types of children which they described as follows:

  1. Instrumentally competent children (i.e. children who showed a marked degree of independence, self reliance, maturity, achievement orientation, and pro-social behaviour).
  2. Children who were fairly self-reliant, but who were withdrawn, shy and mistrustful.
  3. Children who lacked self-control (i.e. self-reliance and independence).

What are your aims?

  • Would you like to understand the adolescent mind?
  • Would you like to work with adolescents?
  • Would you like to improve your existing career with adolescents?
  • Carers, Youth Workers, Teachers, Social Workers, Parents, Coaches and more can gain great benefit from studying this course.

Why not enrol today - this course is available for you to start at any time.

Simply click on the ENROL NOW icon at the top of this page!

If you have any questions before you enrol, get in touch with our Psychology and Counselling tutors - they will be happy to help you.

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