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Milestones of Middle Adolescence

Milestones of Middle Adolescence (Ages 15-17)

Middle adolescence
Clearview Girls Academy offers your girl professional therapy and 24/7 care for girls 12-18 who struggle with complex emotional or behavioral issues due to trauma or a major loss in their life. Clearview is the premier therapeutic center and boarding school for girls in crisis and provides a powerful combination of individualized and family therapy.

Please read the article below to learn more about middle-teen development, emotional and behavioral issues, and disorders that your daughter may need therapeutic help with now.


About Middle Adolescence Development

Teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 are in the adolescent stage, where they’re beginning to leave childhood behind and prepare for young adulthood. While adolescence continues into the early 20s as their brains develop, teens in middle adolescence are starting to transition into young adults. Because they are bridging childhood and emerging adulthood, this can be one of the hardest teenage developmental stages. 

Many changes happen to young people during this time. Most teenagers are reaching the developmental stages of adolescence during high school, as they begin to explore intimate relationships and spend less time at home with their families.

Middle adolescence can be a very difficult time for teens. Some challenges teens face during this developmental period are peer pressure, physical development, and the desire to fit in but also differentiate themselves as their person. Parents of teenagers can help by promoting healthy choices, good decisions, and social and emotional growth. Parents also need to pay attention to warning signs of mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harming behaviors, and eating disorders.


What Is the Developmental Stage of a 15-Year-Old?

Middle adolescence begins at 15 when kids continue to develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally. During mid-adolescence (between 12 and 14), teens go through puberty, explore new relationships, and test boundaries. By age 15, kids are considered teenagers in the middle adolescent stage of development. 

At this age, teens typically are new to high school and learning a new way of socializing. Romantic relationships develop around this age, which can be difficult for parents and teens to navigate. Sexual activity is new and exciting, but you must talk with your teen about sex if you haven’t already.

Peer pressure, while always challenging for young people, becomes more heightened during this teenage developmental stage. While 13- and 14-year-olds are still young teenagers, they watch and learn from older kids as they turn 15 and enter high school. Generally, 15-year-olds want to be seen as more grown-up and less childlike. Popularity becomes a big deal; they want to fit in with the “cool kids.” Therefore, parents of 15-year-olds should watch out for dangerous behaviors, such as experimenting with alcohol or drugs and getting into sexually intimate relationships.

Middle adolescence


Teenage Developmental Stages for Middle Adolescents

Teenage developmental milestones generally shift every two to three years because teenagers are developing so quickly. Adolescent development can be divided into three different stages. Middle adolescence, as the name suggests, is the teenage developmental stage in the middle, which can make it one of the most turbulent.

Teenagers ages 15 to 17 are no longer considered children but are not yet in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, they take on more responsibilities, such as learning to drive, getting a job, and enjoying more freedom to socialize and spend time with friends. Many factors can challenge teens at this age as they explore their identities, their relationships with themselves and others, their bodies, and mental health challenges that may arise.

Several teenage developmental milestones need to be met during this development stage. These include physical, social, cognitive, and behavioral milestones.


Cognitive Developmental Milestones for Teens Ages 15 to 17

While preteens and younger teenagers think in concrete ways, 15——to 17-year-olds develop more logical operations, which means they are actively problem-solving. Their view of the world is changing, and they think about their emotions with more complexity.

Middle teenagers’ cognition is starting to develop into a more mature level of functioning. They can perceive and interpret situations, thoughts, emotions, and ideas with more maturity. Teens ages 15 to 17 can apply logic and reason to situations more nuancedly. They can have more in-depth conversations and think more philosophically than before. Teens who can reach this level of cognition at this teenage developmental stage are meeting their developmental milestones. 

This change in cognition can also mean that teenagers argue more with their parents. Because they start to apply logical thinking to situations, they might become stubborn in their thought processes and believe that what they think is correct and that their parents must be wrong. It’s up to parents of teenagers in middle adolescence to help their teens learn how to have a conversation that doesn’t escalate into fights and yelling.

Middle adolescence 

Behavioral Developmental Milestones in Mid-Adolescence

Aside from increased arguments, teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 begin to act out and rebel against their parents. They may start pushing boundaries, such as staying out past curfew, sneaking out to meet with friends, and engaging in risky behaviors such as experimenting with drugs, alcohol, smoking, and sex.

 Teens at this developmental stage rationalize their behaviors and choices. For example, if a teenager lives in a state where marijuana is legal, they may think, “If it’s legal, it can’t be bad for me, so what’s the big deal if I smoke weed?” At this level of cognitive development, teens think more deeply about things, but they aren’t necessarily able to make the healthiest decisions.

Moreover, middle adolescents want to fit in with their peers. This could lead to reckless behaviors such as skipping class, using drugs or alcohol at parties, “borrowing” a parent’s car, and driving either without a license or under the influence. While not all teenage behavior at this stage is negative, parents must watch for risky behaviors and encourage their teens to engage in healthy activities with friends and family.


Signs of Mental Health Issues in Middle Adolescents

Teenagers are known for being moody. But sometimes, that moodiness is masking something more serious. Many teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 experience worsening social anxiety, depression, and isolation. Serious mental illnesses such as eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and suicidal thoughts can occur.

Parents of teenagers this age should be on the lookout for certain shifts in behavior that could indicate a serious mental health issue rather than just teenage angst. Parents must advocate for their teenagers and ensure they get additional support if needed. Therapy can help teenagers explore and process the challenges they’re facing. If your child is struggling with their mental health, be sure to normalize their experience. Let them know that there is nothing “wrong” with them, that they’ve done nothing wrong, and that hope and help are available. 

In general, 15-year-olds, while on the young side of the spectrum of middle adolescence, are starting to become more complex as they enter middle adolescence and experience high school, evolving friendships, and romantic relationships.

Puberty is still in process for most teens between the ages of 15 and 17. This can cause self-consciousness, result in teasing from peers, and create dissonance and distress. 

Cognitive development in middle adolescence shows that teenagers can problem-solve and think about emotions and situations more complexly than in previous developmental stages.

Behavioral development in middle adolescence includes an increase in the desire for independence, which can result in more arguments with parents and risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, doing drugs, and having sex.

Moodiness in teenagers can be a mask for underlying mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Parents of teenagers this age should provide nonjudgmental, open communication with their kids to prevent serious consequences of mental health challenges.

Middle adolescence


We Want to Help Your Daughter

Since 1996, young girls have come to Clearview Girls Academy to flourish, think positively about themselves, improve their relationships, and move on to a better future. 

Girl students at Clearview live together in our beautiful lodge and meet regularly with their therapists, who help them confront fears and gain confidence in a safe, nurturing, and structured environment in the foothills and mountains of northwestern Montana.

We enroll girls year-round. Please call us for more information on how we can help your daughter improve her future at Clearview Girls Academy–


Inquire online now and ask us about insurance.

residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls

residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls

We can also help you in your search for other behavioral health treatment centers, residential treatment centers, boys ranches, teen ranches, or best therapeutic schools. Clearview Residential Therapy and School is a Christian therapeutic boarding school for troubled teenage girls offering teen counseling for girls with adoption issues (attachment issues), self-harm (self-mutilation) or cutting, or eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, anorexia nervosa). Other behavioral issues and disorders we deal with include: defiance, depression, post traumatic stress, abuse, and general anxiety. If you have an out of control girl, please think about Clearview Residential Therapy and School offers teen counseling and teen counselors for troubled girls. We offer counseling for troubled teens and out-of-control teens and especially work with adopted girls with emotional disorders. If you are searching for residential treatment centers for girls, troubled teen schools or troubled teen boarding schools, you have found one. Therapeutic boarding school for girls with teen counseling and therapy like Clearview is also called “schools for troubled teens” or “residential treatment centers.” This is one of the few affordable residential treatment centers and schools for teens. Clearview is an all-girl school that provides troubled pre-teen and teenage girls with counseling and adolescent therapy. The Christian therapeutic residential school for troubled girls serves at-risk girls seeking a therapeutic boarding school in California, on the West Coast, in Oklahoma, in Nevada, or Minnesota, or Washington State, and in Idaho. We use Trust-based Relational Intervention, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Therapy such as EMDR and Lifespan Integration, Reality Therapy, and Trauma Therapy, plus Neurofeedback and Craniosacral therapy treatments.

Milestones of Middle Adolescence
Middle adolescence begins at 15 when kids continue to develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Get help today.