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Understanding Adolescents

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 by Lisa Baron, LCSW

Adolescence is a time of change. Of primary importance to adolescents is their developing independence and autonomy, being heard, their friends, and their developing interests. For example, my neighbor’s fourteen year-old son is a drummer. She reports how there are times she feels he lives and breathes for his drums, and how when he is playing, nothing else matters. He has his moments of being self involved, where it is as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist. However, when a social opportunity is offered to him, he will compromise what he is doing as that social world is of utmost importance to him.

She also describes how in the midst of this burgeoning independence, there comes moodiness and volatility. One moment he appears to be calm, and settled and peaceful. He is happy to be part of the family. Another moment, he cannot tolerate the sight of his sibling or parents, and wants to get as far away as possible. It’s as if he fears he will be engulfed by these beings that are in a sense “cramping his style.” There are times he describes that he doesn’t know what he feels. Her descriptions sound like he may experience his inner moods like Chicago weather; volatile and forever shifting from sun to wind to snow, and on from there.


Lisa Baron, LCSW is a therapist in private practice in Northbrook, Illinois. Lisa sees adults, adolescents and children in her practice. Lisa is in the process of earning her Doctorate in Clinical Social Work from the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago, Illinois. Lisa is also the proud parent of three spirited teenagers. For more information, please visit his listing on the Therapist Directory.