Social and Emotional Development: Your 15-Year-Old Teen

An In-Depth Look at Your 15-year-old Teen's Social and Emotional Development

This is what you should expect from your 15-year-old.
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Fifteen-year-old teens are pushing their parents to do more and more on their own, and usually, they don't want to have to ask permission to do it. They are often assertive to the point of pushing their limits too far. 

You might expect to hear things like, "If I'm home by curfew, why do I need to tell you where I'm going?" This is tough, because they still feel invincible and may not believe you when you explain that it is not safe to run around town without people knowing where they are.

But, most 15-year-olds aren't ready for as much freedom as they think they can handle.

The Future Is Real As the 15-Year-Old Watches Older Peers

At the age of 15, teens start to think about what it would be like to live out on their own. While some teens may be imagining college, others may be thinking about getting their own apartment.

They often watch their older peers get jobs, graduate from high school, and enter into the real world. You may get questions that shock you, such as, "What do you think of me not going to college?" 

On the flip side, your 15-year-old is seeing some tough issues with peers that he might not want to tell you about. That, combined with the need for greater independence, makes for a quiet dinner table.

Your teenager might argue if you push him about talking about his day. This is a good time to talk about simple things, like the meal or the high school basketball game you saw the night before.

Don't pry or get upset with their lack of communication unless you feel strongly that your teen is in some trouble.

Lastly, your 15-year-old may feel the need to push family away and not rely on you as much as he has in the past. As long as your teen is following the rules and taking care of his responsibilities, this is okay and will help your teen's self-confidence and self esteem.

Let Your Teen Earn Responsibilities 

Teens mature at slightly different rates. Some 15-year-olds are ready to learn how to drive and they're able to manage almost all of their responsibilities on their own. Others, however, can't remember to clean their rooms and struggle to get their homework done on time. 

Make your teen's privileges contingent on his ability to be responsible. Tell him he can earn freedom by showing you that he's able to handle more independence.

A later curfew could be tied to getting his chores done. Taking driver's education could be linked to getting good grades. 

Worried That You 15-year-old Teen's Development Isn't Normal?

Many parents of 15-year-old teens worry that their social and emotional development is too fast or not fast enough. Or parents start to see warning signs of substance abuse or signs of mental health problems as adolescence is often the time social and emotional problems surface.

If you are concerned about your teen's development, talk to the doctor. If your child's doctor has concerns, your child may be referred to a mental health provider for further evaluation.

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