What emotional development occurs in adolescent years?

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  • A Psychology, answered on behalf of
    When children hit adolescence, they develop "emotional autonomy." They realize, "I don't have to feel something just because my mom or my dad feels it." They feel intentionally different from their caregivers. They are very aware that "just because my mom or dad or someone close to me said I should be happy, I don't necessarily feel that way."

    Adolescents, in a way, have gone back to the 2-year-old who is just learning to walk. Adolescents are trying to gain independence from their caregivers. Maybe they have their first job. They have best friendships. Their friendships emerge as the context in which they are learning about themselves and others. They start having more abstract thinking. They can think about all the complexities of this world and with that can come some negative feelings, some anxiety and some sadness as they contemplate their role in the world and what life means.
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