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+“Typical Development of a Child, Age 16“

Melissa Cain

College of Southern Nevada

Professor Theresa Wyckoff

We must keep in mind that these behaviors that we will be discussing will occur with our

children and are a part of who they are and will become. We as parents, guardians, teachers, and

mentors must do our best to support them and help them through these times as they occur and

be involved as much as possible. While doing so we should constantly remind them that we will

always be there for them, even when they do not want to take our advice. We will be discussing

the typical developmental behaviors of a child, aged 16 years old. Typical development

behaviors of any child can be separated into the following categories: Physical, Emotional,

Cognitive/Intellectual, Psychosocial/Social and Moral/Character.

Physical development behaviors deal with the changes in the body, such as growth in

males and females on many different levels (Child development, 2016). Emotional development

behaviors can be described as a person having emotional changes, such as being happy one day

and then being sad the next day (Parents & Teachers, 2001). Cognitive/Intellectual development

behaviors can be identified as seeing things clearer in terms of where the child wants to be in

their future (Growth & Development, n.d.). Psychosocial/Social development behaviors are

where they learn to become more independent and social with their peers and others around them

(Parents & Teachers, 2001). Lastly, Moral/Character development behaviors deal with children

having values instilled in them as they grow older that will help them as they become adults

(Duncan, n.d.). A great example that was given to me by my grandfather and who still to this

day tells us this, “time changes but morals and principles do not”.

Here we will go more in depth of each category and list their typical behaviors or

characteristics, get advice from Snowman, Piaget, Vygotsky, Erikson, Macia & Kohlberg and list

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the levels of development according to them. There will also be a list of recommendations for

continued development in each category as well.

Some typical behaviors/characteristics in the physical development in a child are that

most children at this age will have reached most of their adult height. There is also a rapid

growth spurt in both boys and girls. Their brains are still developing until late adulthood, and

both males and females go through different changes with their bodies. (Growth &

Development, n.d.). According to Snowman, the levels of development are “Significant and

large changes in physical development occur during adolescence”. For continued development,

you should communicate with your children and let them know that if they have any questions

regarding what they are going through as this may be a challenging time for (Child development,


Some typical behaviors/characteristics in emotional development may be a child dealing

with emotional disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. They also feel they can

make their own choices and are more aware of themselves (Parents & Teachers, 2001).

According to Snowman “the levels of development are that many psychiatric disorders appear or

become prominent during adolescence. Included among these are eating disorders, substance

abuse, schizophrenia, depression, and suicide". For continued development, you should ask your

teen questions, respect their boundaries and teach them how to deal with certain situations

(Parents & Teachers, 2001).

Some typical behaviors/characteristics in the cognitive/intellectual development in a child

are that at this point they began to prepare for their future and become capable of determining

where it is and what it is that they want to be. They began to organize and complete the goals
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that they have made for themselves (Growth & Development, n.d.). According to Piaget, the

levels of development are as stated “that at this age the child would fall under the formal

operational stage where they can generalize from a particular instance to a general form” (“As

cited in”, Snowman & McCown, 2013). According to Vygotsky, the levels of development are

as stated "theory of cognitive development referred to it as sociocultural theory, because it

maintains the how we think is a function of both social and cultural forces” (“As cited in”,

Snowman & McCown, 2013). For continued development, you should still have rules in order,

because although they are able to become more aware and are starting to be able to think on their

own they still need to have some type of rules in place for them to follow (Parents & Teachers,


Some typical behaviors/characteristics in the psychosocial/social development in a child

are that they become more independent, they learn how to make decisions that will better

themselves and some may even want to take risks and try new things (Growth & Development,

n.d.). They may even start to create close friends and become interested in like activities

(Parents & Teachers, 2001). According to Erikson, the levels of development come in several

different stages. The characteristics of the stages are 1. Trust versus mistrust, 2. Autonomy

versus shame and doubt, 3. Initiative versus guilt, 4. Industry versus inferiority, 5. Identity versus

role confusion (Snowman & McCown, 2013). The stage that a 16-year child would fall under is

the identity versus role confusion stage. At this stage, they learn how to develop the roles and

skills they need to prepare themselves for adulthood and to be successful as adults. According to

Marcia, the level of development has four identity statuses, they are as followed: 1. Identity

diffusion, 2. Foreclosure, 3. Moratorium, 4. Identity achievement (Snowman & McCown, 2013).

He believed that achievement depends on two variables: crisis and commitment. Through this
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area of psychosocial/social behavior, he explains to us that each individual can go through many

experiences and while doing so their behaviors can change due to the effects that they are

experiences (Snowman & McCown, 2013). For continued development, you should encourage

your teen to be more involved in the community and participate in local activities, such as

community service, sports, school activities and many other things (Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention, 2017). Keep them involved in positive activities.

Some typical behaviors/characteristics in the moral/character development in a child are

that they will act on the examples given to them whether it be good/bad. They may question

values that have been instilled in them as young children. According to Kohlberg, the levels of

development are that the moral reasoning proceeds through fixed stages and moral development

can be accelerated through instruction (Snowman & McCown, 2013). For continued

development, you should talk to your child and continue to instill good morals in them, teach

them to lead by example (Duncan, n.d.). They need to have some type of structure around them,

by doing so it allows them to be able to develop good character (Teen Development of Morals

and Values, 2016). We must understand that although it may seem that children are not

listening. They are, some just have their own way of showing it. Which is why we must

continue to be good models for them to reflect to.

In conclusion, although these behaviors that were just discussed are just typical

behaviors, some children deal with them at different times and some even deal with these at one

time. As stated in the beginning these behaviors with our children are a part of who they are and

will become in their future. We as parents, guardians, teachers, and mentors should continue to

support them and be willing to listen to what it is they need to say when talking to them, as well

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as give advice to them where needed. Show them that they have a supportive foundation so that

they will be able to overcome challenges that they may have to face, even if the challenges are

within them.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Retrieved 2017, from

Child development. (2016). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/child-


Duncan, S. F. (n.d.). Fostering Moral Behavior in Children. Retrieved 2017, from


Growth & Development. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, from http://sc.onetoughjob.org/development/16-


Parents & Teachers. (2001). Retrieved from http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/health/growth-


Snowman, J., & McCown, R. (2013). ED Psych. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Teen Development of Morals and Values. (2016). Retrieved 2017, from


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