Intellectually, teens today are exposed to and consume more information than earlier generations. In many ways they have been forced to grow up too quickly. However, this worldly experience does not always translate to maturity in teens and may even stunt their emotional development. Your teenager may challenge your opinions and lifestyle as a way of achieving her own adult identity. But, she may simultaneously display several characteristics that parallel maturity.
Perspective and Goals
During adolescence many teenagers rebel because they want more independence and control in their lives. However, a mark of maturity in your teenager is understanding that this new-found sense of self also involves planning and setting long-term goals for himself. As noted by Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, this means your teenager is developing an ability to think abstractly and is concerned with wider issues such as social problems, politics and philosophies. All teenagers will progress at different rates and have different perspectives of the world. Your teen may show maturity by worrying about his future and discussing his options with you, his friends and his teachers.
Adolescence can be emotionally volatile for your teen because she is experiencing a roller coaster of physical and mental changes on her way to adulthood. Education.com defines emotional maturity as the ability to make reasonable decisions, follow directions and apply life skills when dealing with daily issues. A teenager with this type of maturity is able to handle frustration, controlling her anger and jealousy when she doesn't get her way. She is also more patient and perseveres with tasks she would rather not do. She can persist even when there is a delay in the rewards and gratification. Emotional maturity allows your teenager to stay calm and be a calming influence for others around her; all of these character aspects are important for adult life.
While many teens are strong-willed, being assertive is not the same as being stubborn. Assertiveness is a sign of maturity because it allows for being able to disagree without being disagreeable. A mature teenager will be able to hold his position without being disrespectful to someone who may have a different viewpoint. Dr. Tim Elmore writes at "Psychology Today," that assertiveness includes not being easily swayed on principles, values and morals, but still being open to the opinions and beliefs of others.
Humility is a characteristic that many teens and adults may misunderstand as weakness. However, as Dr. Tim Elmore explains at Psychology Today, humility does not mean you think less of yourself, but that you think of yourself less and don't have a need to constantly draw attention to yourself. Humility is a sign of maturity in your teenager because it is the opposite of arrogance. It also makes a teenager more open to learning and guidance. A mature, humble teenager is not ashamed to seek advice and wisdom from parents, teachers and coaches.