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Physical Development
- Most girls have completed the physical changes related to puberty by age 15.
- Boys are still maturing and gaining strength, muscle mass, and height and are completing the
development of sexual traits.

Emotional Development
- May stress over school and test scores.
- Is self-involved (may have high expectations and low self-concept).
- Seeks privacy and time alone.
- Is concerned about physical and sexual attractiveness.
- May complain that parents prevent him or her from doing things independently.
- Starts to want both physical and emotional intimacy in relationships.
- Experiences of intimate relationships

Social Development
- Shifts in relationship with parents from dependency and subordination to one that reflects the
adolescent’s increasing maturity and responsibilities in the family and the community.
- Is more and more aware of social behaviors of friends.
- Seeks friends that share the same beliefs, values, and interests.
- Friends become more important.
- Starts to have more intellectual interests.
- Explores romantic and sexual behaviors with others.
- May be influenced by peers to try risky behaviors (alcohol, tobacco, sex).

Mental Development
- Becomes better able to set goals and think in terms of the future.
- Has a better understanding of complex problems and issues.
- Starts to develop moral ideals and to select role models.


By Timothy D. Evans, Ph.D.

Encouragement is the key ingredient for improving your relationships with others. It is the
single most important skill necessary for getting along with others – so important that the lack of
it could be considered the primary cause of conflict and misbehavior. Encouragement develops
a person’s psychological hardiness and social interest. Encouragement is the lifeblood of a
relationship. And yet this simple concept is often very hard to put into practice.

Encouragement is not a new idea. Its spiritual connotation dates back to the
Bible in Hebrews 3:11 which states, “Encourage one another daily.” Encouragement, as a
psychological idea, was developed by psychiatrist Alfred Adler in the early 20th century and
continued to evolve through the work of Adler’s follower Rudolph Dreikurs.

However, even today, relatively few educators, parents, psychologists, leaders or couples
have utilized this valuable concept. Most of the time, people mistakenly use a technique like
praise in an effort to “encourage” others. Half the job of encouragement lies in avoiding
discouraging words and actions. When children or adults misbehave, it is usually because they
are discouraged. Instead
of building them up, we tear them down; instead of recognizing their efforts and improvements,
we point out mistakes; instead of allowing them to belong through shared decision-making and
meaningful contributions, we isolate and label them.

Most of us are skilled discouragers. We have learned how to bribe, reward and, when that
fails, to punish, criticize, nag, threaten, interrogate and emotionally withdraw. We do this as an
attempt to control those we love, bolstered by the mistaken belief that we are responsible for the
behavior of everyone around us, especially our spouses and
children. These attempts to control behavior create atmospheres of tension and conflict in many

Most commonly, we discourage in five general ways:

 We set standards that are too high for others to meet because we are overly ambitious.
 We focus on mistakes as a way to motivate change or improved behavior.
 We make constant comparisons (self to others, siblings to one another).
 We automatically give a negative spin to the actions of others.
 We dominate others by being overly helpful, implying that they are unable to do it as well.

Encouragement is not a technique nor is it a special language used to gain compliance.

Encouragement conveys the idea that all human beings are worthwhile, simply because they
exist. In one sentence, Mr. Rogers does more for a child’s sense of adequacy than a hundred
instances of praise when he says, “I like you just the way you
are.” Not I like you when you do it well enough, fast enough and get it all correct.

Encouragement develops children’s psychological hardiness -- their ability to function

and recover when things aren’t going their way.
Encouragement enhances a feeling of belonging which leads to greater social interest. Social
interest is the tendency for people to unite themselves with other human beings and to
accomplish their tasks in cooperation with others. The Junior League mission of “developing the
potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of
trained volunteers” is rooted in the idea of social interest.

The first step to becoming an encouraging person is to learn to distinguish encouragement

from discouragement. As a rule, ask yourself: Whatever I say or do, will it bring me closer
together or farther apart from this person? We all have the power to be more encouraging
people. The choice, as always, is yours.


by Dr. Emily DeCarlo

So often we accept the declarations that others have made concerning our own lives, well-
being or fate. It is imperative that we recognize that in order to achieve what we want in life, we
must not give our power away to others by accepting their declarations
concerning our affairs. When one decides that he or she will boldly declare good fortune,
wellness, joy, etc. relative to his or her life, all of heaven will break loose! Goodness and mercy
shall surely follow.
From birth, we are often told what we are going to be. Sometimes, this is a good thing, but
supposes you have been told time and time again that "you will not amount to anything just like
your mother or father"? This is a dangerous declaration because it sets into motion the
actualization of an unwanted occurrence. All of us want to amount to something! In order to
counteract this and all of the negative declarations with their destructive potential, one must
consciously replace them with one's own declarations. In so doing, you are now in control of
setting into action what you really want to occur. You can declare that goodness and mercy
shall surely follow you all the days of your life! The following are some declarations that you may
want to make concerning your

I declare:
that I am totally free of all addictions.
that I will survive any attempts of others to control my life.
that I am free in my mind, body, and emotions.
that I am free to set goals and reach them.
that I am a loving individual with the capacity to give love.
that I am a child of God with all rights and privileges thereof.
that I will contribute to the welfare of others.
that I will be an ambassador of goodwill to all I meet on the journey.
that I will be a good example for others to follow.
that I will help all that I can to reach their goals.
that I will speak words of encouragement to others.
that I will find the goodness in life and focus on it.
that I will not succumb to the negative influences of others.
that I will read the information that will encourage my personal, and spiritual
that I will commit to being the best I can be.

These declarations are meant to encourage you to take control of the influences in your life.
They are suggestions as to what positive things you can speak about your own life instead of
accepting whatever has been said about you in the past. You now have the authority to plant
the seeds of love, encouragement and victory in your garden, thereby crowding out the weeds
of negativity that may already have taken root! Just as in a garden, you may have to pull and
pull until you get some weeds out. Sometimes, the negative comments and declarations of
others have taken such a stronghold in our lives, that we must persist until we see the bough
not only fall, but break into pieces. Don't be discouraged if you don't reach your goals overnight.
Just remember that even a small stream of water will crack concrete eventually!!

You may have defects, be anxious and sometimes live irritated, but do not forget that your
life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can prevent it from going into decadence.
There are many that need you, admire you and love you. I would like to remind you that being
happy is not having a sky without storms, or roads without accidents, or work without fatigue, or
relationships without disappointments. Being happy is finding strength in forgiveness, hope in
one’s battles, security at the stage of fear, love in disagreements. Being happy is not only to
treasure the smile, but that you also reflect on the sadness. It is not just commemorating the
event, but also learning lessons in failures. It is not just having joy with the applause, but also
having joy in anonymity. Being happy is to recognize that it is worthwhile to live, despite all the
misunderstandings and times of crises. Being happy is not inevitable fate, but a victory for those
who can travel towards it with your own being.
Being happy is to stop being a victim of problems but become an actor in history itself. It is not
only to cross the deserts outside of ourselves, but still more, to be able to find an oasis in the
recesses of our soul. It is to thank God every morning for the miracle of life.
Being happy is not being afraid of one's feelings. It is to know how to talk about ourselves. It is
to bear with courage when hearing a "no". It is to have the security to receive criticism, even if is
unfair. It is to kiss the children, pamper the parents, and have
poetic moments with friends, even if they hurt us.
Being happy means allowing the free, happy and simple child inside each of us to live; having
the maturity to say, "I was wrong"; having the audacity to say, "forgive me". It is to have
sensitivity in expressing, "I need you"; to have the ability of saying, "I love you." So that your life
becomes a garden full of opportunities for being happy... In your spring-time, may you become a
lover of joy. In your winter, may you become a friend of wisdom. And when you go wrong along
the way, you start all over again. Thus you will be more passionate about life. And you will find
that happiness is not about having a perfect life but about using tears to water tolerance, losses
to refine patience, failures to carve serenity, pain to lapidate pleasure, obstacles to open the
windows of intelligence. Never give up ... Never give up on the people you love. Never give up
from being
happy because life is an incredible show. And you are a special human being!