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Study the adolescent mind - how they think, why they think the way they do and how they develop

Understand more about theories of human development, crime, moral and social development, the transition to adulthood, emotions and much more with this great distance learning course.
A course for anyone who deals with teenagers: 
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Youth Workers
When you understand how and why teens think the way they do; it becomes easier to comprehend and manage their behaviour.  For adults who are well beyond their own adolescent experience; it can be frustrating and even disarming to see a child with relatively predictable behaviour, changing into a teen whose actions are increasingly erratic. 
This course can both diffuse that sense of frustration and improve your capacity to influence the young person you are dealing with.

Course Structure
The course consists of ten lessons including –

1. Introduction – Theories of Human Development – What is adolescence? Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development, The stages of Piaget’s theories, moral development, Erikson’s psychosocial development theory, stages.

2. Life Crises – Life crisis, problems, puberty, attachment theory, internalised and externalized problems , types of problems experienced by adolescents.

3. Physical Development – puberty in females, puberty in males, hormones, physical activity, obesity.

4. Intellectual Development – Piaget’s formal operations stage, school problems.

5. Emotional Development – Freud’s theories, emotional problems, teenagers and grief, eating problems, depression, emotional problems, typical childhood responses to grief, supporting a grieving child.

6. Sexuality – acquisition of gender identity and social role identity, vicarious learning and sexual identity, gender identity disorders, curiosity, sex, sexual behaviour, masturbation, sexuality and nudity, answering questions.

7. Social Development - family influence, types of parenting, denigration of parents.

8. Moral Development – Piaget’s theory of moral development, Kohlberg’s theory of moral reasoning.

9. Delinquency and Crime – juvenile delinquency, pathways to delinquency, gangs, crimes more likely in adolescence, behaviour problems, drugs, solvents and alcohol, child abuse, triggers of abuse, stranger abuse, how to deal with deviance.

10. Adolescents and the Transition to Adulthood – Erikson’s later stages – the transition to adulthood.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


Duration: 100 hours


  • Develop an understanding of the theories of child development in relation to adolescents.
  • Develop an understanding of life crises in relation to adolescents.
  • Develop an understanding of the physical changes that occur in puberty.
  • Develop an understanding of the intellectual changes that occur in adolescence.
  • Develop an understanding of the emotional development that occurs during adolescence.
  • Develop an understanding of sexuality during adolescence
  • Develop an understanding of the social development that occurs in adolescence.
  • Develop an understanding of the theories of moral development in relation to teenagers.
  • Consider the links between adolescence and delinquent activity such as crime.
  • Develop an understanding of the changes that occur moving from adolescence to adulthood.


How to Better Manage Cyber Bullying  

Cyber bullying is becoming increasingly common in and outside schools. Cyber bullying is a form of bullying that involves mobile phones, the internet, social media and so on. It can include –
  • sending offensive text messages or emails to people
  • circulating degrading images or comments on the internet
  • insulting people on social networking sites
  • “happy slapping” where people film physical attacks on their mobile phone, then share the videos with others
  • posting or sending on personal information without their permission
  • sending viruses to damage a person’s computer
  • making abusive comments on gaming sites and other social media
  • impersonating a person on social networking site by setting up profiles on a social networking site and making fun of someone.
Cyber bullying can be very hard to cope with as it can happen at any time of the day, when the child is at school, at home and anywhere they are.
Bullying – the effects on the victim
Bullying can obviously make the life of the victim miserable. It can destroy their feeling of safeness and security and also undermine their confidence. It can cause low self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety, fear, poor concentration, sadness and can lead to depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts and in some cases suicide. If you look in the media, there are many many cases report of children and adults who commit suicide due to bullying and cyber bullying.
Bullying can also have another impact in that it affects a child’s schooling. They may be worried about school and pretend to be ill to avoid going. They may miss a lot of school, which affects their progress at school. They may find it hard to concentrate and worry at school.
What Can Children do if they are being bullied
A child who is being bullied should speak to someone. Asking for help is not showing weaknesses or “grassing” other people up or being a tell tale. It is the first step a child should take to resolve a situation that is not right. Everyone has the right to feel safe in their school and outside school.
Many people are willing to help and listen children who are victims of bullying. They should tell someone they trust – a parent, carer, teacher or friend. Sometimes children worry that telling someone else will make it worse. If so, there are many advice lines, such as Childline in the UK, where children can discuss their feelings.
Dealing with Bullying
Childline in the UK suggests victims of bullying should – 
  • Keep a record of any nasty texts or emails received.
  • Stay away from the bullies.
  • Stay in a group of people you feel safe with.
  • Ask your friends to look out for you.
  • Tell an adult at home or at school about what is happening.
Dealing with Cyber bullying
Cyberbullying is still bullying and should be treated very seriously. As we said, cyber bullying can occur 24 hours a day, the victim of cyber bullying may have no break from the bullying even when they are at home.
If a child is being cyber bullied, they should – 
  • Talk to someone they trust – a teacher, carer, parent or friend.
  • If they find this difficult, then support organisations can help children confidentially.
  • Report the bullying to the ISP (internet service provider).
  • Report the bullying to the mobile phone provider.
  • Change the phone number if the child repeatedly bullied via phone.
  • Block emails and instant messages from people who are abusive.
  • Report serious threats of physical or sexual violence to the police.
  • Keep copies of all emails or messages. They can be used as evidence and will help identify the bully, even if they think they are anonymous. They can often be traced.
  • Advise the child not to reply. His is what the bully wants and it can make it worse.
The Best Way to Avoid Cyber bullying is to –
  • Not give out personal details in chat rooms.
  • Encourage children to think very carefully about putting any photos or videos of yourself/friends online.
  • Encourage children to only give out their mobile numbers to close friends.
  • Encourage children to never give out their passwords to anyone.
  • Do not let children give their mobiles or emails to anyone.
  • Do not forward nasty emails.
  • Block numbers and emails who are sending nasty messages and texts.
Parents and Carers Who Suspect a Child is Being Bullied
As we said earlier, some children will not want to reveal that they are being bullied. If a parent or carer suspects the child is being bullied, they should try to talk to the child. Sometimes parents and carers do not want to talk to the child in case it upsets them or makes the problem worse.
Parents and carers can look for signs a child is being bullied – 
  • Damaged/missing clothes
  • Having no money when they should have
  • Scratches and bruises
  • Having trouble with homework for no reason
  • Taking a different route to school
  • Being easily upset, irritable and emotional.
The most important thing is to listen. Adults should not dismiss bullying as “part of growing up”. The NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children) suggests children keep a record of bullying incidents, then they have something to show the school.
Then it is important to talk to the school. Some schools may have particular people to talk to regarding bullying, such as pastoral care staff, counsellors and so on. In other schools, they may encourage parents and children to talk to their teacher first.
Some schools have schemes to tackle bullies, such as peer mentoring, where certain children are trained to listen and help other children with their problems. Many schools have anti-bullying policies.
Enrol today and learn more about how teenagers think and develop

Study the Psychology of Teenagers

Understand the behaviour and theory behind working and living with adolescents.

Develop an understanding of the changes that adolescents go through during their teenage years.

Study with the support of experienced and highly qualified tutors.

Study in your own time and at your own pace.

Adolescence is a time between being a child and being an adult.  Over this time, there are many physical and psychological changes (eg. in relation to sexuality, physiology, emotions, moral perception, self-esteem, etc).  Adolescence can be difficult both for the adolescent, and for people interacting with them (family, friends, professionals etc). morally during the adolescent period. Adolescence and the idea of teenagers is a relatively new concept. Prior to education for all, people were adults or children. However, since the 1950's, the idea of a teenager has developed. 


COURSE AIM   Develop your understanding of the developmental changes that occur during adolescence.

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Miriam ter BorgPsychologist, Youth Worker, Teacher, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.Massage, Cert Ourdoor Rec.
Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Gavin Cole Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. He has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Gavin has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

Check out our eBooks

Psychological ProfilingPsychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.
Psychology DictionaryThis book provides explanations for common terms used in Psychology.
Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips
How to be a Life CoachLife coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of mentoring which focuses on helping individuals to achieve what they would like to achieve and thereby to lead more fulfilling lives. Unlike other forms of coaching, it takes place outside of the workplace and is concerned with all aspects of a person’s life.