People born in other countries now constitute 10% of the U. population, the highest rate since the 1930 census (U. Census Bureau, 2002).5 Half of those from other countries are from Latin American countries—overall, about 15% of adolescents ages 10 to 19 are of Hispanic or Latino origin (U. Thus, research on most areas of normal adolescent development for minority youth is still lacking; so caution should be used in generalizing the more global findings reported here to all adolescents.The physical changes that herald adolescence—the development of breasts and first menstrual periods for girls, the deepened voices and broadened shoulders for boys—are the most visible and striking markers of this stage.They vary in their English proficiency and educational levels and in their cultural practices and beliefs.
And, professionals must recognize that developing effective communication with the adolescents with whom they work requires effort on their part.
Young people need adults who will listen to them—understand and appreciate their perspective—and then coach or motivate them to use information or services offered in the interest of their own health (Hamburg, 1997).
Simply presenting information on the negative consequences of high-risk behaviors is not enough.
Despite the negative portrayals that sometimes seem so prevalent—and the negative attitudes about adolescents that they support—the picture of adolescents today is largely a very positive one.
Most adolescents in fact succeed in school, are attached to their families and their communities, and emerge from their teen years without experiencing serious problems such as substance abuse or involvement with violence.