What Is Late Adolescence?

Discover what late adolescence is and all the of the aspects you need to know in order to have a healthy and mature relationship with your teenage children. 
What Is Late Adolescence?

Last update: 09 September, 2018

Prolonged or late adolescence is a stage of physical, psychological and mental development that occurs between the ages of 16 and 19. However, it can sometimes last until a person is 25 years old, depending on the case.

This is a stage in which youth face new challenges and often fall into rebellion as an easy way out. They find this to be a mechanism that allows them to feel more confident and gain acceptance.

Youth have an intense desire to live their own lives and feel independent. For that reason, they tend to reject their parents’ support and even their attention. As a result, many parents feel replaced or dismissed.

There are a variety of factors that influence  late adolescence. That’s why parents need to remember that things don’t just depend on their child.

There are often external difficulties that arise that do little to help children overcome this stage. Many young people make it as far as 25 years old and still have no job or finances to make it on their own. As a result, even though they are grown up, they still depend on their parents.

Characteristics of late adolescence

Below is a list of the common characteristics that describe individuals during late adolescence.

What Is Late Adolescence?
  • Their goal is to achieve independence.
  • They are willing to take risks.
  • A continuous search for one’s identity.
  • Their sense of humor improves, as do their social interactions.
  • During late adolescence, individuals place higher value on their privacy and respecting personal space.
  • They realize they should develop more coherence between their ideas and actions.
  • Youth learn to better accept constructive criticism and control their emotions.
  • Their concern for the future increases, motivating them to set goals and plans of action.
  • They place more value on serious relationships and are more open to love and tenderness.
  • They begin to establish priorities that are more realistic and in line with their circumstances. They also begin to make better decisions.

At the same time, during late adolescence, youth start to gain a different perspective about their surroundings. By this point, they’ve overcome other stages of growth (and all that these entail) and put their limits to the test. Now they begin to reflect a little more on how to act .

How to support young people in a positive way during late adolescence

Regardless of whatever your relationship with the individual in question may be (parent, guardian, teacher, tutor, etc), it’s important you take on a flexible attitude. Make a point to relearn how to get along .

Here are some practical suggestions on supporting teens during late adolescence:

  • Cultivate trust.
  • Let them know they have your support during difficult times.
  • Maintain good communication. It’s important to be open and honest.
  • Setting a good example is always a good idea, even when it seems unnecessary.
  • Pay attention to their ideas and don’t judge too quickly. They need to see you as a guide and not a judge.
  • Get involved in their schoolwork, interests, hobbies, friendships, etc., in a healthy way.
  • Avoid shouting, prejudice and making comparisons. All of this does nothing to help your relationship. Rather, it will only create distance.
  • Offer tools and advice, as long as they ask for it. Trying to control every detail of their lives can render them useless or push them to rebel.
What Is Late Adolescence?

Rebellion during late adolescence

While rebellion is not a defining factor of late adolescence, it is a common characteristic. To contribute positively, we recommend the following:

  • Agree upon limits and consequences beforehand. Avoid handing out punishments “just because.”
  • Enjoy quality family time. This means establishing time to eat together, sharing a weeknight, going out shopping, etc.
  • Define rolls clearly.
  • Establish respect as a maximum priority.
  • Be reasonable. Don’t try to control every second of your teenager’s time.
  • Congratulate teens for reaching their goals. Motivate them to move on despite their failures.
  • When corrections are in order, avoid reacting when you’re angry. It’s better to wait until you are calm and really understand the situation before taking action.
  • Work as a team. Adults need to come together and join forces in order to establish limits that favor a young person’s emotional health.
  • Avoid questioning one’s mood.

Adolescence – whether it be early, mid or late adolescence – is an important stage for learning. No one is exempt from this natural process, so it’s important for parents to relax.

If you have any doubts, it’s always best to consult with a professional. With the right support, you’ll prepare your teens to be healthy and responsible adults.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hidalgo Vicario, M. I., & González-Fierro, M. J. C. (2014). Adolescencia. Aspectos físicos, psicológicos y sociales. Anales de Pediatria Continuada. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1696-2818(14)70167-2
  • Pérez, S. P., & Santiago, M. A. (2002). El concepto de adolescencia. Manual de prácticas clínicas para la atención integral a la salud en la adolescencia, 2. https://ccp.ucr.ac.cr/bvp/pdf/adolescencia/Capitulo%20I.pdf
  • UNICEF. (2011). La Adolescencia Temprana y Tardía. In Estado Mundial de la Infancia 2011: A Adolescencia – Una Epoca De Oportunidades.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.