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The Skills Stage
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Integration (Visited the first time round between 12-19yrs)

Many adults talk of how working or living with teenagers can feel like working your way through a minefield. One day you are able to have a reasoned discussion about world issues, the next they are being incredibly oppositional and it feels like you’ve got a toddler in your midst.

This is perhaps not surprising as, according the Cycle of Development, the adolescent years are characterised by the young person revisiting all of the previous stages, from Being through to and including Skills and Structure And they do so at twice the pace as the first time round! The difference this time is that the key driver behind their development is sex. So, for example, their need to establish contact (the hunger related to the Being stage) is strongly linked to sex eg through dating; finding out who they are (cf the ‘Identity and Power’ stage) is intrinsically tied-up with their sexuality and body-image (hence hours spent in the bathroom and a preoccupation with looks).

There are some specific affirmations that will guide and support the teenager through this stage. Where these aren’t as forthcoming as is needed s/he might internalise the message ‘Don’t grow up’.

At the onset of puberty youngsters typically recycle the Being and Doing stages. Their behaviour can swing from being responsible and thoughtful to demanding food, money and lifts, with little thought of the needs of others.
Prevouis Fact 1/3 Next Fact
Developmental Task Affirmations for the Being Stage Helpful adult/carer behaviours Indicators of possible need to revisit this stage
  • To take steps towards independence
  • To achieve a clearer emotional separation from family.
  • To emerge as a separate independent person with own identity and values.
  • To be competent and responsible for own needs, feelings and behaviours.
  • To integrate sexuality into earlier developmental tasks.
  • You can know who you are and learn and practice skills for independence.
  • You can develop your own interests, relationships and causes.
  • You can grow in your femaleness or maleness and still need help at times.
  • You can learn to use old skills in new ways.
  • We look forward to knowing you as an adult.
  • We trust you to ask for support when you need it.
  • Continue to offer appropriate support
  • Accept learner’s feelings
  • Confront unacceptable behaviour
  • Encourage growing independence
  • Expect thinking, problem-solving and self-determination
  • Confront destructive or self-defeating behaviour
  • Celebrate emerging adulthood, personal identity etc
  • Negotiate rules and responsibilities
  • High risk-taking behaviours
Need help understanding the table above
The developmental tasks are the jobs the child/young person needs to begin to get under their belt in order to optimise their growth. This is facilitated by the adults around him/her providing permissions via the affirmations. These tend to be communicated primarily non-verbally, examples of which are given in the ‘Helpful adult/carer behaviours’ column.

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