Normal Development: 18 to 20 Years Old

Each teen is unique. While some behavior and growth milestones tend to happen at certain ages, a wide range for each age is normal. It is okay if your teen reaches some milestones earlier and others later than the average. If you have any concerns about your teen’s development, check with your healthcare provider. Here’s what you might see your teen doing between 18 and 20 years of age.


  • Has a better sense of self.
  • Emotions become more stable.
  • Has a greater concern for others.
  • Thinks about his or her purpose in life.
  • Has pride in his or her own work.
  • Is able to recognize and cope with different types of stress.


  • Has become self-reliant and able to make own decisions.
  • Is more comfortable around parents.
  • Gets interested in serious relationships.
  • Can combine both emotional and physical intimacy in a relationship.
  • Has developed a clear sexual identity.


  • Is able to think ideas through and set goals.
  • Is able to express ideas.
  • May get involved in social issues (green issues, work with the homeless, world hunger).
Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-12-14
Last reviewed: 2013-09-18
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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