Efforts are made to move to a new way of understanding and working with adolescents in the context of larger systems (Lerner & Galambos, 1998); although working with adolescents and families is critical, systemic change is sometimes needed to safeguard adolescent health.

However, these physical changes represent just a fraction of the developmental processes that adolescents experience.

Their developing brains bring new cognitive skills that enhance their ability to reason and to think abstractly.

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.

The number of foreign-born in the United States grew 44% between 1990 and the 2000. Unfortunately, many of the studies of adolescents reported in the scientific literature have looked only at White middle-class adolescents (Lerner & Galambos, 1998; Ohye and Daniel, 1999).

A growing number of households in the United States include individuals who were born in other countries.

Immigrants enter the United States for diverse reasons; some may be escaping a war-torn country, just as others are in the country to pursue an advanced education.

Having an understanding of normal adolescent development can help professionals be effective communicators with young people.

It is critical that professionals educate themselves about the different cultural and ethnic groups with whom they work in order to provide competent services and to relate effectively one-on-one with adolescents.

It takes time to listen and relate to an adolescent. This report also indicates that adolescents whose parents are more involved in their lives (as measured by the frequency of eating meals together regularly, a simple measure of parental involvement) have significantly lower rates of “problem behaviors” such as smoking, alcohol or marijuana use, lying to parents, fighting, initiation of sexual activity, and suicidal thoughts and attempts (U. Adolescents will not simply “open up” to adults on demand.