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Adolescent patients present a unique set of challenges to pediatricians. A polite, compliant child can appear to transform into a surly, rebellious teen before a doctor's eyes. Adolescence can be a tumultuous time, even when it is unfolding in a healthy manner. For this reason, and because there is so much individual variation in adolescent development, it can be particularly challenging to determine what is “normal” in adolescent development. Although previously believed to be uniformly a time of turmoil, this view has not been substantiated by large-scale studies. (1) Most teenagers progress through this period of life with few obvious behavioral problems. However, a sound and trusting doctor-patient relationship is required to appreciate the inner struggles many adolescents endure. A working understanding of the developmental tasks of adolescence and the processes through which they are achieved provides the best...

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