15-16 years

Discover tips, tools, and support for this age

Your teen is continuing to develop their own identity! Continue to help them prepare for more independence and responsibility. Consider encouraging them to find a summer job and explore options for life after high school. 

Scroll down to learn more about your teen at this stage, explore available resources, and find free events for teens. 


Development continues through the teen years and into adulthood! Learn about your teen's growth and what to look out for during this exciting time.

Around 15–16 years old, most teens:

  • Social

    • Have early work experience
    • Show more independence from parents or caregivers
    • Are more willing to share
    • Develop more intimate relationships
  • Communication

    • Begin to express more interest in moral issues
    • May seem moodier and use harsh language when talking
  • Learning

    • Learn more defined work habits
    • Show more concern about future school and work plans
    • Give clear reasons for their choices, including what's right or wrong
  • Physical Development

    • Show signs of puberty
    • Use deodorant
    • Become more aware of sexuality
  • Health

    • Have 6 to 10 ounces of grains daily, including whole 1 ounce equals ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup of rice, 5 whole wheat crackers, 1 slice of whole wheat bread, or ½ cup cooked pasta).
    • Have 2 ½ to 4 cups of vegetables daily (such as 1 cup baby carrots, 1 cup broccoli, ½ avocado, and 1 cup sliced peppers). Fresh, frozen canned or dried all count.
    • Have 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of fruits daily (such as 1 medium apple, 1 banana, and ½ cup berries). Fresh, frozen canned or dried all count.
    • Have 5 to 7 ounces of protein foods daily (1 ounce equals 1 egg, ¼ cup of beans or lentils, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or ¼ cup tofu). Protein foods include beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, nut butters, poultry, fish, eggs and meat.
    • Have 3 cups of dairy or suitable substitute daily. This includes whole cow’s milk, whole plain yogurt, or unsweetened fortified soy beverage.
    • Drink water at or between meals for thirst.

As your teen transitions into adulthood, look out for signs they may be at risk or troubled, including if they:

  • Act Early

    • Being too overweight or underweight
    • Expressing a lack of self-worth or talking about suicide
    • Showing changes in appetite, weight, or eating habits, which may signal an eating disorder


Find the support your family needs to thrive


NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA)

A free City ID card

IDNYC can often be used as an official ID for all New Yorkers age 10 and over.

NYC Youth Leadership Councils (YLC)

NYC Service

Leadership opportunities for youth

With YLCs, youth can help their communities by shaping policy, practice, and advocacy for citywide change.

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD)

Paid summer job experiences for youth

Up to six weeks of paid experience for young people ages 14-24.


See what your family can do for free in NYC

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

A second sample event for NYC Service (reoccuring)

For teens who need extra computer time to do anything from homework, to gaming, or filling out job applications.