to realizing if
your child is at-risk,
self-destructive behaviors, and
your help and intervention.
Learn more how
Total Transformation, an at-home program for parents, can help your
struggling teen and heal your family
harder for my child?
How can I deal with the
in our family?
Is my teen's
just normal teenage rebellion?
What do parents and teachers need to know about
How can I help my
What makes a
Early Adolescence (ages 11-14)
Middle Childhood (ages
Adolescence (ages 15-18)
Below are characteristics of the "typical" child during
the developmental stage of early adolescence (ages 11-14). Children's
progression through all stages of adolescence is determined not only by biological growth and
change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, the child's
environment, and social
Wide variation in onset of
puberty and growth spurt.
Appetite increases during growth
spurts and decreases markedly between them.
Increased need for sleep.
Evident sexual development,
voice changes, and increased body odor are common.
Individual variation between
some children who are still focused on logic and others who are
able to combine logical and abstract thinking.
Some early adolescents can't
think ahead to consequences of their actions.
Developing new thinking skills,
such as thinking more about possibilities, thinking more
abstractly, thinking more about the process of thinking itself,
thinking in multiple dimensions, and seeing things as relative
rather than absolute.
Practicing new thinking skills
through humor and by arguing with parents and others. Use of
humor focused on satire, sarcasm, and sex (often irritating to
Continuing egocentrism. Often
believes self to be invulnerable to negative events.
Increasing ability to take
perspective of others into account with own perspective.
In addition to concern about
gaining social approval, morals begin to be based on respect for
the social order and agreements between people: "law and order"
Begins to question social
conventions and re-examine own values and moral/ethical
principles, sometimes resulting in conflicts with parents.
Self-image can be challenged by
body changes during puberty and social comparisons.
Youth begin long-term process of
establishing own identity separate from family.
With the onset of puberty, many
girls experience pressure to conform to gender stereotypes,
might show less interest in math and science.
With puberty, normal increases
in girls' body fat can impact body image and self-concept
negatively for many. Both boys and girls might be concerned with
skin problems, height, weight, and overall appearance.
Psychological and Emotional Traits
Relationship to Parents and Other Adults
Changes in own and parental
expectations alter previous patterns of relationships with
parents, often resulting in greater conflict.
Greater focus on peer
friendships as youth develops an identity outside of the role of
a child in a family.
Often rebuffs physical affection
(but still needs it).
Increased interest in making own
decisions; benefits from increased opportunities to make own
decisions within scope of current abilities.
Youth objects more often to
parental limitations (but still needs some), resulting in
New thinking abilities are
practiced in increased use of humor and arguments (or "talking
back") with parents/other adults, which may result in conflicts.
parental listening skills and
nurturing continue to be important.
Changes due to puberty and peer
reactions commonly alter peer relationships.
Friendships still begin with
perceived commonalities, but increasingly involve sharing of
values and personal confidences.
Might develop cliques of three
to six friends (usually same gender), providing greater sense of
security. Antisocial cliques can increase antisocial behaviors.
Romantic crushes common, and
some dating begins
Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State
University Extension Service.
Read All The Books
When Your Teen Is Struggling: Real Hope and Practical Help for
The founder of
Heartlight Christian Boarding School, offers
vital help to parents of teens who exhibit
destructive or unhealthy behaviors and actions.
Parents will learn how to look beyond behavior to
the heart of a teen, recognize how kids stuff the
void God wants to fill, have proper
expectations for themselves and the teen, create a
belief system and effective rules in the home, and
set boundaries and nurture a sense of security.
An ever–increasing number of families face these
life storms. With expertise and compassion, Mark
offers them the knowledge and understanding they
need for their journey from struggling to success.
The Five Love Languages of Teenagers
by Gary Chapman
This book contains very practical guidance on how to express the teen's primary
love language, how to teach them appropriate responsibility, and how to
properly handle both parental and
teen anger. It is a tangible resource for stemming the tide of
violence, immorality, and
despair engulfing many teens today.
The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families
In this excellent book, Pipher offers ideas for simple actions we can
all take to help rebuild our families and strengthen our communities.
More Books & Helpful Products
More Information on Early
Early Adolescence ~ With one foot in childhood
and the other in adolescence, the early adolescent faces a set of
changes that can be scary and confusing. In no other period of an
individual's life, except in infancy, are there so many changes in
such a short period of time.
Growing Up and Clamming Up Too Soon ~
An overview of the lives of
middle-schoolers and how they feel about their families.
Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast ~
Our changing culture
has created a climate ripe for the popularity of coed sleepovers.
Parents are increasingly out-of-touch, naive, or permissive.
Old standards have been forfeited and replaced by an ethical
standard that lacks commonly held standards. Many teens are
left to make plans and decisions for themselves without any parental
input or guidance. Here are some guidelines for parents.
Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence
~ The journey through these years is
easier when parents, families and caregivers learn as much as they
can about this time in children's lives and when they give their
children support. Young adolescents need adults who are there
for them — people who connect with them, communicate with them,
spend time with them, and show a genuine interest in them. This
booklet is designed to help in this effort.
Love You Just the Way You Are
The early adolescent years combine fast-paced change
and the confusion of wondering, "Am I normal?" Add to these
insecurities the desire to fit in and a peer group that knows little
or nothing about sensitivity, and you've got a volatile mix.
Preparing for Middle School
~ Information from the
School Counselor Association for parents to help their child
make the transition from elementary to middle school.
Raising Successful Youth
~ Research-based principles for families, schools, and communities
provided by the
for Early Adolescence.
Remembering the Middle Schooler in You
~ Many of us try to avoid remembering how we looked and behaved
during those years. Still, the middle schooler lives inside us
all. It's vital that educators not get too sidetracked by the
whirr of cultural changes in the lives of students in the middle.
Sleep Shortage Takes Toll on Middle-Schoolers
~ Feelings of depression and low self-esteem plague children as they
advance through middle school because they get increasingly less