Developmental Milestones

It is a time when many changes take place in your body, mind, Young Teens and social life. As puberty starts, hormones begin to change. Boys grow facial hair and pubic hair, and their voices become deeper. Girls grow breasts and pubic hair, and begin their periods. These changes can be scary for them and others. Your teen may also be subject to peer pressure to use drugs, tobacco products, or alcohol and have sex. Eating disorders, depression, or family problems can also be a problem. Teens are able to make their own decisions about school, friends, sports and studying at this stage. Teens become more independent and have their own interests and personality. Parents are still important.

Here are some details about how young teens develop.

Social/Emotional Changes

This age group may include:

  • Be more concerned about your body, appearance, and clothing.
  • Concentrate on yourself; there is no need to bounce between high expectations or lack of confidence.
  • Feel more happy
  • Peer group influence and interest can increase.
  • Show less affection to parents. Sometimes it can be rude or short-tempered.
  • Stress from schoolwork that is more difficult
  • Develop eating disorders
  • Feeling sad or depressed can cause poor grades in school, drug or alcohol abuse, or unsafe sex.

Thinking and Learning

This age group may include:

  • You have more potential for complex thinking.
  • Talking more effectively can help you express your feelings better
  • A stronger sense of right or wrong is essential.

Positive Tips

Here are some suggestions for parents to do with their child during this difficult time.
  • Talk to your teenager about sensitive topics like drugs, smoking, and sexuality.
  • Get to know your teen’s friends.
  • Take an active interest in the school life of your teen.
  • Encourage your teen to make good choices and encourage him to take responsibility for his actions.
  • Respect your teenager’s opinions, and be open to her feelings and thoughts. It is crucial that your teen knows that you are there to listen to her.
  • If there is conflict, communicate clearly about your goals and expectations (like keeping good grades and being respectful), and allow your teenager to give their input on how you can reach them (like when and what to study and clean).

Child Safety First

Your child’s safety is your responsibility, no matter what age. These are some tips to help you protect your child.

  • Your teen should be aware of the importance and necessity of using a seatbelt. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause for death in 12- and 14-year-olds.
  • When your teen is riding a bicycle or skateboard, or inline skating, or riding on an all-terrain vehicle, such as a snowmobile or motorcycle, make sure they have a helmet. Sports-related injuries are quite common.
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers associated with drugs, smoking, alcohol, and other risky sexual activities. Ask your teen what he thinks and knows about these topics. Then, share your feelings and thoughts with him. Listen to her and respond honestly and directly to her questions.
  • Talk to your teen about how important it is to have friends who are involved in positive activities. Encourage your teen to be careful of peers who might pressure her into making unhealthy choices.
  • Find out where your teen is, and whether an adult is there. Discuss with your teen when he will call, where he can be found, and what time he should expect to return home.
  • When your teen is at home, set clear rules. Discuss such topics as having friends in the house and how to handle dangerous situations (emergencies fire, drugs, sex etc. Discuss how to complete homework and household chores.

Healthy Bodies

  • Encourage your teen’s physical activity. You might encourage your teen to join a team or an individual sport. Your teen can help with chores around the house, such as walking the dog or washing the car.
  • Families need to eat together. It helps teens make better food choices, encourages healthy weight, and allows family members to have time to chat.
  • Keep your teen away from television sets. Establish limits on screen time including mobile phones, computers and video games.
  • Your child should get the recommended sleep every night. For teens aged 13-18, this is 8-10 hours per 24-hour (including naps).

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