You now have a teenager or, at the very least, a young person on the cusp. At ages 13 and 14, youngsters are definitely developing an ever-increasing sense of self. That’s great, but it can also offer a lot of challenges for both you and your 13- or 14-year-old.
Remember that not all kids reach all milestones exactly at the same rate. So consider these checkpoints, and then see where you can say, “My 13- or 14-year- old ….”
Developmental milestones for 13- and 14-year-olds
- Boy’s voice has started changing
- Boy’s testicles and penis have enlarged
- Girl has started developing leg and underarm hair
- Girl has started menstruating
- Teen has developed conditions such as acne
- Boy is becoming more muscular
Language and communication
- Sometimes seems to be less communicative
- Has a roster of favorite books
- Definitely makes these and other preferences known
- Is texting constantly
Social and emotional skills
- Is getting moodier, more self-absorbed
- Keeps shifting between satisfaction and disappointment
- Is more and more concerned with opinions of others
- Seems to be too much worried about food intake
- Shows signs of being “in love”
- Has a stronger sense of right and wrong
- Keeps entering, even starting, heated discussions
- Can memorize much more
Your more active role
There are ways you can take a more active role in ensuring that your 13- or 14- year-old reaches developmental milestones as expected.
To help encourage your 13- or 14-year-old’s continued development:
- Acknowledge your child’s growing sexuality. If conversations embarrass you, look to someone like a teacher or your doctor for help.
- Meet, and get to know, your teen’s friends
- It’s definitely time to (if you haven’t already) have serious conversations about social issues, such as bullying, drinking and safe sex.
- It’s important for kids this age to earn money. Tasks like helping in bake sales, or working for a neighbor, create a better sense of responsibility and independence.
- Consider simple baby-sitting jobs for your 13- or 14- year-old. See if there are safety courses available if he hasn’t taken care of a sibling.
- Understand social media and make sure you know (and approve of) how your teen is using it
- If your daughter’s breasts have developed, start teaching her how to do a breast self-exam. Look out for sudden groin pain in boys; it could signal testicular twisting and needs immediate surgery.
- Nutrition advice for the preteen: A very active child may need more calories, but girls may start dangerous bingeing/purging. Ask your doctor or (if available) school dietitian for advice.
- Understand that doctor-patient confidentiality is now critical to your young teen. Respect it.
There are many more resources that can help your teenager grow and develop well. Talk with your child’s pediatrician and consult specialists, if needed, for more help.
See developmental milestones for other ages:
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