Child Development of the 12-14 Year Old


♥ Independence increases even further
♥ Anxiety may increase due to greater academic demands at school
♥ May be moody and experience a range of emotions such as focusing on high achievement yet feeling a lack of self-confidence in some areas
♥ Puberty is causing physical changes and they may be worried about how others view them
♥ Spending time with a same-sexed peer group is important to them, although both sexes are included in the peer group
♥ Common peer interests strengthen friendships and loyalty is felt toward friends
♥ Usually engages with peers who hold the same moral set as their family
♥ Eating problems may appear at this age due to the desire to uphold an acceptable body image. Tip: Contact your child’s doctor if this occurs
♥ Makes many more choices on their own and become increasingly independent
♥ May become emotional and frustrated when trying to deal with adult-like problems given their lack of experience
♥ May experience sadness or depression Tip: if these symptoms occur for longer than two weeks, contact your child’s doctor or seek counseling for your child)
♥ Less affection is shown to parents and your child may display rudeness or purposefully disagree with their parents
♥ The peer group becomes more influential and your child may experience peer pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex
♥ Likes to be busy and engage in extracurricular activities
♥ Sexual curiosity and infatuation with the opposite sex is frequently directed toward popular media people such as rock stars and actors/actresses
♥ Starts to look for a loving connection outside of the family
♥ May feel invincible
♥ Variation in maturity may be seen (giggling like a young child one day, logically communicating and showing independence the next)
♥ It is common to show-off in front of others
♥ Embarrassed to be around their parents


♥ Ability to express thoughts and emotions through talking improves
♥ Begins to independently acknowledge right from wrong and listens to their conscience
♥ Thinks in terms of the present instead of considering the past and future
♥ Reasoning skills improve and they can make educated decisions
♥ Identifies their personal strengths and weaknesses
♥ Readily tells the difference between fact and opinion
♥ Able to form hypothetical solutions to a problem and decide which is best

Physical Development

♥ Motor skills are intact, however growth spurts may result in some lack of coordination or clumsiness
♥ Exercise helps to improve strength and coordination
♥ On average, girls develop two years before boys
♥ Girls’ bodies begin to change (fat distribution in buttocks, legs, and stomach increases; hips widen; pubic hair grows; start of menses; breasts begin to develop)
♥ Boys’ bodies begin to change (voice changes; testicles enlarge; pubic hair grows; rapid growth in weight and height)
♥ May try masturbation
♥ Always hungry
♥ Need for sleep increases
♥ Oily skin and sweating increases – acne may appear

Wondering how to use positive discipline and consequences with the 12-14 year old? Visit our age-based discipline page for guidelines and things to consider.

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