Changes -- Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence

How will my child change between the ages of 10 và 14?

Throughout our lives we grow & change, but during early adolescence the rate of change is especially evident. We consider 10-year-olds to be children; we think of 14-year-olds as "almost adults." We welcome the changes, but we also find them a little disturbing. When children are younger, it is easier to pr6struyenky.vnict when a change might take place và how rapidly. But by early adolescence, the relationship between a child"s real age & her* developmental milestones grows weaker. Just how young teens develop can be by many things: for example, genes, families, friends, neighborhoods và values và other forces in society.

Physical Changes

As they enter puberty, young teens undergo a great many physical changes, not only in form size and shape, but in such things as the growth of pubic & underarm hair và body odor. For girls, changes include the development of breasts and the start of menstruation; for boys, the development of testes.

Adolescents do not all begin puberty at the same age. For girls, it may take place anywhere from the age of 8 khổng lồ 13; in boys, on average, it happens about two years later. This is the time period when students" physical characteristics vary the most within their classes và among their friends—some may grow so much that, by the over of the school year, they may be too large for the desks they were in September. Others may change more slowly.

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Early adolescence often brings with it new concerns about toàn thân image and appearance. Both girls and boys who never before gave much thought to lớn their looks may suddenly spend hours primping, worrying và complaining—about being too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny or too pimply. Body toàn thân parts may grow at different times & rates. Hands & feet, for example, may grow faster than arms and legs. Because movement of their bodies requires coordination of toàn thân parts— and because these parts are of changing proportions-young adolescents may be clumsy và awkward in their physical activities


The rate at which physical growth & development takes place also can influence other parts of a young teen"s life. An 11-year-old girl who has already puberty will have different interests than will a girl who does not vị so until she"s 14. Young teens who bloom very early or very late may have special concerns. Late bloomers (especially boys) may feel they can"t compete in sports with more physically classmates. Early bloomers (especially girls) may be into adult situations before they are emotionally or mentally able lớn handle them. The effect of the age on the beginning for physical changes in puberty & the ways in which friends, classmates, family and the world around them respond to lớn those changes can have long-lasting effects on an adolescent. Some young teens, however, lượt thích the idea that they are developing differently from their friends. For example, they may enjoy some advantages, especially in sports, over classmates who mature later.

Whatever the rate of growth, many young teens have an unrealistic view of themselves and to be that differences in growth rates are normal.

Emotional Changes

Most experts believe that the idea of young teens being by their "raging hormones" is Nonetheless, this age can be one of mood swings, sulking, a craving for privacy và short tempers. Young children are not able lớn think far ahead, but young teens can và do—which allows them to worry about the future. Some may worry excessively about:

their school performance;their appearance, physical development và popularity;the possible death of a parent;being at school;school violence;not having friends;drugs & drinking;hunger và poverty in the country;their inability to get a good job;nuclear bombs và terrorists attacks on the country;the divorce of their parents; anddying.

Many young teens are very self-conscious. And, because they are experiencing dramatic physical & emotional changes, they are often overly sensitive about themselves. They may worry about personal qualities or "defects" that are major lớn them, but are hardly noticeable to others. (Belief: "I can"t go to the các buổi party tonight because everyone will laugh at this zit on my forehead." Facts: The pimple is tiny và hidden by hair.) A young teen also can be caught up in himself. He may believe that he is the only person who feels the way he feels or has the same experiences, that he is so special that no one else, particularly his family, can understand him. This belief can contribute to lớn feelings of loneliness và isolation. In addition, a young teen"s focus on herself has implications for how she mixes with family & friends. (" I can"t be seen going to a movie with my mother !")

Teens" emotions often seem Their actions seem inconsistent. It is normal for young teens khổng lồ swing regularly from being happy to lớn being sad và from feeling smart to feeling dumb. In fact, some think of adolescence as a second toddlerhood. As Carol Bleifield, a middle school counselor in Wisconsin, explains, "One minute, they want to lớn be và taken care of lượt thích a small child. Five minutes later they are pushing adults away, saying, "Let me vì it." It may help if you can help them understand that they are in the midst of some major changes, changes that don"t always move steadily ahead."

In addition to changes in the emotions that they feel, most young teens explore different ways to express their emotions. For example, a child who friends & visitors with enthusiastic hugs may turn into a teen who gives these same people only a small wave or nod of the head. Similarly, hugs & kisses for a parent may be with a pulling away và an, "Oh, Mom!" It"s important to lớn remember, though, that these are usually changes in ways of expressing feelings and not the actual feelings about friends, parents and family.

Be on the lookout for excessive emotional swings or long-lasting sadness in your child. These can suggest severe emotional problems. (For more information, see the Problems section.)

Cognitive Changes

The cognitive or mental, changes that take place in early adolescence may be less easy lớn see, but they can be just as dramatic as physical & emotional changes. During adolescence, most teens make large leaps in the way they think, reason và learn. Younger children to see & touch things to be that they are real. But in early adolescence, children become able to think about ideas and about things that they can"t see or touch. They become better able to think though problems và see the consequences of different points of view or actions. For the first time, they can think about what might be, instead of what is. A 6-year-old thinks a smiling person is happy & a crying person is sad. A 14-year-old may tell you that a sad person smiles khổng lồ hide his true feelings.

The cognitive changes allow young teens to learn more và material in school. They become eager to lớn gain and apply knowl6struyenky.vnge & to consider a range of ideas or options. These mental changes also carry over into their emotional lives. Within the family, for example, the ability khổng lồ reason may change the way a young teen talks to và acts around her parents. She begins lớn anticipate how her parents will react lớn something she says or does và prepares an answer or an explanation.

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In addition, these mental changes lead adolescents lớn consider who they are and who they may be. This is a process identity formation & it is a major activity during adolescence. Most adolescents will explore a range of possible identities. They go through "phases" that to lớn a parent can seem to lớn be ever-changing., adolescents who don"t go through this period of exploration are at greater risk of developing psychological problems, especially depression, when they are adults.

Just as adults, who with more experience & cognitive maturity can struggle with their different roles, adolescents struggle in developing a sense of who they are. They begin lớn realize that they play different roles with different people: son or daughter, friend, teammate, student, worker and so forth.

They begin lớn realize that they play different roles with different people: son or daughter, friend, teammate, student, worker & so forth.

Young teens may be able to think more lượt thích adults, but they still vì chưng not have the experience that is khổng lồ act like adults. As a result, their behavior may be out of step with their ideas. For example, your child may participate eagerly in a walk khổng lồ raise money lớn save the environment—but litter the route she walks with soda cans. Or she may spend an evening on the phone or exchanging e-mails with a friend talking about how they dislike a classmate because she gossips.

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It takes time for young teens and their parents lớn adjust to lớn all these changes. But the changes are also exciting. They allow a young teen to lớn see what she can be lượt thích in the future & to develop plans for becoming that person.

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* Please note: In this booklet, we refer to a child as "her" in some places & "him" in others. We bởi vì this khổng lồ make the booklet easier to lớn read. Please understand, however, that every point that we make is the same for girls and boys.
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