Parent Information (11 - 14 years)

General Information

Adolescence can be a roller-coaster ride. We encourage families to keep open communication with their children as they become young men and women. While your child is making more independent decisions, your influence remains crucial. Your unconditional love will be fundamental to evolving self-image.

Help your child deal with stress by teaching him how to think through solutions and how to see things from other points of view. Teach him that many difficult times are often temporary.

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Puberty

During puberty, not only do children developing more independent thinking, but they also change physically. The timing of these physical changes varies between individuals, which can be a source of stress. Talk to your child about what to expect. For girls, puberty usually involves breast development around age 9-10. For boys, testicular enlargement occurs around age 11. The biggest change in height occurs about 6-12 months before menses for girls, while boys have a later growth spurt in line with the later onset of physical changes.

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Discipline

Clearly establish a set of rules and expectations. Praise your child’s efforts and achievements, and continue to monitor schoolwork as your child takes more responsibility for her work. Continue to limit screen time (TV, video, DVD, computer, etc) by setting rules and suggesting alternatives.

Try to ensure your child is getting enough sleep. Many children stay up late and get up early for school. They often try to catch up on sleep during weekends. Encourage earlier bedtimes.

Talk to your children about risk-taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, as well as sex. You are a much better source of information than their friends. You can help them make a plan to resist pressures and avoid risky situations.

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Dietary Needs

This is a good time to revisit how to eat a well-balanced diet and get daily exercise. Family meals are helpful for good eating habits and daily communication.

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