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Age 12-15 is the period when many things change drastically as children transition from children to teenagers. Starting at age 12 these changes begin with the physical aspect and quickly affect all other parts of a child’s life.
It is a fragile stage of many sudden onsets, and a lot of internal struggles between their choice of family or peers, making their opinions heard or jumping on the band wagon etc.
On top of all that they have to deal with their flailing self confidence and competition with their friends and trying to maintain a status at school.
All these changes are split into more specific categories within which the changes take place
Physically the changes that take place at age 12 are very challenging for kids as they are usually apparent to others and shake the children’s confidence. The onset of adolescence effects the children’s weight and height. This differs from one kid to another. Some lose while others gain weight. Some shoot up in height while others stay the same. Acne starts appearing at this age with certain types of skin, which may need a special diet and/or medicine, despite the fact that it clears up eventually kids who have it fail to notice this point and tend to become uncomfortable with their looks. All these unequal changes lead to comparison between peers which cause a lack of confidence in kids who experience the least favorable of onsets.
Sexual maturity is a big part of this age. Girls start reaching it, and parents need to be very informative about what is happening and explain to their children the causes behind it as well as how to deal with it. Boys begin to mature physically and sexually too. These sexual developments increase the likelihood of kids acting on those sexual desires, and it is important to make sure children know the consequences of such acts, like sexual diseases, and the sometimes possible unwanted pregnancy. (Depends if the girl has reached full sexual maturity)
By now they basically have more ability to memorize, think logically about concepts, they are able to analyze their own thinking, and start planning ahead into the future.
Due to all that they have a fair understanding of what’s happening around them, and they become more able to engage in discussions presenting logical facts, in fact they thrive on discussions which can easily end up in arguments as they will insist on their point of view. Parents should try to avoid leading discussions into arguments and appreciate their child’s perspective on the matter.
They start reading more, and learning about things on their own without the need to question others. And through that start forming their own beliefs about life and the world, their beliefs should never be ridiculed, on the contrary they should be encouraged and supported even if they are not the preferred beliefs parents would like them to have.
All the physical changes lead to disrupt emotions. Children at this age can experience sadness and frustration about themselves and their relationship with peers. They start worrying about status and popularity and how their identity is viewed by people surrounding them. They worry about their grades and how well they do at school.
And they can become very withdrawn from their environment; in some cases kids can experience depression at this age.
They usually direct this stress and unstable emotions at authority figures such as parents and teachers. It is important that adults understand that this is normal, but also teach the child to show respect, and not be tolerant with their lack of it.
At this age children become very withdrawn from parents, and view them as an obstacle to their freedom, as well as inevitably “old fashioned”, they tend to be rebellious against anything presented by the parents to stand their own grounds, this is also the stage where children have problems with younger siblings and resent their presence in their lives. All that leads to a much weaker parent-child relationship. Parents need to understand that this isn’t a lack of love, but simply the way children react at this stage in their lives.
They seek companionship from friends, and usually join big groups of people that have both boys and girls. Girls tend to become closer to friends of the same sex, however show more interest in the opposite sex, while boys show less of a preference and are more open to both sexes.
By this age children have a very enlightened idea of what’s right or wrong. And their actions are weighed beforehand so the child is very aware of their doing. They can now come to decisions alone without the aid of adults and understand the implications of those decisions.
They start becoming concerned about treating others fairly and think reasonably about how people around them treat each other.
Lying which occurs often in childhood is no longer a part of their character, and if so it is purposeful and understood by the child as wrong.
In conclusion teenagers as everyone knows can be a handful, and sometimes feel impossible to deal with. No matter what way parents or care givers try to approach the child they seem to be doing it wrong.
What is important to understand is that the physical and emotional changes witch take place during these years are drastic and always feel like way too much for one child to handle, which leads to their emotional ups and downs and their rebellious behavior and lashing out.
Parents need to set limits and clear out certain facts, as well as teach the child that consequences are due after wrong actions, at the same time they need to understand that as hard as the situation gets, it is a stage which if handled the wrong way can leave long term effects on a child’s whole personality, while if handled the right way can pass smoothly.