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Growth and Development, Ages 11 to 14 Years - Topic Overview

How can you help your child during these years?

Being the parent of an adolescent can be challenging. Even if your child pushes you away at times, you still play a very big role in your child’s life. Try to stay positive and keep the lines of communication open. While it is good to let your child make decisions, realize that adolescents need and want limits that are fair and firm.

To promote healthy development:

  • Help your child build healthy eating habits and a healthy body image. Serve balanced meals, and keep lots of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods in the house. Be a model of good eating and exercise habits for your child.
  • Urge your child to get some exercise every day.
  • Help your adolescent get enough rest. Set limits on phone, computer, and TV use after a set evening hour.
  • Encourage mature thinking. Involve your child in setting house rules. Talk about current issues together. Brainstorm different ways to solve problems, and discuss their possible outcomes.
  • Talk about sex and other adult issues in an open and natural way. Make this an ongoing conversation. It is best to begin this discussion before puberty so the child knows what to expect. If you don't feel able to do this, ask for help from your doctor, a trusted friend or family member, or a counselor. Don't let your child rely on information from TV or other kids.

Throughout these years, it is important to let adolescents know they are loved and accepted, no matter what happens, even if at times you don't agree with what they do or how they act.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about adolescent growth and development:

Seeing a doctor:

Ongoing concerns:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 28, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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