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.