Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size

Growth and Development, Ages 11 to 14 Years - What to Expect

Rapidly changing bodies, confusion, excitement, new social situations, and increased reasoning abilities make ages 11 to 14 a thrilling and sometimes challenging time for children and parents. Watching your child gradually mature is an amazing process. It also can be puzzling for parents who may wonder during this transition, "Do I have a child or an adult?" Since neither is the case, you must continually renegotiate your relationship with and learn about your evolving adolescent.

Although each adolescent develops at his or her individual pace, general growth and development patterns can be grouped into four main categories.

Recommended Related to Children

Dennis and Kimberly Quaid’s Mission

Last November, Dennis and Kimberly Quaid's newborn twins received about 1,000 times the recommended dose of heparin, a drug used to flush out medication IV lines and prevent blood clotting problems, when they were hospitalized for staph infections at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Shortly after the twins were released from the hospital last year (they are now doing fine), Dennis and Kimberly set up The Quaid Foundation (www.thequaidfoundation.org), dedicated to reducing medical mistakes...

Read the Dennis and Kimberly Quaid’s Mission article > >

  • Physical development. Growth spurts occur during the adolescent years, starting at about age 11 in girls and at about age 13 in boys. This rapid growth usually precedes or accompanies puberty, when sex characteristics begin to develop. It is important to reassure your child that his or her physical development is okay, regardless of whether the changes of puberty seem to be occurring earlier or later than average.
  • Cognitive development. This is the process by which the brain develops the abilities to think, learn, reason, and remember. Adolescents typically think in concrete ways but are gradually beginning to grasp abstract and symbolic concepts. Although they understand long-term consequences, they often do not accept that they can be personally affected by them. For example, adolescents may know that too much sun exposure can cause premature aging and skin cancer, but many do not accept that this can happen to them.
  • Emotional and social development. In trying to establish their individuality, adolescents typically distance themselves from parents and prefer being with friends, hanging out in their rooms or listening to music. It is important to continue to include them in family events even if you meet with resistance. Family activities help adolescents develop a strong sense of self. This is especially important at a time when the emotional and social effects of puberty can impact their self-image.
  • Sensory and motor development. Adolescents may be somewhat awkward or clumsy. Their brains need time to adjust to longer limbs and bigger bodies. To help improve coordination and establish healthy habits, encourage regular moderate exercise.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 09, 2013
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    boy on father's shoulder
    Article
     
    Child with red rash on cheeks
    Slideshow
    girl thinking
    Article
     

    Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Tool