Tag Archives: teen support

20 Mar

Growing Into a Teen: 5 Areas of Teen Development

Did you know that development for this age group actually starts around age 10? Initial changes in body, mood, thought, self-image, identity and perception are already happening! Kids in this age group undergo many changes socially, physically, cognitively, emotionally, and sexually. Some of these changes include:


  • “More concern about body image, looks, and clothes.
  • Focus on themselves; going back and forth between high expectations and lack of confidence.
  • Experience more moodiness.
  • Show more interest in and influence by peer group.
  • Express less affection toward parents; sometimes might seem rude or short-tempered.
  • Feel stress from more challenging schoolwork.
  • Develop eating problems.
  • Feel a lot of sadness or depression, which can lead to poor grades at school, alcohol or drug use, unsafe sex, and other problems.”



“The teenage years bring many changes, not only physically, but also mentally and socially. During these years, adolescents increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually make plans and set long-term goals. Each child may progress at a different rate and may have a different view of the world. In general, the following are some of the abilities that may be evident in your adolescent:

  • Develops the ability to think abstractly
  • Is concerned with philosophy, politics, and social issues
  • Thinks long-term
  • Sets goals
  • Compares one’s self to one’s peers”


 Learn more about Adolescent Neurodevelopment on the World Health Organization website.


“Communicating your love for your child is the single most important thing you can do. Children decide how they feel about themselves in large part by how their parents react to them. For this reason, it’s important for parents to help their children feel good about themselves. It is also important to communicate your values and to set expectations and limits, such as insisting on honesty, self-control and respect for others, while still allowing teenagers to have their own space.”



These types of changes lead to a maturation and can be seen in early, normal or late development. Everyone’s body grows at it’s own pace. Physical changes can include: growing facial hair, change in voice, growth in height or weight, and changes in hormonal cycles. Body shape can also change during this time. Sometimes there is a period of awkwardness as the body and the mind try to catch up with each other, or their peers. Girls are seen to generally develop earlier than boys.

“During adolescence, young people go through many changes as they move into physical maturity. Early, prepubescent changes occur when the secondary sexual characteristics appear.


  • Girls may begin to develop breast buds as early as 8 years old. Breasts develop fully between ages 12 and 18.
  • Pubic hair, armpit and leg hair usually begin to grow at about age 9 or 10, and reach adult patterns at about 13 to 14 years.
  • Menarche (the beginning of menstrual periods) typically occurs about 2 years after early breast and pubic hair appear. It may occur as early as age 9, or as late as age 16. The average age of menstruation in the United States is about 12 years.
  • Girls growth spurt peaks around age 11.5 and slows around age 16.


  • Boys may begin to notice that their testicles and scrotum grow as early as age 9.
  • Soon, the penis begins to lengthen. By age 17 or 18, their genitals are usually at their adult size and shape.
  • Pubic hair growth, as well as armpit, leg, chest, and facial hair, begins in boys at about age 12, and reaches adult patterns at about 17 to 18 years.
  • Boys do not start puberty with a sudden incident, like the beginning of menstrual periods in girls. Having regular nocturnal emissions (wet dreams) marks the beginning of puberty in boys. Wet dreams typically start between ages 13 and 17. The average age is about 14 and half years.
  • Boys’ voices change at the same time as the penis grows. Nocturnal emissions occur with the peak of the height spurt.
  • Boys’ growth spurt peaks around age 13 and a half and slows around age 18.”



Sexual changes not only happen for kids in this age range physically but also mentally and socially. Feeling of sexual attraction develops, as well as awareness about the body changes in themselves and others.

“During the teen years, the hormonal and physical changes of puberty usually mean people start noticing an increase in sexual feelings. It’s common to wonder and sometimes worry about new sexual feelings.

It takes time for many people to understand who they are and who they’re becoming. Part of that involves better understanding of their own sexual feelings and who they are attracted to.”




The Success Principles for Teens: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More.

Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings


MedlinePlus.gov has articles and resources for both parents and teens on their Teen/Adolescent Development resources page.

The CDC.gov has positive parenting tips and resources for both Young Teens and Teenagers.

Read Understanding Your Teenagers Emotional Health on the FamilyDoctor.org.

KidsHealth.org has an article on Sexual Attraction and Orientation written for teens.

The University of Minnesota has an article on the Biological and Physical Changes that teens experience written for parents of teenagers.

The World Health Organization has an article on Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Changes.

Visit the University of Maryland Medical Center page on Adolescent Development.

Read The Teenage Brain Is Wired to Learn—So Make Sure Your Students Know It on Edutopia.org.


15 Nov

4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Tween or Teen

1. Talk with your kids: Keep an open dialogue about the changes that are happening to them physically, emotionally and socially. Don’t accuse but rather ask open-ended questions that will illicit thoughtful discussion by both parties. Ask your child if they have any questions you can answer for them. Don’t tease, but instead, normalize the changes. If you’re not sure how to answer a question your child is asking, try looking up the answer together. Or talk to a professional together to get the answer. If your child doesn’t like to talk, ask 1 or 2 open-ended questions and build on that when you can. Normalizing changes and situations can be very soothing for children, even if they act like they don’t need it or don’t care.

Here’s one great resource: 5 Secrets for Communicating with Teenagers
By Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC from EmpoweringParents.com.

2. Schedule family time together: Even for an hour or two. Quality is the key, not quantity. Keep routines the same and make yourself available to offer help, even if it’s driving places or hiring a tutor for a subject. Teens are launching developmentally. That means they leave (in a variety of ways) and return. This process is similar to a bird learning to fly out of the nest. Most people think that’s when a parent should leave their child alone but actually the opposite is true. Be available and spend time with your child. Stay engaged and find a way to let them know you care and are there. They need to know you are present in the relationship and that home is still a safe place to return to so they can keep trying to launch. And remember, they still need your support, even when they pushing you away. Don’t take it personally.

More about this: 3 Tips to Help Nourish the Family by Karen Atkinson on EtainLifeCoaching.com.

3. Monitor social media: Check out who is talking to whom and how your child feels about this dialogue. Ask questions to get your child’s perspective. Don’t make it about not trusting them. Tell them it’s your job to make sure everything is ok socially and to monitor it to some extent. Tell them that you care and this is important to you. That’s normal for a parent to do. If there’s a problem, listen to the problem your child is identifying and help find a solution. Ask questions. All sorts of things happen with “posting” these days including comments and pictures. What does your child post? What kinds of messages and pictures do they receive back from others? Use these situations as learning opportunities for your child. And be patient. Our generations didn’t have to deal with all of these dynamics. This is new territory for everyone.

Here’s an example: Are sitcoms harmful to children? Do they teach sassy, disrespectful behavior? What are some alternatives? from CommonSenseMedia.org.

4. Moderate the amount of violence your child gets exposed to:
Between TV, phones, iPads/Tablets, gaming consoles and computers, kids are seeing images at a record level. The amount of time children spend in front of a screen has increased, as well as the exposure to violence. What they see matters to development and how the brain processes information. Moderate what you can. Pick your battles and stand by them. It’s important to teach children boundaries, and it’s ok to limit or have them choose what they can and can’t see. These exercises are modeling for them how they will some day set boundaries for themselves. These exercises also teach them how to make choices. There is a reason why games and moves are rated. And watch little brother or sister. They can be adversely influenced and exposed at a much younger age simply because they have older siblings. It’s easy to let go in this area and checkout. But don’t. It matters.

“A 2010 review by psychologist Craig A. Anderson and others concluded that “the evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.” Anderson’s earlier research showed that playing violent video games could increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in daily life. “One major conclusion from this and other research on violent entertainment media is that content matters,” says Anderson.

Here’s one reason why: Does exposure to violent movies or video games make kids more aggressive? from CommonSenseMedia.org


5 Secrets for Communicating with Teenagers
By Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC from EmpoweringParents.com.

How Parents Can Improve Communication with Teenagers by Dr. Steven Richfield on HealthyPlace.com.

The Parents Role on TeachingSexualHealth.ca.

Teenagers and communication on BetterHealth.vic.gov.au.

16 Apps and Websites Kids Are Heading to After Facebook on CommonSenseMedia.org.

10 Most Violent Video Games of 2016 (and What to Play Instead) by Jeff Haynes on CommonSenseMedia.org.

Is it OK to let my kid play Minecraft for hours? on CommonSenseMedia.org.

Violence in the Media (Psychologists Study Potential Harmful Effects) on the APA.org.

Violence on TV and How It Can Affect Your Children on the Huffingtonpost.com.

Copyright 2019 Etain Services.