EARLY ADOLESCENCE (ages 11-14)
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EARLY ADOLESCENCE (ages 11-14)
- Wide variation in onset of puberty and growth spurt.
- Appetite increases during growth spurts and decreases markedly between them.
- Increased need for sleep.
- Evident sexual development, voice changes, and increased body odor are common.
- Individual variation between some children who are still focused on logic and others who are able to combine logical and abstract thinking.
- Some early adolescents can't think ahead to consequences of their actions.
- Developing new thinking skills, such as thinking more about possibilities, thinking more abstractly, thinking more about the process of thinking itself, thinking in multiple dimensions, and seeing things as relative rather than absolute.
- Practicing new thinking skills through humor and by arguing with parents and others. Use of humor focused on satire, sarcasm, and sex (often irritating to adults).
- Continuing egocentrism. Often believes self to be invulnerable to negative events.
- Increasing ability to take perspective of others into account with own perspective.
- In addition to concern about gaining social approval, morals begin to be based on respect for the social order and agreements between people: "law and order" morality.
- Begins to question social conventions and re-examine own values and moral/ethical principles, sometimes resulting in conflicts with parents.
- Self-image can be challenged by body changes during puberty and social comparisons.
- Youth begin long-term process of establishing own identity separate from family.
- With the onset of puberty, many girls experience pressure to conform to gender stereotypes, might show less interest in math and science.
- With puberty, normal increases in girls' body fat can impact body image and self-concept negatively for many. Both boys and girls might be concerned with skin problems, height, weight, and overall appearance.
Psychological and Emotional Traits
- Intense self-focus.
- Worrying about what others think about them.
- Increased desire for privacy and sensitivity about body.
- Frequent mood swings with changes in activities and contexts. Too much time spent alone can contribute to moodiness.
- Height of forgetfulness.
Relationship to Parents and Other Adults
- Changes in own and parental expectations alter previous patterns of relationships with parents, often resulting in greater conflict.
- Greater focus on peer friendships as youth develops an identity outside of the role of a child in a family.
- Often rebuffs physical affection (but still needs it).
- Increased interest in making own decisions; benefits from increased opportunities to make own decisions within scope of current abilities.
- Youth objects more often to parental limitations (but still needs some), resulting in conflict.
- New thinking abilities are practiced in increased use of humor and arguments (or "talking back") with parents/other adults, which may result in conflicts.
- parental listening skills and nurturing continue to be important.
- Changes due to puberty and peer reactions commonly alter peer relationships.
- Friendships still begin with perceived commonalities, but increasingly involve sharing of values and personal confidences.
- Might develop cliques of three to six friends (usually same gender), providing greater sense of security. Antisocial cliques can increase antisocial behaviors.
- Romantic crushes common, and some dating begins.
Information from Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.