Positive Parenting Tips for Teenagers (12-14 Years)
Positive parenting leads to positive futures for generations to come.
American SPCC provides parenting education and support as the most effective way to support families and nurture children.
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TEENAGERS (12-14 YEARS) DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES
This is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes.
Hormones change as puberty begins. Most boys grow facial and pubic hair and their voices deepen. Most girls develop pubic hair and breasts and start their period. They might be worried about these changes and how they are looked at by others.
This also will be a time when your teen might face peer pressure to try alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs, or engage in sexual activity.
Other challenges can include eating disorders, depression, and family problems. At this age, teens make more of their own choices about friends, sports, studying, and school. They become more independent, with their own personality and interests, but it’s important to remember that they still need their parents as much as ever before.
CHANGES (12-14 YEAR-OLDS)
- Show 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 school work.
- 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.
POSITIVE PARENTING TECHNIQUES FOR TEENAGERS (12-14 YEARS)
You don’t have to be a perfect parent to make a positive impact on your child. Positive parenting at this age can be as simple as showing an interest in their lives. Find some ideas for implementing positive parenting with your teenager below.
- Be honest and direct with your teen when talking about sensitive subjects like drugs, drinking, smoking, and sex.
- Meet and get to know your teen’s friends.
- Show an interest in your teen’s school life.
- Help your teen make healthy choices while encouraging them to make their own decisions.
- Respect your teen’s opinions and take into account their thoughts and feelings. It is important that they know you are listening to them.
- When there is conflict, be clear about goals and expectations (like getting good grades, keeping things clean, and showing respect), but allow your teen to give input on how to reach those goals (like when and how to study or clean.)
TEENS & TECHNOLOGY (12-14 YEARS)
According to Pew Research Center in 2013, smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the internet is pervasive. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. These are among the new findings from a nationally representative survey of 802 teens ages 12-17 and their parents which shows that:
- 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of those own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
- One in four teens (23%) have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
- Nine in ten (93%) teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.
KEEPING YOUR TEEN SAFE (12-14 YEARS)
- Make sure your teen knows about the importance of wearing seat belts. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 12- to 14-year-olds.
- Encourage your teen to wear a helmet when riding a bike, skateboarding, or skating; riding on a motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle; or playing contact sports. Injuries from sports and activities are common.
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of drugs, drinking, smoking, and risky sexual activity. Ask them what they know and think about these issues, and share your thoughts and feelings with them. Listen to what they say and answer questions honestly and directly.
- Talk with your teen about the importance of having friends who are interested in positive activities. Encourage your teen to avoid peers who pressure them to make unhealthy choices.
- Know where your teen is and whether an adult is present. Make plans with them to call you to check in. Know where you can find them and what time you expect them home.
- Set clear rules for your teen when they are home alone. Talk about issues like having friends at the house, how to handle situations that can be dangerous (emergencies, fire, drugs, sex, etc.), and completing homework or household tasks.
KEEPING YOUR TEENAGER HEALTHY (12-14 YEARS)
- Encourage your teen to be physically active. They may be interested in joining a team sport or taking up an individual sport. Helping with household tasks such as mowing the lawn, walking the dog, or washing the car will also keep your teen active.
- Make meal time a priority. Eating together helps teens make better choices about the foods they eat, promotes healthy weight, and gives your family members time to talk with each other.
- Limit screen time to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of quality programming.
YOUR TEEN WILL LIKELY:
- Have more ability for complex thought.
- Be better able to express feelings through talking.
- Develop a stronger sense of right and wrong.
As children enter the preteen and teenage years, quality communication and connection can feel more difficult to achieve. But parents and caregivers often find success when they adjust their approach and expectations for communicating with their growing child. Frameworks such as these 5 approaches to communicating with your teen more effectively can be helpful in reducing conflict and the need for discipline, while also giving opportunity for deeper connections.
Resources like these are provided by American SPCC – a national nonprofit dedicated to building positive childhoods for all children by empowering parents and caregivers with research-backed education and support.
This work is made possible by passionate donors and community advocates. Learn how you can get involved and support the mission here.