Teenagers (12-14 Years)

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.

Teenagers 12-14 Years Positive Parenting American SPCC
Teenagers 12-14 Years Emotional and Social Needs Positive Parenting American SPCC

Emotional/Social Changes (12-14 Year-Olds)

Teenagers in this age group might:

  • 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.

Thinking & Learning (12-14 Years)

Teenagers in this age group might:

  • Have more ability for complex thought.
  • Be better able to express feelings through talking.
  • Develop a stronger sense of right and wrong.

Positive Parenting Tips (12-14 Years)

Following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your teen during this time:

  • Be honest and direct with your teen when talking about sensitive subjects such as 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 him to make his own decisions.
  • Respect your teen’s opinions and take into account her thoughts and feelings. It is important that she knows you are listening to her.
  • When there is a conflict, be clear about goals and expectations (like getting good grades, keeping things clean, and showing respect), but allow your teen input on how to reach those goals (like when and how to study or clean).
Teenagers 12-14 Years Teens and Technology Positive Parenting American SPCC

Teens & Technology (12-14 Years)

According to Pew Research Center3 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.

Teens & Safety (12-14 Years)

You play an important role in keeping your teen/child safe―no matter how old he or she is. Here are a few ways to help protect your child:

  • 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 or a skateboard or using inline skates; riding on a motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle; or playing contact sports. Injuries from sports and other activities are common.
  • Talk with your teen about the dangers of drugs, drinking, smoking, and risky sexual activity. Ask him what he/she knows and thinks 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 him/her to make unhealthy choices.
  • Know where your teen is and whether an adult is present. Make plans with him/her to call you to check in and know where you can find them/what time you expect them home.
  • Set clear rules for your teen for when they are home alone. Talk about such issues as having friends at the house, how to handle situations that can be dangerous (emergencies, fire, drugs, sex, etc.), and completing homework or household tasks.
Teenagers 12-14 Years Teens and Child Safety Positive Parenting American SPCC
Teenagers 12-14 Years Healthy Bodies Positive Parenting American SPCC

Healthy Bodies (12-14 Years)

  • Encourage your teen to be physically active. He/she might join a team sport or take 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.
  • Meal time is very important for families. 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 for your child to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of quality programming, at home, school, or after-school care.

Click for References & Sources

  1. Information Courtesy of CDC.
  2. Positive Parenting Tips Sheet for Children 12-14 Years CDC.
  3. Pew Research Center

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