Get ready, because the teenage years are here! It is exciting watching your child grow up, but these years are also scary and confusing for teens and parents. Puberty causes lots of changes to your young teenager’s body. Pressure from friends and classmates grows stronger, and hormones cause more mood swings.

Knowing what to expect during these years helps you face the challenges of parenting a young teen. During the teen years it’s important to keep getting yearly Well Child Exams

Here are some normal things that happen to most teens between 12-14 years old.

Look for these developmental changes in early teens*

  • Worries more about body image, looks, and clothes.
  • Has more mood swings. Sometimes seems rude or bad-tempered.
  • Sometimes feels a lot of sadness, depression, or a lack of confidence.
  • More likely to get anxious about doing well in things like sports and school.
  • Shows less affection toward parents. 
  • Cares a lot about what friends and classmates think.
  • Makes more choices for him or herself. 
  • Has a stronger sense of right and wrong.

Encouraging your young teenager’s healthy development

You still play an important part in your child’s life, even during the teenage years. You can help your teenager grow and develop in these ways:

  • Be honest with your teen when talking about sensitive things like drugs, drinking, smoking, and sex.
  • Help your child get enough sleep. Doctors recommend 8-10 hours for young teens. 
  • Know where your teen is and whether or not an adult is there.  
  • Make sure your child continues to wear a seatbelt. Car crashes are the number one cause of death among young teenagers.
  • Eat meals together as a family if possible. This helps teens keep a healthy weight and make better choices about food.

*The milestones listed here are just some of the milestones for children ages 12-14. For a full list of milestones, see the CDC’s Developmental Milestones or talk to your doctor.


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