5 Developmental Milestones: 11 - 12 Years Old

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Learn about the social, emotional, physical and intellectual milestones of children in your child's age group.

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Developmental Tasks

Children ages 11 - 12 begin to wave good-bye to childhood and hello to their pre-teen years. These tweens feel more confident learning and applying skills, maintaining self-control, and dealing with peer competition. They also come to accept the rapid changes puberty brings to their bodies.

Physical Growth

Traits: More aware of body and the opposite sex. Girls start to develop secondary sex characteristics. Feelings of self-consciousness and awkwardness are common.

Advice for Parents: Openly and honestly answer questions about bodily changes, the opposite sex, and menstruation. Know where she is and whom she is with. Encourage group activities. Discourage one-on-one dating.

Cognitive Development

Traits: Defies adult rules and logic. Wants to earn money. Critical of self. Growing interest in world and community.

Advice for Parents: Avoiding acting defensive. Problem-solve with pre-teen on ways to earn an income. Help youth evaluate herself more objectively. Support community interests.

Social Growth

Traits: Critical of adults. Obnoxious to live with. Desires unreasonable amount of independence. Passionate about organized teams and competitive games.

Advice for Parents: Be tolerant of your pre-teen. Set limits. Offer opportunities for independence and responsibility whenever possible. Support involvement in clubs and sports.

Emotional Characteristics

Traits: Anger, moodiness, and exaggerations are common. Resents being told what to do. Experiences fears, worries, and tears.

Advice for Parents: Don't overreact to moodiness and dramatized positions. Accept and support your child during times of increased emotion.

Moral Maturation

Traits: Strongly desires to conform to morals of the peer-group .

Advice for Parents: Guide child to explore the morals of a group without disapproval. Help your child understand the consequences of the moral choices she would make on her own and those she would make when part of certain groups. Are the choices and consequences similar, different?

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Possible Setbacks?

The road to becoming a teenager is marked with occasional bumps and unforeseen potholes. Difficulties include: Excessive worries about public appearance and peer competition. Whining. Teasing. Bullying. Rebelling. Lack of friends and interests.

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