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Pre-teen development: what to expect


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Raising children seems to be a never ending series of milestones and defining moments and it is a comfort to know you can prepare for each one by knowing what to expect.

Puberty can be a difficult time for both boys and girls and parents can expect to see significant changes occurring in girls from around the ages of 10 and 13, and in boys from 11 and 12. Physical changes can happen as early as 8 years and as late as 14.

Pre-Teen Girls

Development in pre-teen girls includes breast growth, changes in body shape and the beginning of menstruation. If it has not already occurred by this stage, there will be an increase in the presence of pubic hair and increased perspiration may cause noticeable body odour. Although this is an exciting time for your daughter, she may find not be entirely comfortable with all these changes, but you can reassure her that this is all part of growing up and puberty. It is important to make your daughter aware of the need for increased personal hygiene care at this time which will assist in making her more confident about her changing body. This need not be as clinical as it sounds and your daughter will undoubtedly enjoy choosing new products which indicate that she is becoming a woman. This may also be a time of growth spurts.

Pre teen development girl upset

Pre-Teen Boys

Your son can expect to experience growth of penis, testes and an increase in height. Erections can now be accompanied by ejaculation and as well as pubic hair growth, boys will notice an increase in facial hair. Pre-teen boys’ voices may also “break” at this time, resulting in the noticeable deepening of the voice. Similarly to girls, boys may find these changes confusing or uncomfortable, but with reassurances, your child can enjoy this period of their life and embrace entering the early stages of adulthood.

Emotional Minefield

As a parent, it may be difficult to remember exactly how it felt to be a pre-teen but by empathising with your child you can make the transition from childhood to teenage years easier for both of you. Pre-teens are most certainly not adults and still require your guidance, especially as they may not yet be fully aware of the consequences of their actions. Increased responsibility in a safe environment can help your child discover new problem-solving skills.

You may notice emotional outbursts as your child matures and develops ways to express their views. Discussions may turn into arguments as your child attempts to be more independent. Pair this with a pre-teen’s desire to fit in with their peer group and you, as a parent, may experience challenging behaviour from your growing child. This is a time to support, guide and effectively discipline your child as they are learning more about themselves as well as acquiring the skills needed to express themselves in a more mature manner.

boys puberty

Pre-teens seek the advice of friends and are keen to fit in well with their social circle and it is therefore important that they know they can also approach you should they need advice or have any questions about their development. Children are increasingly internet savvy and as their sexual and social intrigue increases it is important they acquire appropriate and correct information.




About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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