What to Expect: Age 14
Most parents can remember their teenage years as a time filled with turmoil and awkward growth. This can be a tricky age for parents who want to understand their children, even while their teenagers attempt to push them away. You may suddenly find that you have no idea what’s going on in your child’s life. Is what they’re experiencing actually normal?
If you aren’t certain what to expect from your fourteen-year-old, you’re not alone. Many parents are uncertain exactly what they should look for at this stage of development. To help curb your concerns, these benchmarks will help you determine how your child is doing.
Social and Emotional Development
Peer pressure is the largest danger that parents need to watch out for this year. Because children at this age value acceptance from their peers, their friends may be able to convince them to make poor decisions. Parents should take note of which friends could be a bad influence and be sure to keep the lines of communication open with their child.
Friendships are becoming far more important to kids this year, and many children prefer time with friends over time with their family. Their relationships are becoming more complicated and intense.
Emotionally, your child may be all over the place. They may experience drastic mood swings that make them more volatile than they have been in the past. Simple gestures may make them ecstatic while offhand remarks could reduce them to tears. You will need to be very patient with your child and help them sort through their excess emotions.
At this age, children are still working on developing a sense of morality. They may be able to categorize some things as either right or wrong, but this skill is just now fully developing. Children can think about things on a deeper level, applying abstract reasoning to simple daily problems. These skills can work together to help children think more clearly about their actions and make better decisions.
A growth spurt is well underway by fourteen years old. Your child may grow a few inches taller this year. However, they are also developing more of their sex characteristics which can be an awkward and embarrassing time for teens. Reassure them that their development is perfectly normal, even if it doesn’t look the same as their friend’s development.
Children at this age need a lot of reassurance and encouragement from their parents, even if they pretend to spurn your affection. Parents should take the time to become actively involved in their child’s life now in order to guide teens in making better decisions. This is a crucial age for many of the most important stages of your child’s development into an independent person. Set aside some time today to help your child develop their own sense of independence.