Every child is different. This chart gives general milestones in a child's intellectual development. The information below lets you know what to expect.
Remember, no two children have exactly the same makeup or the same needs. Your child is an individual with his or her own special growth pattern. Comparing your child's growth and development with other children is not a good idea and usually causes needless worry.
Never hesitate to ask for guidance if you or your children are facing specific problems.
Checklist --Traits of the adolescent who is doing well:
Is in good health or functions up to capacity if has a chronic condition; has good food habits.
Believes he/she will do well.
Has self-confidence and a sense of pride and competence.
Enjoys close interactions with peers (especially same-sex friendships).
Enjoys recreational activities.
Recognizes the need for rules and fair play.
Is energetic, enthusiastic and vital.
Has reasonable athletic ability.
Has dramatic, artistic or musical talents.
Does well in school.
Takes appropriate responsibility for homework with little prodding.
Assumes responsibility for his/her own health.
Is comfortable in asking parents questions.
Generally cooperative and considerate, although at times is inconsistent and unpredictable
Parenting and Behavioral
Basic survival strategies for parents of adolescents are (courtesy of the Parent and Child Guidance Center, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania): 1. Choose your battles carefully.Settle for something less than perfection on issues that don't really matter. Remain calm, and don't match his/her level of emotional intensity. 2. Be available to your adolescentwithout directing or controlling him/her. The time when they want you is often at teen's choosing, not yours. Be there if possible. 3. Help him/her regulate his/her lifeand consider alternatives. 4. Establish networks with parents of your teen's friends, even if they are new to you. 5. Let teens know they can always call you when in trouble, without fear of recrimination.
Parents should remember that adolescents can be especially worried about their bodies, diets and sexual abilities. Will they be normal? Can they perform? How will others perceive them? Parents need to remember that the adolescent's interest in body changes and sexual topics is a natural, normal development and does not necessarily indicate movement into sexual activity. One must take care not to label emerging instinct/behaviors as "wrong," "sick" or "immoral". Nor should parents jump to conclusions about behaviors based solely on hunches or feelings.
Increased emotionality is a hallmark of the period. Teens can be excessively modest, insecure and feel isolated and alone, as they discover the tenuousness of their peer relationships.
Adolescents usually require privacy in which to contemplate changes taking place within their own bodies. Ideally the youth should be allowed to have his/her own room, but if this is not possible some private space needs to be made available so the teen can go and not be bothered by older or younger siblings or parents!
Teasing an adolescent child about physical changes is inappropriate, because it may cause self-consciousness and embarrassment.
The teenager's quest for independence is normal development and need not be looked upon by the parent as rejection or a loss of control. Examples include (1) young teenagers may not want to join the family on all family outings; (2) Young teens may not want their parents around the school at social functions as chaperones; (3) Young teens may begin to confide in an adult outside the family rather than in mothers or fathers as in previous years.
To be of most benefit to the growing adolescent, parents need to remain a constant and consistent figure, available as a sounding board for the youth's ideas without dominating and overtaking the emerging, independent identity of the young person.
Most 14-year olds focus on social life, friends and school. They have chosen friendships with members of the same sex. Sometimes, a teenager's best friends become a parent substitute and confidante. These friendships, however, may change abruptly, causing hurt feelings.
Teens need to learn to respect the rights and needs of others, follow family rules, such as those for curfews, television viewing, and chores. Share in household chores.
Parents need to serve as a positive ethical and behavioral role model.
Teach the adolescent techniques for resisting peer pressure.
Parents should learn the signs of adolescent depression and drug abuse!
Sexuality for the Adolescent
Find a supportive adult who can give you accurate information about sex.
Ask your doctor about any questions you have about body changes during puberty, including variations from individual to individual.
Ask any questions you have about birth control or sexually transmitted diseases.
Having sexual feelings is normal, but you should wait to have sex.
Not having sexual intercourse is the safest way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection/AIDS.
Learn about ways to say no to sex. If you have already said "yes," talk with your doctor about ways to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
Pay attention to personal safety from physical or sexual assault.
If you are confused or concerned about your sexual feelings (for the same sex or opposite sex), talk to a trusted adult or a health professional.
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