Child Growth Stages: 11-14 Years

Your children's doctor in Greensboro provides the following tips that may be of value when your child reaches the Early Adolescence - 11 to 14 year growth stage.

If you aren't already, be sure you're serving healthy meals and that the family is having those meals together at the table. Dinner time is valuable in that the family is spending time together and it's a wonderful opportunity for each individual to join in the discussion. Turn off the television or any other distractions and actually talk to one another. You might also consider having your children help with the preparation of the evening meal. Your children will look forward to the time spent together, playing an important role as a member of the family and taking part in dinner time discussions.

Is there a television, a video game system and/or a computer in your child's bedroom? These are not only distractions for your child they can become a way to pass the time and or a danger if your child's activities are not monitored. Use of these electronics should be limited to 2 hours per day and an "open door" policy while these electronics are used should be implemented. This is especially true when it's time to do homework.

Physical activity is extremely important for your child at this stage. As stated in the previous paragraph, your child can easily get wrapped up in the time spent watching TV, playing video games or surfing the internet rather than being outside in the fresh air getting much needed exercise. Spending too much time alone in his bedroom could lead to a sedentary - and unhealthy - lifestyle.

If your child hasn't already been introduced to drug and alcohol use at this stage, know that it will occur. Kids are curious and while some peers will reject the offer of drugs and alcohol outright, there are others who will embellish tales of the wonders of getting high. If your child rides the bus to school, don't be surprised if another student offers your child some type of drug. Children often accept what they are offered in order to prevent being ridiculed. If you've instilled self-confidence in your child, it is safe to bet that any offer for drugs or alcohol will be rejected.

Speaking of curiosity, you should be open to discussions regarding relationships and sex. Safe sex is an extremely important subject to discuss. Make sure that your child knows that the only way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases one-hundred percent is abstinence.

Do you know your child's friends? Do you know the friend's parents? Do you share the same values? Don't assume that your child will adopt your values when there are others who also have a big influence on your child. It's important that your child be able to make up his own mind and make more of his own decisions but it is important that you help guide him through those decisions.

If you need help discussing any of these issues with your child, Northwest Pediatrics - your children's doctor in Greensboro - will provide you with reliable information that can help you. For more valuable suggestions from your children's doctor in Greensboro, be sure to download and print our parent handout for 11 to 14 year-olds.