Preteen Ages 11 – 12

Growing Independence in Pre-Adolescence

This age is complicated by the transition between childhood andadolescence.  At one moment your child may strive forward toward new maturity and independence, and at the next, they will return to more childish behavior and desires. Children at this age may be anxious and impatient to become an adult, often leading them to seek out more independence and rebel against rules that they view they have outgrown.  Make sure that you recognzie their new matuity, but stand firm on rules that you don”t feel that they are ready to be without. Pick your battles, so that they know that you are not just making rules to “ruin thier lives.”

Make sure that your children know tactics to say no to peer pressure.  It has been shown that children who are involved in extracurricular activities, have a good relationship with their parents, do well in school, and have good self-esteem, are less likely to do drugs. It has also been found that teenagers who have a realistic knowledge of drug abuse and what it can do to a person’s life are more likely to avoid drug use.

Preparing for Puberty

Prepare your child for puberty! Even as young as ten, some children may begin to show signs of puberty, especially among girls. Don’t just leave sex education to the schools; bring up these topics early and casually, so that your child knows that it is alright to ask questions and express curiosity about their body. If you make it awkward, they willbe less likely to come to you when they have other questions, which means that they will find other ways to answer those questions.