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What behaviors should I expect as my student grows from 10 to 14 years old? What are the “red flags” I should catch as he/she goes through these tender years? What’s “normal” and what’s not?
A child moving from fifth grade to eighth grade will experience many physical and emotional changes. They are making a transition from childhood to adolescence. Within this time period, most students will go through puberty which brings not only physical changes but many emotional ones as well. Your child will undoubtedly experience some moodiness, maybe even some withdrawal. Attention will turn from parents to peers, which is a normal developmental process children go through in order to prepare for a world in which they will interact primarily with peers. With this increased attention to peers, students may experience confusion about their identity and/or occasional hurt feelings.
As students search for their identity, expect an increased curiosity about adult situations and issues. Now, more than ever, they need their parents’ guidance to navigate this uncertain terrain.
Stay in close communication with your child; know his/her friends and their parents; always know where they are; check on them; talk to them about difficult situations they may be facing. If you need help or advice, seek out your child’s school counselor. During this time of increased independence for your child, look at the DEGREE of his or her behavior before reacting. Learn the art of under-reacting, which provides a sense of calm and control at a time when kids really need the stability. Relax and enjoy this time of growth for your child.