The Complete Guide to Parenting a 14-Year-Old

Parenting a 14-year-old presents new joys, as well as some special challenges.
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Most 14 year olds are starting to adapt to life as a teenager, which means there are some special joys, as well as specific challenges in the parenting department. Understanding what’s going on with your child’s development is key to successfully parenting a 14-year-old.

Emotional Development

Throughout middle adolescence, mood swings are especially common. Your teen may be particularly irritable toward you.

Your 14-year-old is also likely to try and rebel against the rules and values you’ve established. He may experiment with different personas as he tries to answer the question, “Who am I?”

Many teens become self-conscious around this age. Clothing and body appearance can be more important than ever. Eating issues and underlying mental health problems may emerge around the age of 14.

Social Development

Friends are really important at this time, and teens who struggle forming and maintaining friendships may feel particularly lonely. Not fitting in with peers can be a major problem and it can affect a teen’s self-esteem.

Peer pressure is a common issue around this age. Teens who struggle with self-esteem issues may fear being rejected by peers for not going along with the crowd.

Cognitive Development

Most 14 year olds demonstrate the ability to think about things from a different perspective. Your teen may start to rebel against laws, rules, or school policies as he develops his own understanding of how the world works.

Your teen may should be able to recognize more complex morality issues. He’s likely to start recognizing times that breaking the rules could be the ‘right’ thing to do.

Physical Development

Physical development can be quite rapid for 14 year olds, especially boys. Many of them hit a growth spurt around this age, and grow several inches seemingly overnight.

Boys also develop a lot of muscle mass around age 14 and their voice begins to deepen. Boys who don’t experience such changes may struggle a bit with their self-esteem.

A lot of girls reach their full height around the age of 14. Most have started menstruating by this age. Girls who feel self-conscious may exhibit changes in posture or walking style.

Tips for Parenting a 14-Year-Old

Balance your 14-year-old’s desire for freedom with plenty of guidance. Help him make good decision, but give him the chance to make a few mistakes on his own as well. Here are some tips for successfully parenting your teen:

  • Maintain an open line of communication. Even if your teen answers you with one word responses, keep talking. Ask questions and show a genuine interest in your teen’s opinions.
  • Provide reassurance about physical changes. Many teens are insecure about their rapidly changing bodies and they often compare themselves to their peers. Reassure your teen that his physical development is normal.
  • Talk about safety issues. A lot of 14-year-old kids are risk takers. Talk to your teen about basic safety issues - like buckling his seatbelt and wearing a helmet. Also, discuss the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and smoking.
  • Monitor your teen’s activities. Make sure you know what your teen is doing but don’t hover too much. Monitor his activities and offer guidance without being overly intrusive.
  • Establish clear rules and limits. Create clear rules about things like curfew and homework. Be willing to hear your teen’s arguments, but stick to your limits when potential safety issues arise.
  • Follow through with consequences when necessary. When your teen breaks the rules, provide consistent consequences. Grounding and adding extra responsibilities can be very effective discipline strategies.

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