Tips for Preteens and Their Parents

This information is part of the series "Healthy Teens, Healthy Futures," offering parents and their children tips on growing and staying healthy through the teen years.

Healthy Eating

Healthy Habits

Personal Safety

Puberty: When Bodies Start to Change

People enter puberty (sexual development) at different ages and develop at different rates. These changes can begin as early as age 8 for girls and age 10 for boys. Some people don't finish going through puberty until they're aged 16 or 17. This range is completely normal. Kids and parents shouldn't worry if someone is at a different stage of development than other kids.

These are the body changes most people can expect to happen at some point during these years:

Girls

Boys

Preparing for Adulthood

Puberty can be exciting and challenging for both parents and kids. During this time preteens and teens take on some very important tasks on their journey toward independence.

Tasks for preteens

These are some things preteens will be focusing on over the next couple of years.

Developing a new sense of self:

Changing friendships:

Considering the future:

How parents can help

Talk with your preteen:

Treat your preteen with respect:

Talk about dating and sex:

Be a good role model:

Finally, talk to other parents. It can help to share your experiences. You may want to talk with a counselor if times are difficult. Read books about preteen behavior (see below for suggested reading for parents).

Resources

Websites

Suggested reading for preteens

Suggested reading for parents

Adapted with permission from Kaiser Permanente.


Clinical review by Jeff Lindenbaum, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 04/01/2013