A Guide to Developmental Considerations at Various Ages and Stages of Development of Children.
Part Eight: Thirteen to Fifteen Years
Child’s Developmental Considerations
Increasing sense of independence with more focus on friends, activities, and other interests, while continuing to need family support and guidance.
Experiencing changing emotions and mood shifts associated with hormonal changes resulting from puberty.
Increasing ability to think logically, express opinions and preferences, and argue their viewpoint.
Developing their own values and morals.
Continuing to challenge rules.
Continuing to develop decision making and problem solving skills.
Continuing to expand ability to understand others’ perspectives, but are still self-focused. Increasing influence of friends on beliefs and behaviors in both helpful and harmful ways. Developing an interest in romantic relationships.
Experimenting with risky behavior such as using alcohol and drugs, sexual activity, and breaking rules.
Understanding different parenting styles and following different rules in each parent’s home. Increasing sense of personal responsibility, such as coming home from a friend’s house when they are supposed to.
Adjusting to the demands of middle school/high school may be stressful to the child.
Parenting Time Considerations
The teen may want to have a say in creating the parenting time schedule, such as how often the teen goes between homes.
The teen may request flexibility in the parenting time schedule because of activities and events.
Listen to the child’s wishes about the parenting time schedule, while letting the teen know the parents will decide.
If a teen resists following the parenting time schedule, both parents need to let the teen know they expect the teen to follow the schedule.
The teen may feel the need to choose sides, especially if there is a lot of conflict between parents.
Teens may say what they believe each parent wants to hear and may be saying something different to each parent.
The teen may request flexibility in the parenting time schedule because of activities and events. This does not necessarily mean that the other parent is undermining the parent-child relationship, but indicates the teen’s wish to have more input in the decisions that are made about them.
Recognize that parents may differ in their expectations about the balance between family time and time the teen spends with friends and in activities.
Understand the demands of middle school/high school may be stressful to the teen.
Be alert to signs the teen may be engaging in risky behavior.
Teens continue to need patient, consistent, loving and supportive care.
Some teens may do better with or express a preference for longer blocks of parenting time and fewer transitions.
Moving between parents’ homes may be difficult for some teens and they may become resistant. This does not necessarily mean that the other parent isn’t a good parent or that the teen doesn’t want to be with the other parent.
Understand that the teen sees the time as “their” time not the parent’s parenting time.