As the rollercoaster of adolescence continues for you and your child, you may find the dynamic of your relationship changes as they strive for growing independence.
Here are some other things you can expect from your 14 year old:
Physical growth and changes will continue to be at an individual rate and your child may compare themselves to others and be self-conscious.
Your teen will be sleeping and eating more than ever to recharge their growing body.
Good personal hygiene practices are important to help combat perspiration, body odour and acne brought about by hormonal changes.
Girls’ bodies will continue to change shape as they get taller and their body fat percentage increases. Hips are likely to get curvier and breasts larger. These are normal, healthy changes are a woman’s body matures. Your daughter will notice an increase in body hair and may experience vaginal discharge between periods.
Boys will continue to have growth spurts in height and weight. They will also become stronger. Genital growth continues and erections with ejaculation will start happening (including “wet dreams”). His voice will start to change and body and facial hair will start to grow.
Emotions & Relationships
Your 14 year old will be very self-focused as fluctuating hormones continue to dictate their moods. They may swing from great self-confidence to being insecure.
The relationship with your child is likely to shift, where they start turning to their friends for guidance and support rather than their parents. They may be uncommunicative at times and argumentative at others.
Hanging with the family will probably be an uncool prospect as they begin to spend even more time with friends. Peer acceptance continues to be a priority for most 14 year olds and their self-esteem may suffer if they feel they don’t fit in. There is a high likelihood of peer pressure to engage in risk-taking activities, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.
Interest in the opposite sex will also increase with emerging sexuality. Feelings of love may start for the first time.
The Internet, Social Media and Technology
Social media, texting and technology such as Skype are probably the main ways your 14 year old communicates with their friends. Long gone are the days of tying up the landline!
As these modes of communication are hard to monitor it is important to establish house rules and boundaries regarding their use. It is also important to talk to them about cyber bullying and the importance of personal privacy online.
Pornography, hate sites and harmful content around issues such as self-harm, suicide or substance use can all have a negative impact on your child. There are also some dangerous online challenges targeted at impressionable teenagers.
Common Sense Media have a good outline of age appropriate content for 14 year olds.
Parenting a 14 year old
- Model healthy behaviour in all aspects – physically, socially and emotionally.
- Allow your teen to have space as they exercise their growing independence.
- Set boundaries and have an open dialogue around issues such as safety.
- Get to know his friends so you know who he is spending time with and being influenced by.
- Reinforce values such as respect and responsibility. Assign chores if they don’t already have them.
- Encourage open communication and let your child know you are always there for them.
- Try to listen with out judgement or telling them what to do. Offer gentle guidance.
- If they are reluctant to talk, here are some great tips on getting your teen to open up.