Watching your kids grow up can be both rewarding and confusing — for you and for them. As your son reaches the age of 10-14, you’ll probably notice some gradual changes, but they might be hard to put your finger on. To help you know what to expect, and to recognize those changes when they appear, we’ve written 8 important milestones your son will likely pass through as he approaches his teen years.
From Boy to Teen – 8 Milestones
Expression & Opinions
Moodiness & Emotional Sensitivity
Peer & Social Pressure
Growth Spurts & Physical Development
Concrete thought is focused on the here and now. When your son begins to think abstractly, he’ll start thinking about issues instead of just things or events. He may advance his own theories about someone’s behavior, why one breed of dog is better than another, or why the coach should have made a different decision.
Between ages 10-14, your son may begin to express his opinion or feelings more, signaling development in his critical thinking and evaluation skills. He will likely begin to develop and internalize his own thoughts about right and wrong.
Teenagers are notorious for being moody. Their emotions are on a roller coaster a lot of the time, and it often seems like the tiniest things will set them off. When your son begins going through these emotional shifts, try to avoid reacting too quickly. If you get the silent treatment from an angry teen, don’t push. Just give him time to simmer down.
At this age, your son’s friends will have a lot of influence on him. He may change the way he dresses, behaves, or speaks in order to fit in. To him, being accepted may be equated with being the same. Try to pick your battles. Some peer pressure is harmless, but some can be dangerous. Use your instincts.
Boys usually become very aware of their sexuality between 12-14. This may prompt them to ask questions, explore, and become interested in others (see #6). Make sure your son knows you’ve been around the block a few times, and are here to help him navigate these things. Also, be aware of the dangers technology can present when it comes to sex.
Your son who never cared about his hair may start using gel and carrying a comb in his pocket. Depending on how into hygiene he was before, you may actually be glad to see him take an interest in his looks. Tell him you’ve noticed by complimenting him, but make sure he knows that looks aren’t the best thing about him — or anyone else.
Your son might decide he wants to choose what clothes to buy, or buy them himself. He may want more of a say in how he keeps his room or what kind of music he listens to. This is his way forming his own identity that distinguishes his from his parents.
Sometimes, a significant growth spurt can lend itself to clumsiness. You may notice more sweating or body odor, and a deeper (and cracking) voice. These physical changes are all part of the plan.
As your son grows, if you feel he’s not adjusting properly or facing some difficult challenges, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for help. It’s always better to ask for professional guidance than go it alone and unsure. Most teens are able to navigate these years successfully, so you can turn around in a few years to see how great he’s turned out.