Teens

The early years of adolescence are a time of rapid change, physically, socially and emotionally. It is the beginning of the transition from childhood to adulthood and can be a confusing time for both teenagers and their families – although it can also be a time of emotional growth, fun and laughter.

SOME PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES TO
LOOK OUT FOR IN ADOLESCENTS INCLUDE:

TWELVE TO SIXTEEN YEARS

  • The world starts to become a more complex place
  • Becoming more independent from family
  • Peer group relationships are a powerful influence
  • Belonging to a group or subculture becomes increasingly important
  • Dramatic physical changes occur during these years
  • Girls begin menstruating at around 12 years old
  • They develop breasts and often gain fat deposits around hips and thighs
  • Boys have a period of rapid growth, their voices change and they develop facial and pubic hair at around 14 or 15 years old
  • Nocturnal emissions (wet dreams) start at around 12 years in boys
  • Changes in appetite are often a feature, including 'faddy' eating and dieting, especially in girls
  • Hormonal changes that bring about rapid growth and development also affect mood
  • Mood swings and angry outbursts are common during these years
  • Family relationships remain a strong social and emotional support

As teenagers become more independent and socially active, they may skip meals or eat on the run. This is also a time that teenagers might start dieting or snacking on junk food. It's important to keep the fruit bowl topped up and encourage healthy snacking rather than resorting to fast food.