how are 12 year olds supposed to act

How Are 12-Year-Olds Supposed to Act?

At the age of 12, kids are neither children nor young adults. They are in a transitional period, and their behavior can be unpredictable or challenging for parents. It’s essential for parents to understand this stage and provide support to their preteens


Definition of 12-Year-Olds

A preteen or tween is a child between the ages of 9-12 years old. This stage is characterized by physical changes, increased independence, and social skill development.

Social and Psychological Development at This Age

Preteens experience significant social and psychological development as they transition from childhood to adolescence. They begin to comprehend complex concepts, have more intense emotions and engage in self-reflection.

Significance of Behavior in Preteen Years

The way preteens behave has an impact on their physical, emotional, academic, and social development. Parents play an important role in guiding their children as they navigate these changes.

Parenting Styles for 12-Year-Olds

Importance of Parent Guidance and Support

The role of parents during the preteen years cannot be overstated. They need to provide a secure environment that promotes healthy growth while allowing adolescents to have space to explore new activities.

Types of Parenting Styles

The three common types of parenting styles are authoritarianism, authoritative parenting, and permissive parenting. Authoritative parenting is considered the most effective for preteens as it provides high levels of support while also setting limits.

  • Authoritarianism: This style is characterized by strict rules, high expectations but low emotional support. Iron-fisted parenting can lead to rebellion in kids.
  • Authoritative Parenting: This style balances warm emotional support with firm boundaries and guidelines. It empowers kids to learn new skills and take risks while providing a secure framework to do so.
  • Permissive Parenting: This style emphasizes freedom and independence, but there are few consequences for poor behavior. It can result in anarchy if children are not adequately guided.

The Current Trend in Popular Parenting Styles

The trend in popular parenting styles has shifted towards authoritative parenting in recent times due to its effectiveness. Parents are encouraged to communicate openly with their children, encourage independence while setting boundaries and limits.

Emotional Competence for Preteens

Why Is Emotional Competence Important?

Preteens who develop healthy emotional competencies are better at managing stress, building relationships and making decisions. These skills help children transition into adulthood successfully.

Emotional Intelligence for 12-Year-Olds

The four core areas of emotional competence for preteens are self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills.

  • Self-awareness: Awareness of one’s emotions is the foundation for developing healthy emotional management skills.
  • Self-regulation: This skill involves controlling impulses and behaviors that can have negative consequences.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand another person’s feelings is essential in building strong relationships.
  • Social Skills: The ability to communicate effectively, engage in positive peer interactions and negotiate with others.

Developing Emotional Competence in Kids

Parents can help their children to develop emotional competencies by modeling empathy, regulating their emotions healthily, and promoting activities that can enhance self-awareness. Kids who develop healthy emotional competence can better manage stressors like academic challenges and peer pressure.

Social Skills Enhancement for Preteens

Importance of Socialization

Preteens are making new social connections, which can have an impact on their self-esteem and confidence. Helping them develop healthy social skills prevents loneliness, isolation and promotes good mental health.

Navigating Friendships and Peer Pressure

Preteens encounter peer pressure as they interact with others. It is crucial to understand the various forms of peer pressure and offer guidance to help adolescents navigate them effectively.

  • Understanding Peer Pressure: Negative peer pressure influences kids to engage in risky behaviors or go against parental advice.
  • Encouraging Healthy Relationships: Encouraging healthy friendships based on respect helps preteens learn how to maintain healthy boundaries while getting along with others.

Cognitive Development at this Age

Brain Development during Early Teen Years

During preteen years, cognitive development is boosted considerably by the growth of the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for planning, problem-solving, and decision-making processes.

Cognitive Milestones at the Age of Tweens

The rate of cognitive development varies from child to child. Most kids aged 9-12 can think abstractly, use logical reasoning to arrive at decisions and engage in creative thinking.

Creativity and Problem-solving Skills

Encouraging creative thinking can help preteens think outside the box, which enhances their problem-solving abilities. Parents can provide opportunities for kids to showcase their creativity with activities such as drawing, writing poetry or solving puzzles.

Sex Education at 12 years old

Sexual development and changes that happen at this age

At 12 years old, preteens begin to undergo physical changes that can have a significant impact on their sexual development. Parents need to educate their children about these changes openly and honestly.

Teaching self-respect and self-worth

Discussing self-worth openly promotes healthy attitudes about one’s body and enhances confidence. In turn, this promotes healthy decision-making concerning sexual activity and relationships.

Discussing healthy relationships

Talking about sexuality is incomplete without touching on ways to maintain a healthy intimate relationship. Preteens need guidance on what constitutes a heathy sexual relationship and what red flags they should look out for.

Schooling and Academic Growth

Challenges Faced By Preteens In their Academic Life

The academic journey for preteens is filled with challenges like peer pressure, increased workload and unfamiliarity with various academic topics. Supporting kids through changes in academic life can boost scholastic performance while reducing anxiety.

Learning Environment for Preteens At school

The learning environment for preteens plays an integral part in building academic excellence. Schools with experienced teachers, modern facilities, empathetic policies that support kids’ overall development, are preferable.

Study Habits And Time Management

Parents can teach kids healthy study habits and time management to help them stay organized. This improves academic performance while preventing burnout from studying.

Physical Fitness For Preteens

Physical Changes At This Age

Preteens undergo several physical changes that can cause apprehension or anxiety. Having regular opens up communication channels, which can alleviate adolescent anxiety.

Promoting Healthy Habits

Encouraging healthy eating habits, regular sleep patterns, and physical exercise promotes overall physical wellness.

Advantages of Exercise

Physical activity has numerous benefits for preteens. It helps promote motor skills, socialization, cognitive function, and builds endurance for extended academic sessions.

Mental Health For Preteens

The Necessity Of Addressing Mental Health At This Age

Mental health is equally as important as physical health. Parents are encouraged to look out for warning signs of mental illness and take corrective action where necessary.

Common Mental Health Problems In Tweens

  • Anxiety Disorders: Children who experience excessive or irrational fears or worries could be struggling with anxiety disorders. Providing a secure environment that supports open communication can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Mood Disorders: These disorders result in uncontrollable mood swings that negatively impact behavior. Parents can support their children by promoting healthy thoughts and feelings, providing a supportive environment and seeking medical attention when necessary.
  • Eating Disorders: Eating disorders are characterized by extreme food restriction or binge-eating. Detecting and addressing them early can prevent long-term physical and psychological issues.

Building Resilience and Self-Esteem in Kids

Building resilience in kids helps them overcome anxiety, stress and other factors that impede mental and emotional growth. Positive reinforcement and nurturing self-esteem help children to become well-rounded young adults.


Parenting is a critical task that encompasses guiding children through different developmental stages. Supporting preteens during the transition between childhood and adolescence requires patience, empathy, and flexibility. Encouraging open communication channels, healthy emotional competence development, promotion of physical fitness, academic excellence, and mental wellness helps steer children towards successful adulthood.

FAQs: How Are 12 Year Olds Supposed to Act?

1. What are some common behaviors of 12 year olds?

At this age, 12 year olds are transitioning from childhood to adolescence. They may exhibit behaviors such as increased independence, moodiness, and self-consciousness. They also begin to develop a deeper sense of empathy and understanding of other people’s emotions.

2. Is it normal for a 12 year old to question authority?

Yes, it is normal for 12 year olds to challenge authority as they become more independent and form their own opinions. However, it is important for them to do so respectfully and within the boundaries set by their parents and/or other adults in their lives.

3. Should 12 year olds be responsible for chores at home?

Yes, assigning chores to 12 year olds can help them develop important life skills such as responsibility, time management, and teamwork. Age-appropriate chores may include doing dishes, laundry, or cleaning their own room.

4. How much screen time should a 12 year old have?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 6-12 should have no more than two hours of screen time per day. This includes time spent on phones, tablets, TV, and computers. It is important for parents to monitor their child’s screen usage to ensure they are not spending too much time staring at screens.

5. Is it normal for 12 year olds to be interested in dating?

Yes, it is common for 12 year olds to begin developing crushes and showing interest in the opposite sex. However, parents should have open and honest conversations with their child about appropriate behavior and boundaries when it comes to dating at this age.

6. How can parents help their 12 year old deal with peer pressure?

  • Encourage open communication between you and your child. Let them know that they can come to you for advice and support.
  • Teach your child to say “no” when something doesn’t feel right to them.
  • Encourage your child to surround themselves with positive, like-minded friends.
  • Help your child develop a sense of self-worth and confidence in their own decisions.

7. What are some warning signs that a 12 year old may need professional help?

  • Sudden changes in behavior, such as aggression or withdrawal
  • Ongoing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety
  • Sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Falling grades or performance in school
  • Inability to cope with normal stressors of life

If any of these warning signs are present, it is important for parents to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide proper care and assistance.

keys takeaways

How Are 12 Year Olds Supposed to Act?

Being 12 can be both exciting and daunting for kids. They’re transitioning from middle childhood to adolescence, with countless physical, social, and emotional changes happening at once. So how should 12-year-olds behave? Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Respectful: 12-year-olds should treat others with respect and kindness, whether it’s towards peers, parents or teachers.
  2. Responsible: They should start taking more responsibility for their actions, such as keeping up with schoolwork and household chores.
  3. Independent: 12-year-olds should gradually become more independent, learning to do things such as getting themselves up in the morning or managing their money.
  4. Curious: It’s okay for 12-year-olds to explore new interests and hobbies and be curious about the world around them. Encouraging them to pursue their passions can help boost self-esteem and creativity.

Remember, every child is unique and may develop at a different pace. The most important thing is to support them through this exciting time of change and growth.

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