Twelve-, Thirteen- and Fourteen-Year-Olds


Middle school and junior high students are growing more rapidly than they have at any time since infancy. They vary in size tremendously, a fact which directly relates to their feelings about themselves. It should also be noted that this period is a time of great hormonal surges, resulting in unexpected outbursts of giggles, tears or pimples depending on the circumstances. Self-criticism and uncertainty are reflected in their talk about themselves and others. Anger is common and may grow out of feelings of inadequacy, fatigue, rejection and uncertainty. He may come home after scoring three goals and being the hero of the hour to face the chore chart and the kitchen floor and react with anger, tears and slamming of doors.

At this age, adolescents have a tendency to take internal conflicts and externalize them into conflicts between themselves and their parents. We need to teach our children and ourselves to acknowledge feelings and recognize them. It is okay to feel angry about having to scrub the floor, but the commitment to the family must be kept anyway.

If parents become permissive under pressure, it is like issuing a teenager a license to misbehave. When we waiver in our commitment to family rules, it takes away respect from both the parent and the child. Allowing a child to avoid responsibilities encourages them to continue this unacceptable behavior. Further, allowing them to “win” can actually reduce a young person’s self-esteem, because it implies that whenever enough of a fuss is made, they can get out of their share of the work.

Teens may feel good temporarily if they are allowed to get away with whatever they choose, but they usually don’t feel good about it for very long. If they sense their parents don’t respect them, they will find it hard to respect themselves. Thus, permissiveness breeds disrespect and discouragement and invites rebellion and chaos into family life.

Relationships based on equality provide the greatest opportunity for personal growth. Such relationships encourage flexibility, open-mindedness and a desire to understand the other person. Disagreements, anger and conflict won’t ever disappear because no two people suppress feelings; rather we should feel free to share them thereby strengthening our family relationships. The best place to reconcile conflict or gain deeper understanding of each other is in the comfortable setting of Family Council.

Task Expectations

Arrange for his own haircuts
Purchase his own grooming supplies
Iron clothing
Hand wash lingerie
Sew on buttons, do simple mending
Take clothes for dry-cleaning
Simple sewing
Vacuum upholstery and drapes
Replace light bulbs and understand wattage
Clean fireplace
Clean freezer
Polish silverware
Change vacuum cleaner bags and belt
Replace fuses and know what breakers are
Oil squeaky leak
Scrub down walls
Wax a floor
Bake muffins, biscuits
Make a tossed salad
Make hot beverages
Plan and use simple budget
Wash car properly
Read a map
Wax the car
Properly hang something on wall
Plan a small party
Know the differences between latex and enamel paints
Paint a room
Service projects such as reading for the blind

Author's Bio: 

If you enjoyed this article, you will want to read more at the website for Judy H. Wright, parent educator and author. By signing up for the occasional newsletter- The Artichoke-Finding the heart of the story in the journey of life. For a FREE report on Encouraging Words to Motivate Action go to