One day your sweet little girl is helping set the table and giggling at a pony cartoon. The next day she is dressed in black and grunts a reply. Teenagers are a mystery, to themselves and to parents. Take some of the mystery out of your teenage daughter by understanding the changes that are going on inside her body and out.
By 14, your daughter should be experiencing the wonders of puberty. This includes changes in body and hormones that prepare her to be a mother. However, these changes are different for every girl. By 14, some girls will have developed breasts while others have not. Many girls will have already started their menstrual cycle but some will not. Every teen girl compares herself to those around her. Be sure to reassure your daughter that everyone changes at her own rate and in her own way. If you or your daughter are worried about her development, talk to your pediatrician.
In childhood, parents and authority figures influence your daughter’s decisions. As she becomes a teen, her influences change. She becomes more independent with her decisions and less likely to ask parents’ opinions. Instead, she will seek the opinions of other teen girls or even seek advice from magazines and social networking. She may become more secretive and can fall prey to manipulation of others to try sex or drugs. It is vital to keep the lines of communication open with your teen. Show an interest in her day-to-day activities and listen more than you talk.
Happy-go-lucky one day, grumpy the next; welcome to the changeable world of teens. It is important that parents recognize that teens aren’t always in control of their mood. At 14, your daughter’s body and brain are bathed with a wide range of hormones that affect everything from physical comfort to how serotonin is used by the brain. Beyond the chemical changes, the teenage brain itself is different than both the child and adult brain. Recent studies by Dr. Jensen of the Children's Hospital of Boston show that the teenage brain isn’t fully connected, but has many more connections than childhood. This gives the teen her first taste of mixed emotions. It is important that you help your teen balance her feelings of joy and sadness.
By the age of 14, most girls should know about sexual intercourse. However, this is the prime age to talk to your daughter about STD’s. Some parents may opt for vaccinating their daughters against HPV, while others may choose to talk about the dangers of this virus as well as other diseases such as herpes, syphilis and AIDS. Talk to your child about your family values. But also make her aware of birth control options that will protect her from pregnancy and disease. This isn’t an easy talk for either the child or the adult. But the Kids Health website states that this talk is vital for a lifetime of health and safety
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Teenage Growth & Development: 11-14 Years
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Young Teens (12-14 years of age)
- National Institutes of Health: Pubertal Development of the Understanding of Social Emotions: Implications for Education
- Kids Health: STD's
- National Public Radio: The Teen Brain: It's Just Not Grown Up Yet
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