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|Quick reference medical handouts used
by Pediatric offices
Growth Milestones - 12 Years
New Page 2
"Declaration of Independence"
Nothing in life can prepare parents for the experiences they
are about to have with their 12-year-old. What a roller-coaster life
it will be for everyone. Your adolescent bounces between childhood
and adulthood, being irresponsible and responsible, testing parental
authority and then depending on it. Parents often do not know what
to expect and many adults find it difficult to understand the
adolescent's growing need for independent action, and even for
rebellion. Most parents and their children get through it intact and
much of what you hear and see in the media is greatly exaggerated.
May parents look back and can chuckle.
to live with an adolescent
rebellion can be quelled
a back-talk free home
much at risk is your teenager?
are our boys doing?
to help teenage girls blossom
self-assured teenage girls
volunteering a family project
of teens has roots in toddler hood
for the teen years
to expect of your teenager
look at the menstrual cycle for teens.
budding in Girls
up as a girl
for guys - all about puberty
- what happens when
Stages of sexual development
to kids about puberty
puberty happens early
Dramatic physical changes are the hallmark of early adolescence
and these physical changes are important to your adolescent. They
signify that he or she is developing like his or her peers.
Generally, girls begin puberty an average of two years earlier than
boys. During early adolescence, most girls experience a rapid growth
spurt, changes in fat distribution, and the development of secondary
sexual characteristics such as pubic hair and breasts. For most
boys, the early adolescent period marks only the beginning of the
biological changes of puberty, with increased abdominal fat
deposits, testicular growth, voice changes and the development of
acne, pubic hair and nocturnal emissions. Since many young
adolescents are unaware that the onset and rate of puberty vary
greatly, they need reassurance that their own growth and development
are normal, and they will benefit from learning about the
progression of physiological changes.
Many young adolescents, preoccupied with their attractiveness,
will try to change their appearance through dieting or consumer fad
food products. Anorexia and bulimia may occur especially among
females. Some males use supplements and steroids for bodybuilding.
While some teens exercise regularly and develop bodies that are
extremely fit, others remain sedentary and have poor physical
fitness. These behaviors are often predictors of fitness habits
later in life.
Most 12-year-olds focus on social life, friends and school.
They continue friendships with members of the same sex. Sometimes, a
teenager's best friends becomes a parent substitute and confidante.
These friendships, however, may change abruptly, causing hurt
Teens need to learn to respect the rights and needs of others.
They should follow family rules, such as those for curfews,
television viewing, and chores, and share in household chores.
Parents need to serve as a positive ethical and behavioral role
School activities are important in the life of a 12-year-old
adolescent. Social activities often center around sports events.
Teens meet together in groups or pairs.
Parents should learn the signs of adolescent depression and
|Characteristics of "teen friendly"
Understands the normal growth and development of adolescents.
Praises, approves, supports and shows interest in their adolescent.
Attends events in which their son or daughter is a participant.
Encourages reasonable independence, friendships and interests outside
of the home.
Finds time to be with and listen to the adolescent.
Establishes realistic expectations for family rules and enforces them,
with increasing responsibility given to the adolescent.
Establishes and communicates clear limits and consequences for breaking
rules. Does not repeatedly warn or threaten. Simply follows the protocol
already agreed upon and is consistent.
Is present at home or makes arrangements for the adolescent's supervision
in the parent's absence.
Assigns chores around the home and provides an allowance.
Demonstrates interest in the adolescent's school activities and emphasizes
the importance of school.
Takes pleasure in their son's or daughter's abilities and
Trusts the adolescent and understands what he or she is
Respects the adolescent's privacy.
Does not criticize the other parent. A teen needs to love and respect
Enhances the adolescent's self-esteem by providing praise and recognizing
positive behavior and achievements.
Minimizes criticism, nagging, derogatory comments and other belittling
or demeaning messages.
Does not try to be the teens best friend. Remembers that their role
is to teach and parent.
Shows respect for their teen. Listens to the adolescent's side without
interrupting or judging.
Gets to know their teen's friends, and avoids making quick judgments
based on appearances only. Whenever possible, avoids downgrading
his or her friends.
Encourages their son or daughter to invite peers home.
Allows their son or daughter to make age-appropriate decisions and
selections (for example, choosing clothes).
Involves their teen in decision making regarding their role in family
chores, supervision of younger sibling, etc.
Assumes a role in the teen's sex education, perhaps with the help
of books recommended by the physician.
of Adolescent Depression
for spotting adolescent depression
myths and realities of adolescent suicide
to do if a friend talks of suicide
of adolescent development
tips for parents
meetings build stronger ties
boosters to use on your teen
to talk so your teen will listen
- getting what you give
for raising teenagers
A weight reduction program
your teen lose weight
can damage self-esteem
your teen having trouble sleeping at night?
you an askable parent?
time for the big talk - now what?
to teens about sexuality
your kids substance free
of Adolescent substance abuse
parenting tips to help your kids avoid drugs
use on the rise
parents should know about ecstasy
information for Teens
10 things every teen
should know about Marijuana
The effects of Anabolic Steroid
The facts about
An effective way to reduce teen
55 Reasons not to start smoking
What to say if your child is smoking
Talking to kids about smoking
Kids need encouragement not to smoke
Inhalant abuse information for
Out of control teen drinking
|Traits of the adolescent who is doing
Believes that he or she will do well.
Has self-confidence and a sense of pride and competence.
Enjoys close interactions with peers (especially same-sex
Enjoys recreational activities.
Recognizes the need for rules and fair play.
Is energetic, enthusiastic and vital.
Has reasonable athletic ability, or has dramatic, artistic or musical
Does well in school or performs at or near ability in school.
Takes appropriate responsibility for homework with little
Assumes responsibility for his or her own health.
Is comfortable in asking parents questions.
Generally cooperative and considerate, although at times is inconsistent
|Oral Health for the Adolescent
Brush your teeth twice a day with a pea-size amount of fluoridated
toothpaste, and floss daily.
Take fluoride supplements as recommended by the health professional
based on the level of fluoride in your drinking water.
Ask the health professional any questions you have about how to handle
dental emergencies, especially the loss or fracture of a tooth.
Schedule a dental appointment every six months, unless your dentist
determines otherwise based on your adolescent's individual needs/susceptibility
As your permanent molars erupt, ensure your dentist evaluates them
for application of dental sealants.
Do not smoke or use chewing tobacco.
|Nutrition for the
12-year-olds seem to eat continuously and appetite rarely is a
problem. Unfortunately, many 12- and 13-year-olds consume fast foods
daily. They eat snacks that are high in calories and fat.
Your adolescent child should eat three meals per day. Breakfast
is especially important. Do your best to make sure he or she has a
nutritious breakfast daily.
Choose a variety of healthy foods.
Choose nutritious snacks rich in complex carbohydrates. Limit
high-fat or low-nutrient foods and beverages such as candy, chips or
Choose plenty of fruits and vegetables; breads, cereals and
other grain products; low-fat dairy products; lean meats; and foods
prepared with little or no fat. Include foods rich in calcium and
iron in your child's diet.
Girls may suffer anemia at this time so make sure they are receiving
sufficient iron in their diet to replace menstrual losses.
Select a nutritious meal from the school cafeteria or pack a
At this age it is especially important to evaluate your 12-year
old's food consumption in relation to the amount of exercise he or
she does. Obesity can be a problem in 12- and 13-year-olds. Studies
have shown that children who are overweight at this age group have a
greater chance of being overweight as an adult.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Manage weight
through appropriate eating habits and regular exercise
You may think that your 12-year old "sleeps" his or her life away
(especially on weekends), but many children this age are actually sleep-deprived.
Children this age need nine-10 hours of sleep per night.
sleep can not be made up later.
|Sexuality for the Adolescent
Find a supportive adult who can give you accurate information about
Ask your doctor about any questions you have about body changes during
puberty, including variations from individual to individual.
Ask any questions you have about birth control or sexually transmitted
Having sexual feelings is normal, but you should wait to have sex.
Not having sexual intercourse is the safest way to prevent pregnancy
and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection/AIDS.
Learn about ways to say no to sex.
|Say "No" to substance use/abuse
Do not smoke, use smokeless tobacco, drink alcohol, or use drugs,
diet pills or steroids. Do not become involved in selling drugs.
If you smoke, discuss smoking cessation with the health
Avoid situations where drugs or alcohol are easily available.
Support friends who choose not to use tobacco, alcohol, drugs, steroids,
or diet pills.
Become a peer counselor to prevent substance abuse.
Get adequate sleep.
Exercise vigorously at least three times per week. Encourage friends
and family members to exercise.
Discuss with a health professional or your coach about athletic
conditioning, weight training, fluids and weight gain or loss.
Limit television viewing to an average of one hour per day.
Since immunization schedules vary from doctor to doctor, and new
vaccines may have been introduced it is always best to seek the advice of
your child's health care provider concerning your child's vaccine
Two important vaccines are offered at
this age as well as a booster vaccine of diphtheria-tetanus. The
twelve-year old should begin the 3 dose series of HPV
(humanpapilomavirus) vaccine and the single dose Meningitis
|The 12-year old visit
Annual flu vaccines for children with chronic illnesses like asthma
and heart defects. Check with your doctor.
Vision and hearing, as well as blood and urine, are usually
checked at this visit. Other screening done at this age may include a tuberculin
test (if indicated) and blood pressure. If there is a family history of elevated
cholesterol, some physicians will also obtain a screening blood test.
Measure and plot on a standard chart the adolescent’s height
and weight. Determine the body mass index (BMI). If an adolescent has a BMI
greater than the 95th percentile for age and gender, or less than the 5th
percentile, refer for dietary assessment and counseling. Adolescents with
a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile need initial evaluation and counseling
for obesity. Check your
child's progress with our
The physician and his or her staff, as well as the parents, should
respect the child's privacy by using appropriate draping during the 12-year
presented in Growth Milestones was obtained
with the help of our pediatric experts and
with material from The American Academy of
Pediatrics' Guidelines for Health
Supervision and Bright Futures' Guidelines
for Health Supervision of Infants, Children,
and Adolescents. Bright Futures is supported
by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau,
U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services.. Updated 05-08-07
As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as
medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your childs pediatrician.
Please read our full disclaimer.