Child development 10-12 years

These are the years between childhood and adolescence. The need for close relationships with parents remains, but friends are becoming increasingly important. It can mean a lot to fit in, be accepted and do as everyone else.

All children are unique and develop differently. However, there are some characteristics that are common and typical for most children in an age group. These are described here.

The age ranges are not exactly accurate. To understand and recognize your child, you may also need to read about the child’s development 8-9 years or the child’s development 13-18 years.

The development is different at different times

The development is different at different times and can vary greatly from child to child, even between siblings. Although children of the same age have reached different distances in development, it tends to level off gradually.

In connection with a new period of development, the child can sometimes become anxious, change his mood and need more closeness or attention than before.

There are individual conditions and events that can affect how a child develops, both in the short and longer term. For example, it may be if the child is born prematurely, has a disability or is involved in a major change in life.

You are important to your child’s development

The child needs you to develop. Not only for food and care, but also for building a good self-esteem and being stimulated in its development.

You need to be there and be active and involved. A 10-12 year old is still a child and needs his parents.

Talk to the child. Children of this age can have many thoughts about life and death, and their own role and place in family and school.

What the child feels

Children between the ages of 10 and 12 practice being adults. But when it comes to the body and the emotions, they are still children. Maturity varies widely, but usually girls mature before boys of this age.

As with other ages, children of this age react differently. Some express their feelings clearly, while others are more withdrawn.

The 10-year-old usually has a quiet period

Children around the age of 10 can have an emotionally calm period in their life. The family is important and the need to free themselves is not so great. The child still needs a close relationship with the parents, but also wants their secrets for themselves.

Some children want to pick up toys and change their room or clothing style. But often mammals and the like hang around for a while. Let the child decide for himself when it is time to put them away for good.

At this age, it is common for children to have a strong interest in sports, for example.

Begins questioning adults

It is common for children around 11-12 years to become more anxious for both body and soul and the maturity can be very uneven. Among other things, it is common that they want to be for themselves and at the same time want to be with their family. It can be difficult to keep up when they change what they want and need.

Often, the challenged adults begin to mark their independence and identity. If the child has previously thought that the parents know and know best, that attitude usually disappears now.

You are either embarrassing or wise

The child can switch between thinking that everything you as a parent do and say is stupid and embarrassing, to listen very carefully and think what you think is very important. One moment, the child may want to dress like an adult and in the next moment refuse to leave without their pet. As a parent, it can be difficult to keep up with the fluctuations and to be challenged.

Can be difficult to handle as expected

It is not easy for the child to meet the different expectations of the surroundings. There are many exciting teenage things for which the child is too small, while increasing demands that they take their own responsibility and show more independence.

When children get an outbreak

Sometimes children get an outbreak. Learn more about outbreaks and how you can do them when they happen.

Interests and friends become very important

Children under the age of 12 are happy to pull away and devote themselves to mobile, computer or reading. Many people get an interest that they become very interested in. For example, it could be building something, engaging in a sport or learning everything within a special area. Many children often want to spend time with their friends, and it is common to want a friend who is very close. It is usually common among girls.

What your friends think can be most important of all. Many want to be popular and popular. Often children of this age can go a long way to impress their friends or be accepted into the gang. Try to have a relationship with the child that makes them think it’s okay to talk to you about things that have happened, and about how the child and himself and his friends can behave.

Need to be at peace sometimes

Having access to your own room or own room and having the opportunity to be at peace is important. You need to respect the child’s need to be alone or with friends. The child is happy to spend time with the family, but on their own terms.

Being in love or in love

Romantic feelings are common at this age and are usually strong, but can also change quickly. The person the child felt so strongly for last week may be exchanged for someone else who has at least as strong feelings for them. Many people feel very strongly about idols. For the child, it may seem that you are very misunderstood who do not understand how it feels and do not keep up.

What the child thinks and understands

Now children use their thinking in a new way. They can use symbols, for example, the white dove is not only a bird but also a symbol of peace.

Think in a different way and understand more

Now they begin to understand that others feel and think differently from themselves. They can also reflect on mistakes themselves and learn from them. It is a bit different when this way of thinking and understanding begins, but usually it comes sometime between 10-12 years.

Find out what they think, feel and think for themselves

An important part of the child’s development is about finding out what they themselves think, feel and think. For example, the child does this by talking about his feelings, thoughts and experiences with others. It is about the child creating his own identity.

Compare yourself more and more with others

Children are increasingly comparing themselves to people around, both friends and older people they may admire. How the child thinks and thinks about himself develops. Many children become more critical of themselves.

To discuss and be part of and decide

Injustice is getting more attention, and there can be discussions about what others are getting and that they themselves want the same.

As a parent, you should decide on some things, preferably with your parents’ parents to make it clear. This way you can prevent unnecessary trouble. Some things the child has to decide for himself and some things need to be decided together.

By being involved and deciding on things in the family, the child feels involved and learns to compromise.

The child needs to gain more and more responsibility and independence as they get older.

Don’t criticize too much

Self-confidence can increase and decrease depending on whether the child thinks they have succeeded or failed in some way. It is positive for the child’s self-confidence to find an area that they feel good about.

Also, remember not to criticize so much. It can easily cause the child to have a negative self-image. Then the child feels that they can’t handle things, and it can also make them feel bad about themselves as a person.

Thoughts on death and other big issues

The foundations of life and death are becoming more and more realistic. These thoughts can at times make the child feel abandoned. It can cause them to think both realistic and unrealistic thoughts about disasters that could occur.

Many children have great commitment and are worried about what life really is, about justice and injustice, world peace and war. The outside world becomes interesting in a new way. The child may be involved in issues that, for example, are about taking into account animals and the environment, or other things that are easy for them to understand and manage.

Being able to tell the child what they think is important is a good way to show respect for the child as a person. It also shows that you think it is good that you are interested and involved.

If the child becomes very worried

It is important that you take the child seriously, while not taking on too much responsibility for various problems. Listen to how the child reason and then discuss different causes and solutions together.

If the child becomes very worried or obsessed with a question, you may need help. Read more in the chapter If you need support.

How the child is with others – social development

Some parents think that friends take over completely and that one does not mean as much. Remember then that the child needs friends for their development, but the child’s world must not be too separate from the adults. As a parent, you are always important, and you also have importance for the child’s friends.

Learn from friends

Friends at this age play an important role in your child’s development. It is with friends that children learn things that they do not learn from their parents. For example, it can be how to manage emotions and relationships. Among other things, contacting someone you are interested in, being in love and being together, or not being in love anymore and ending up. But it can also be things like how to handle homework, teachers, parents and siblings.

Take responsibility and understand others

In order for a child to develop socially, they need to be able to take responsibility, be independent and to understand another person’s situation. Therefore, it is good to give children some responsibility and allow the child to take care of himself. Help the child to understand how others can feel, think and think.

Now it is common for children to start to realize that people interpret what is happening in and around them in different ways. Then children can switch more between their own and others’ perspectives.

It is good if the child is trained in analyzing the thoughts and feelings of others. Help by talking and discussing with the child about why a person is doing and saying in a way, and how a person can feel in a particular situation.

Children of this age are getting better at imagining something other than what is seen and understanding how things are connected. They can therefore think of different causes and effects for things that happen. It also usually becomes easier to realize that situations and people can be complex and contradictory. For example, a person can be both nice and kind and that you can feel both scared and curious at the same time.

To think about children of this age

Good to know about children who are 10-12 years:

  • Children want to be popular and make good friends.
  • Intrigues and conflicts between friends are not uncommon.
  • Children are often occupied by friends and activities.
  • Children are more interested in how they look. They reflect and test themselves with hairstyles, make-up or clothes.
  • Many readers enjoy reading, for example books, newspapers and other media.
  • Children can enjoy writing diaries, blogs and being active in social media.
  • Often, an interest is particularly strong, such as computers, horseback riding, reading or swimming.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Listen to the child with interest and respect when they want to talk. Take time to talk to your child about everyday things and the big issues of life.
  • Make sure there is time and space for your child to be alone, read, daydream, do homework or reflect peace. Respect when the child needs to be at peace. Do not read diaries or similar.
  • Give compliments instead of being negative when the child tries new hairstyles, makeup and tries new clothing styles. The child needs to practice becoming an adult.
  • It can be good to talk to your friends’ parents and try to agree on guidelines for the children, for example about times to be taken care of.
  • Different kinds of television programs give children knowledge about the adult world and can be a starting point for fun and good discussions, especially if you watch them together.
  • Be responsive to whether the child seems to have too much to do. Children need time for recovery and relaxation. Otherwise, there is a risk of stress.
  • Let the child show what they can, for example, clean their room, make their bed or help with the cooking. Children who have younger siblings can sometimes take care of them without taking full responsibility.

Language and communication

At this age, the child’s vocabulary can grow very quickly. Reading is a very good way to learn new words. This applies whether it is books, magazines or anything else that the child reads. You can also read for the child.

Many children between the ages of 10 and 12 enjoy writing diaries, blogs, youtuba or writing poems. The texts can be thought-provoking and contain strong empathy and morals, for example about nature or things happening in the outside world.

Different media

It is common for children of this age to spend a greater part of their free time with mobile, tablets, computer or television. They chat, email, surf and play games. The Internet gives children great opportunities to access and communicate with the outside world.

There are different perceptions about how television, media and games affect children. It is important that the time in front of the screen does not replace the time when you are together, or replace the time when the child is allowed to move and play outdoors. Many TV programs, video games and computer games that are adapted to the child’s age and ability can be fun and good as learning, but should not be the only way the child learns things.

Think about how you use media yourself when you are with your child. Children do as adults do.

Show interest in what the child does, watches or plays, so that the child has someone to talk to about what they are experiencing. Sometimes the child needs help understanding. Help and join. Don’t be too quick to condemn what the child is doing. The child needs to be respected for their choices. Talk to the child about which websites they visit to hear if there is something the child is wondering about and that you can talk about.

You may need to limit the screen time. For example, you can use an alarm or an egg bell. Too much screen time before bedtime often results in worse sleep.

Since friends are important to children of this age, many start chatting with each other over mobiles or computers. It is important to talk about what and how to write to each other, and what to do if someone you do not know for sure who is writing to one. As a parent, you protect your children by keeping track of their conversations at this age.

Do not allow children to watch adult films with violence or adult news programs. Turn off unpleasant background noise. Feel free to join news programs for children to talk about what is being said.

Here you can read more on the website Surf calmly about how you can talk to children and young people about their everyday lives online and with games.

Uses language in new ways

Many children are getting better at understanding and using understatements and exaggerations. Many also get better at using irony. That is, what one expresses with words may be the opposite of what one really means. This is usually noticed when the child uses his humor in a new way.

When the child says nasty things to you

You don’t have to accept if the child says nasty and contemptuous things to you or others. You can say it’s okay to feel that way, but you can’t say such things to others.

The body and how the child moves

There can be major differences between different children in how the body develops. The differences are greater between different children than between boys and girls. It can distinguish almost two centimeters between a child who has entered puberty and a child who has not developed as much.

Manages to be better in traffic

The child matures and at the age of 12 they can usually be out walking or cycling in traffic. Now, for example, they can move between home, school and activities in quiet and normal traffic.

The body changes as the child enters puberty

Until puberty, children grow at a steady pace and gain better control over their movements. When children enter puberty, they grow quickly and regain control of the body. They grow rapidly for about two years.

Both the children who grow up early and the children who start to grow late may experience this time as difficult. You may need to provide support and explain that the big differences, among other things, depend on whether the child has entered puberty or not. The differences in length usually level off when everyone has reached puberty.

Most people enter puberty sometime between the ages of 8 and 14. Girls usually come to puberty earlier than guys.

You don’t have to worry if the child shows puberty signs early or a little later.

Read more about how the body changes during puberty.

Dare to talk to the child

Puberty is the period when the body develops from child to adult. How puberty is experienced varies greatly from person to person. For example, it can be both exciting and difficult. In a way, the child may feel more grown-up, but sometimes they just want to be children and not think much of the new.

When the body changes, the child may feel clumsy and insecure before being able to get used to it. If none of your friends have begun to experience the same changes, it may feel a little lonely and different.

Tell me that what happens is completely natural and that everyone will go through the same thing. Say you’re there to answer questions.

It may feel embarrassing for the child to talk to you as a parent, but you can say, for example, that you have gone through the same thing yourself. Tell them that the child can contact the student health if they wish. There, staff can provide information and answer questions. There are also books about puberty and relationships. Young people can read about puberty themselves and ask anonymous questions on the site UMO.se, the youth reception online.

Being curious about his body and his sexuality

Most children of this age are interested in what their bodies look like. It is common for children of this age to explore the body, themselves or with a friend. They can look and compare their bodies, usually it is the genitals and breasts. They can also take on themselves and each other.

It is not at all certain that they talk about sexuality with you or any other adult, as it can feel embarrassing or shameful.

The body and the ideals

Interest in one’s own body is often great when the child is about 12 years old. It is common for the child to think about what the body will look like in the future, what it is like to have sex or if they will have children. The child follows closely how his own body develops and compares it with that of others.

The fear of deviating from what others look like easily leads to a critical and negative view of themselves. The child is sensitive to criticism for appearance, posture and body shape.

Sometimes the child develops complex for something in his appearance or tries to correct the body through exercise or dieting. Talk to your child that everyone is different and does not choose the conditions the body has and what body you get. Then you can talk about different ideals. Also think about how the child can be influenced by how you express yourself about your own and others’ bodies.

Be careful about commenting on the child’s appearance

Be careful about making comments about the child’s appearance and do not overdo it with praise. The child can easily perceive it as dishonest if they do not agree at all or in part.

For example, if you get a question if you think the child is thick, you can ask what has made the child think so about himself. If your child is overweight, you can help. In the same way, do it yourself to give the child healthy eating habits and opportunities to move.

Common for this age

At this age, this is common:

  • Physical development differs greatly between different children of the same age.
  • When the child reaches puberty, the child often becomes muddy and clumsy in his movements.
  • The child gets hungry and eats more, gets acne, mood swings and altered sweat odor.
  • You as a parent need to think about how the child wants body contact and closeness, especially when friends are nearby. For example, it can be embarrassing with hugs and holding your hand.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be good at this age:

  • It is good to address topics such as menstruation, target crime and puberty. Tell about books, which you can also leave at home.
  • Tip about the website UMO.se. It is made for young people and there is a lot of information for young people about, for example, the body, friends, relationships and health.
  • Teach the child to be able to tell when they do not think it is okay to have physical closeness from others. Explain that it is always wrong for an adult to touch children in a sexual way. Read on Save the Children’s website about how you can talk about how the child sets boundaries around their own body.
  • It is good for children to move through play and exercise. For example, by swimming, jumping, dancing and running.
  • Have the child try different sports, but remember not to have too many activities.

If you need support

Seek help if you need support or have questions or concerns about your child’s development.

Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • Talk to your own network of friends, relatives and work mates, for example.
  • Talk to other adults, such as classmates or other friends’ parents.
  • Join parent groups, for example, in school.
  • Contact student health at school. There, among other things, there are school nurse, doctor and curator. Read more about student health.
  • Contact a health care center.
  • Contact the municipality. Some municipalities offer parental support in groups or individually.

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