The age of thirteen is considered as entering the teen years as well as adolescence.
There are three stages to adolescence; early adolescence, middle adolescence, and late
adolescence. Thirteen-year-olds are categorized as early adolescence. Adolescence begins with
the beginning of puberty and ends with an adult identity and behavior (www.ncbi.nih.gov). This
can be a confusing time for teens, as they deal with body changes and peers.
Physical development of a thirteen-year-old can vary depending on genetics, nutrition, environment, and health factors. Girls typically go through a growth spurt between the ages of nine and a half to fourteen and a half years old, in which they can grow two to eight inches in height. The average weight gain during this period is seven to twenty-five kilograms. The growing gradually stops around age fourteen or two and a half years after onset of menarche, where the average height for the thirteen-year old girl is sixty-one and seven- tenths with an average weight between seventy-six to one hundred and forty-eight pounds.
Average growth spurt for adolescence boys usually begins between ten and a half and sixteen years old. During this time frame, the average boy can gain four to twelve inches in height and seven to thirty kilograms in weight (Hockenberry, Wilson, & Rodgers, 2017, p. 450). Typical growth pattern in a year for a boy is four inches with an average height of sixty-one and five- tenths. Average weight for thirteen-year-old boys is between seventy-five to one hundred and forty-eight pounds (www.healthline.com). Growth usually begins slowing around age sixteen. During this age, there is the development of the secondary sex characteristics. Girls usually have developed breast by the age of thirteen. If no breast development has happened, this is considered atypical (Hockenberry, Wilson, & Rodgers, 2017, p. 453). Menstruation has begun for many girls in this age group, they have developed sparse fine pubic hair and their hips have become rounded. Boys usually will have the appearance of pubic hair by the age of thirteen and a half with enlargement of the testicles which includes thinning and looseness of the scrotum and lengthening of the penis. Some boys also experience voice changes as enlargement of the larynx and the vocal chords. The voice can uncontrollably shift from deep to high tones in mid-sentence (Hockenberry, Wilson, & Rodgers, 2017, p. 450-451).
Gross motor developmental milestones for this age group would be the adolescence ability to run, jump and participate in sports. Sports participation usually begins during the age range of eight to twelve, sometimes earlier for some children. Gross motor skills are improved due to the growth spurts during this time from around ages twelve to fourteen for girls and twelve to sixteen for boys. Fine motor developmental milestones would include typing on a computer and texting on a cell phone or tablet. Another fine motor milestone would be the adolescence able to draw a person with appropriate body parts. Social skills that are usually met at this age are seeking trust and acceptance from their peers, the desire for independence, questioning authority figures and most times will reject solutions offered by parents. Identity is the key issue for this age. The adolescence is having an increased ability to interact with peers and defines self through peers. The teens may become self-conscious about their body changes. The adolescence develops close friendships with the same sex but also takes an increased interest in the opposite sex. They can recognize their own strengths and weakness between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. They can think abstractly, use of logic and began to understand concepts. Verbal skill milestones that are met between the ages of thirteen and fifteen are the ability to understand the advanced level of communication, a higher level of concentration and an increase in vocabulary (Developmental Milestones for Children, www.faculty.mccneb.edu). Their communication becomes focus of relationships. Teens this age often challenge parents and people of authority. They often use sarcasm. They also enjoy playing wits with a participating adult. Special nutritional requirement or considerations for this age range should include encouragement to drink milk instead of sugary drinks such as sodas. Milk is important during this age due to the maximum bone mass acquired during adolescence (Hockenberry, Wilson, & Rodgers, 2017, p. 459). Calcium and iron are also important to include in the diet for promotion of growth spurts during this adolescence time. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s important that adolescents do not skip this meal. Adolescents are growing rapidly during this stage and require adequate nutrition to facilitate optimal growth. An example of an appropriate breakfast meal would be a bowl of oatmeal with half a cup of blueberries, boiled egg, a slice of whole wheat toast, a glass of apple juice and a glass of milk. An example of an appropriate lunch meal would be a grilled chicken pita with tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce, along with apple slices, a cup of milk and a glass of water. The above are examples of good meal choices, but adolescents tend to opt for the least nutritious meals while at school or out with friends. That’s why it is important for parents and family to educate the adolescents to make appropriate nutritional choices to avoid preventable health conditions. Adolescence requires nine hours of sleep in a twenty-four-hour period, due to increased growth and development requirements (Hockenberry, Wilson, & Rodgers, 2017, p. 463). Although most may not achieve this sleep goal, due to early school times, extra-curricular activities or socializing with peers.
Erikson’s psychosocial theory states that in adolescence, they see themselves as distinct individuals, somehow unique and separate from everyone else. Erikson’s theory emphasizes a healthy personality and strives to master during critical periods in personality development. The adolescence is in the industry versus role confusion. The adolescence is struggling to fit the roles they have played and those they hope to play. They are trying to fit in with their peers and find acceptance (Hockenberry, Wilson, & Rodgers, 2017, p. 45-46). According to the website explore psychology, the adolescence questions “Who am I?” Teens are focused on developing a sense of self, what they believe in and what they want to become. Erikson believed that the formation of a personal identity was one of the most important phases of life. Those who master this stage come out with a strong independence and sense of self. Those who fail to complete this stage often enter adulthood confused about who they are and what they want in life. The basic advantage that emerges from completing this stage successfully is fidelity (www.eplorepyschology.com). Children who struggle during this stage may have problem with self-confidence as they continue to grow. Piaget’s major theory believed that children go through various stages of cognitive development, which are distinct from each other and influenced by nature and nurture (www.explorepsychology.com). Piaget’s formal operations stage, from age eleven to fifteen, focuses on formal operational thought. Teens can deal with the thought of past, present, and future. Adolescents strive to gain autonomy from family and develop a sense of personal identity. Piaget believed that adolescence must resolve questions concerning relationships with a peer group before they are able to resolve questions about who they are in relation to family and society. (Hockenberry, Wilson & Rodgers, 2017, p. 454). Adolescence can think in abstract terms, use abstract symbols and draw logical conclusions from a set of observations.
The thirteen-year-old may participate in sports or other activities that involve their peers
such as organized games, board games, computer games, and video games. The thirteen-year-
old may seem they have outgrown toys by this age. Most children this age may seem glued to the
cell phone and will engage in social media sites such a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Appropriate discipline for a thirteen-year-old may include grounding, but for a
reasonable amount of time, as to not isolate them from society too long. Also talking to the
thirteen-year-old can be effective. Teens, this age should be told the parent’s behavioral
expectations as well as the consequences for not following the expectations. It’s important to talk
to teens regarding safe behavior as well during this stage of development because the teens may
feel invincible which can lead to risky behavior.
The age of thirteen is considered as entering the teen years as well as adolescence.