Content Map Terms

Milestones for Ages 11 to 14

Topic Overview

Ages 11 through 14 are often called early adolescence. These years are an exciting time of varied and rapid changes. Your child grows taller and stronger and also starts to feel and think in more mature ways. You may feel amazed as you watch your child begin to turn into an adult. But this can be a confusing time for both kids and parents. Both must get used to the new person the child is becoming.

Physical development

Your child grows at his or her own pace, and healthy growth is different for every child. Children in this age group:

  • Often have a growth spurt, starting at about age 11 in girls and about age 13 in boys. This rapid growth usually starts before or during puberty.
    • Girls begin to develop breasts and start their periods. Boys grow facial hair. Both boys and girls grow pubic hair.
    • Boys may lag behind girls in height during these years, but they usually end up taller.

Thinking and reasoning (cognitive development)

Children in this age group:

  • Typically think in concrete ways but are gradually beginning to grasp abstract and symbolic concepts.
  • Begin to see that issues are not just clear-cut and that information can be interpreted in different ways.
  • Typically focus on the present, but are starting to understand that what they do now can have long-term effects on them.
  • May be self-centred and can be insensitive to others.

Emotional and social development

Children in this age group:

  • Begin to establish their own identities and become more independent from their families.
  • May form strong friendships and prefer to be with their friends or on their own rather than with family members.
  • May have periods when they are sullen and aloof.
  • May look to friends, instead of parents, for advice.

Sensory and motor development

Children in this age group:

  • May be a little awkward or clumsy. Their brains need time to adjust to longer limbs and bigger bodies.


Current as of:
September 20, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine