Developmental Milestones

  • Increase their hypothetical reasoning abilities
  • Conduct increasing future planning
  • Experience further sexual maturation and explore issues of sexual identity
  • Exhibit greater complexity of moral reasoning, including abstract principles such as unselfishness and altruism
  • Tend to rely increasingly on similarity of values and shared interests to form friendships
  • Spend majority of time with friends, less time with parents
  • Refine interests and aptitudes, gain proficiency in one or more activities

What's on Their Minds

  • Describe themselves in more varied ways and struggle with the concept of a "real self"
  • Express concern about identity—who they are and will become
  • Develop feelings of sexual attraction and think about an appropriate person to love
  • Rely on friendships and peers to affirm "who they are"
  • Feel pressure to answer questions about their future

Building Parent-Child Relationships

  • Express faith in young person's abilities
  • Listen and try to understand
  • Be a positive role model
  • Respect their opinions
  • Guide adolescents by openly discussing choices and consequences
  • Spend pleasurable time together
  • Respect their increasing need for privacy

Maximize the Camp Experience

  • Select camp together by discussing important aspects to each of you
  • Differentiate camp from school
  • Look for camps that enhance self-esteem by providing opportunities for success in one or more activities that are important to your child
  • Allow child to assume responsibility for camp preparation (e.g., help to shop for necessities, help to pack, help to complete registration forms)
  • Consider longer camp stays as appropriate at this age
  • Consider junior counselor or leadership training options for some camps/campers