Essential Facts About Teens: How To Handle Teenage Years And Prevail Over Peer Pressures

Kids aged 13 to 16 aren't little kids anymore. They're teens or a tween -- and it's time to tweak every parenting skills to keep up with them.

Yes, they're probably moodier now than when they were young. And parents have new things to think about, such as curfews, dating, new drivers and friends who make every parent raise their eyebrows.

First phase would be understanding the teen years, as per Focus On The Family. So when does adolescence start? Everybody's different as there are early bloomers, late arrivers, speedy developers and slow-but-steady growers. In other words, there's a wide range of what's considered normal.

But it's important to make a (somewhat artificial) distinction between puberty and adolescence. Most people think of puberty as the development of adult sexual characteristics: breasts, menstrual periods, pubic hair and facial hair.

These are certainly the most visible signs of puberty and impending adulthood but kids who are showing physical changes (between the ages of 8 and 14 or so) also can be going through a bunch of changes that aren't readily seen from the outside. These are the changes of adolescence.

Many kids announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They're starting to separate from mom and dad and become more independent.

At the same time, kids this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and are desperately trying to fit in. Their peers often become much more important than parents as far as making decisions. Kids often start "trying on" different looks and identities, and they become very aware of how they differ from their peers, which can result in episodes of distress and conflict with parents.

No doubt about it. According to Empowering Parents, kids who are teens or tweens will test his parents' limits and patience. But they're still kids and though they won't admit it, they still need their parents!

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