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Social and Emotional Development: Your 13-Year-Old Teen

An In-depth Look at Your 13-year-old Teen's Social and Emotional Development


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

social Emotional Development Teens 13-year-old

Thirteen-year-old teens often have mood swings where they are happy one minute and sad the next for no apparent reason.

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Social and Emotional Development in Teens: 14-Year-Old Teen | 15-Year-Old Teen | 16-Year-Old Teen | 17-Year-Old Teen | 18-Year-Old Teen

Thirteen-year-old teens are dealing with the physical changes in their body - puberty - emotionally as well as physically. Change is not easy for most people at any age and your 13-year-old is dealing with one of the biggest changes of their lives. This will cause your young teen to feel uncertain, moody and be hyper-sensitive to what others think of them, especially their peers.

Mood Swings and Moodiness

Thirteen-year-old teens are dealing with raging hormones one minute and the idea of being too small or too big the next. Add school stress or peer problems and their moods will run from one extreme to another. This is normal behavior, but you will still want to check on them to be sure there isn't something in particular happening in their life that they may need help with, like bullying issues.

Worries About Being Normal

Your 13-year-old will be sensitive to their changing bodies and take notice of the changes in their peers. They may be worried over anything that is different about them and wonder if they are abnormal. For instance, your teen daughter may look at the one girl in her class who is filling out a B cup and wonder if she is ever going to get out of her training type bras. Or, your teen son may start shaving his chin because he heard that will promote hair growth as only guys who don't have at least fuzz on their chin by their age are the blue guys on the Avatar movie.

This can be hard for parents because your young teen's worries aren't always sensible, but they are real worries to your teen. Assure them that they are normal and in time they will be the person they were meant to be. And that person will not be the laughing stock of their town because they grew abnormally tall, they have extra big ears, they're sporting boat feet, etc. Let them know you are always there to talk if they need to run any 'abnormal body question' by you. Then give them the time and space they need to work out their own thoughts and feelings.

Need for Privacy

Thirteen-year-old teens need to have their own personal time and space. If you haven't already, it's time to start knocking at their bedroom door before entering and never enter the bathroom without asking if your teen is in there. Your young teen is starting on the road to becoming an independent young adult who 'has a say' over their space, their body and their thoughts. Don't be upset or try to pry if they want to spend sometime on their own or keep their feelings to themselves.

Other Emotional Development Issues for 13-Year-Old Teens

  • This age teen will feel like they are being watched and judged.
  • They are very concerned about their body image.
  • Their self-esteem is vulnerable or at a low-ebb.
  • They often do not think their parents know what they are feeling.
  • Angry and hurt feelings may turn to tears over almost anything as they ride their emotional roller coaster.

Worried That You 13-year-old Teen's Development Isn't Normal?

Many parents of 13-year-old teens worry that their social and emotional development is too fast or not fast enough. Or parents start to see warning signs of substance abuse or signs of mental health problems as adolescence is often the time social and emotional problems surface. If this is true for your teen, seek help right away.

Social and Emotional Development in Teens: 14-Year-Old Teen | 15-Year-Old Teen | 16-Year-Old Teen | 17-Year-Old Teen | 18-Year-Old Teen

Quick Links: Your 13-Year-Old Teen

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