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Developmental Characteristics of 7th Graders

Developmental Characteristics of 7th Graders

Every child’s development is unique. Although children develop through a generally predictable sequence of milestones, we cannot say exactly when a child will reach each and every stage. Every child has his or her own timetable. The characteristics below are offered only as a reference to give you a better understanding of your child. Feel free to contact your pediatrician and/or your child’s school if you have any questions.

The Twelve -Year-Old

Physical Development

  • High energy, but much rest needed
  • Growth spurts; girls ahead of boys; wide differences among individuals in rates of development
  • Physical activities and sports valued
  • Eating patterns change, overconcern for dieting
  • Feel awkward and may worry about body
  • Increased need for personal hygiene

Social and Emotional Development

  • Struggle with sense of identity
  • Moodiness
  • Can be enthusiastic at some times; lethargic at other times
  • Friendships with both sexes are important
  • Complain that parents interfere with independence
  • More likely to express feelings by actions than words
  • Peer vocabulary (slang) important
  • Less overt affection and attention shown to parents, with occasional rudeness; test limits
  • Impulsive, unaware
  • Experience extremes of emotions
  • Inclusion/exclusion; height of cliques, seek to belong, discovery of telephone
  • Experimenting with behavior, roles, appearance, self-image
  • Difficulty with decisions but need to be able to make some choices for themselves
  • Demand privileges, but may avoid responsibilities
  • Feel unique; believe that no one else has ever felt the way they do; suffered so much, or been so misunderstood

Intellectual Development

  • Hormonal and physical demands of puberty may cause slowing of rate of cognitive development during early adolescence
  • Increased ability to think abstract in intellectual pursuits
  • Learn best when involved in activities that are active, hands-on, and related to real life
  • Concerned with rules, standards of behavior and fairness, especially for themselves
  • Lack of understanding of cause and effect as well as feelings of omnipotence and invulnerability  (”It can’t happen to me.”) can lead to dangerous risk-taking behaviors - - smoking, drugs, drinking, etc.
  • Mostly interested in present, limited thoughts of future
  • May show emerging ability in a particular skill or content area
  • Show improved abilities to use speech for self-expression
  • High interest in current events, politics, social justice; also pop culture, materialism
  • More consistent evidence of conscience
  • Idealistic; may offer “ideal” solutions to complex problems
  • Development of ideals and selection of role models
  • May question parents’ religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other values

The Thirteen -Year-Old

Physical Development

  • Wide differences in the rate of physical growth among individuals; girls 95% of mature height is average; boys - voice change; growth about a year behind girls
  • Skin problems emerging; hygiene a key issue
  • Eating patterns change
  • Uneven coordination
  • Worry about being normal, physically
  • Feel awkward about body
  • Most social/emotional/cognitive developments directly related to physical changes
  • Hormonal/physical demands of puberty may slow intellectual growth
  • Short term thinking may predominate over long term planning
  • Abstract reasoning and “formal operations” begin to be functional in some thirteen year olds. 

Social and Emotional Development

  • Concerned about physical attractiveness to others; the  mirror is their best friend and worst enemy
  • Struggle with sense of identity:
  • Increased distractions from doing homework: Sports, dress, telephone, computer, video games 
  • Music becoming a major preoccupation
  • One word answers to adult questions (minimal feedback)
  • Feel unique, believing that no one has ever felt as they do,suffered so much, loved so deeply, or been so misunderstood
  • Peer relations/peer pressure (being “cool”):
  • Parent relationships:

Intellectual Development

  • Hormonal/physical demands of puberty may slow intellectual growth
  • Short term thinking may predominate over long term planning
  • Abstract reasoning and “formal operations” begin to be functional in some thirteen year olds. 
  • Not willing to take big learning risks (adolescent insecurity)
  • Like to challenge answers
  • Withdrawn and sensitive nature is protective of developing self-concept and intellectual ideas that are not fully formed yet
  • Tentative approach to difficult intellectual tasks; not willingto take big learning risks; this has usually caused the fears and self-consciousness of adolescence
  • Risk-taking behaviors spring from lack of cause-effect thinking; highest incidence of experimentation with drinking, drugs, smoking, etc. takes place between ages 12 and 16
  • Concerns with rules/fairness; idealistic
Reference: "GCISD - Curriculum Guides and Developmental Characteristics." 2002. Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. 7 Dec. 2007 .