Realistic Behavioral Expectations: What to Expect from 10 to 14-year old’s
The tween and teen years often feel to parents and teachers like they are back at the “terrible
twos” stage. The challenges of working with children at this age can be frustrating. They are
very smart but their emotions are all over the place. This can make it difficult for adults to be
patient and allow them to work through this process. Knowing what to expect, though, it key in
helping everyone get through this transition.
Children ages 10 to 14 years old are highly intelligent. They are even smarter than most adults!
These tween/teen years are a time when they begin discovering more of who they are and
where they fit in. They are gaining more control over their growing bodies, so they typically excel
at physical challenges. This is also a time when friends become more important to them and
choices in activities are made based on friendships.
But with all of this exciting growth comes some challenging times for parents and teachers.
Children between the ages of 10 and 14 years old begin thinking that they know it all and,
although their intelligence supports this, they don’t have the experience to act like an adult.
They often make “bone-headed” decisions. At this age, children are also experiencing a roller
coaster of emotions due to puberty ruling their bodies. They may feel happy and smart one
minute and then sad and dumb the next. And one of the biggest challenges for adults when
working with the age group is that the combination of intelligence and strong emotions lead to
One of the best ways that adults can best work with these tweens and teens is to have them be
actively engaged in the process of this very important transition time. Giving them choices is
vital to this. It is also important to allow disagreements and use open ended questions to help
them discover why they have a certain opinion and how they differ from others. Remembering
that the strong emotions they have are not personal, they are just trying to figure out how to
navigate the changes they are experiencing.
The Extreme SKILLZ program was developed with this age group in mind. This age group is so
focused on what is socially acceptable that they have a hard time keeping themselves
emotionally driven. When working with the age group, the highly trained instructors of this
program make connections with these students. They also use Teaching SKILLZ in each class
to work towards the goal of nurturing their social and emotional instability while building skills
that set them up for success. Giving them choices in class and working on tapping into their
intrinsic motivation are just two of the important Teaching SKILLZ that are used.
Engaging with tweens and teens can be fun and exciting because their personalities are
becoming more established. They can participate in more in-depth conversations when allowed
to express their opinions without being mocked for them. Parents and teachers that allow safe,
open discussions will reach this age group far better than someone that lectures them. Building
these children up will ensure a brighter future for them.