Young Adolescents

Physical Developmental Characteristics

Have you ever wondered why...

your child may appear unorganized?he/she cannot explain their actions or feelings?they have never acted this way before?The brain undergoes remarkable development during young adolescence. Researchers observe that the preforontal cortex, the area of the brain that handles executive functions including planning, reasoning, anticipating consequences, sustaining attention and making decisions is not fully devleoped in young adolescents.  They also note gender-specific differences in young adolescent brains (National Middle School Association, 2009).

Things you may have noticed about your young adolesent...

Height changes, weight changes, changes in skeletal and muscular systems, growing pains, Improvement in gross and fine moter skills, accelerated and uneven growth, coordination Issues, The body undergoes more development than at any other time, except the firts two years of life. Girls tend to mature 1 to 2 years earlier than boys. They feel uncomfortable about the visible changes that they experience during pruberty (National MIddle School Association, 2009).


Young adolescents may appear restless and display lassitude due to physical growth.  They are also at risk for experimentation in high risk behaviors, and exhibit poor health habits.  Even though young adolescents should being eat well during this high growth period, they may make poor choices when it comes to nutrition.

Implications for Practice

Changes are natural and common.  Those close to young adoescents need to recognize that physical developmental characteristics may affect young adolescents' emotional/psychological and social development.  For example, schools need to ensure that young adolescents have access to plenty of water and nutritous food during the school day.  Schools should provide curricula and other educational programs that encourage sound nutrition, sufficient exercise, and healthy lifestyles.  When planning activities teachers need to minimize situations that promote competition and possible comparison between early-and late-maturing youth (National Middle School Association, 2009).