Emotional Development

  • Moodiness and roller-coaster emotions emerge during puberty. Kids can be happy one moment and then violently angry or very depressed the next—and you often won’t be able to figure out why. Be patient and gentle with kids, as they experience strong emotions that can quickly change.
  • Many talk in violent terms. “I’ll kill him.” “I want to beat her up.” “He’s so bad, he should die.” Some deal with anger and injustice verbally. Others slam doors or stomp their feet. If they act out in destructive ways, get them help with expressing strong emotion.
  • Emotionally, young teenagers bristle at any physical affection from their parents. Some like a lot of physical affection from their friends while others like to keep their distance.
  • Many kids can become very emotionally sensitive. They’re easily offended and easily hurt.
  • Some kids will give you the silent treatment when they become angry—or if they don’t get their way. Give them time to simmer down. They’ll talk to you again (usually when they need something from you).
  • Some kids begin dabbling in more serious risk behaviors (such as self-harm, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or having sex). Help kids steer clear of these behaviors. Talk with them about what they’re experiencing—and what they’re seeing going on with their peers. Some are struggling with difficult issues.