Physical Development

  • Older teenagers typically look physically older than they are. Fifteen-year-olds can be mistaken for 21-year-olds, which is why some teenagers find themselves in troubling situations.
  • Since all kids go through five stages of puberty, you’ll continue to see older teenagers mature. Even during the high school years, you’ll notice teenagers maturing at different rates. This is normal, even if teenagers don’t feel like it is.
  • Most teenagers have trouble waking up in the morning. Part of this is because they stay up later. But part of it is biological. Older teenagers tend to shortchange sleep, which can hinder their development. Don’t be afraid to let them sleep until noon—or even until the middle of the afternoon—on weekends.

Why sleep is so important >

  • Teenagers still need healthy nutrition, but this is the time when parents typically have the least influence on how a teenager eats. Keep offering healthy food, but be patient. Modeling healthy eating habits often pays off in the long run, and be ready to answer questions about food and health. Even if teens are not eating the way you’d like them to, they are often curious about their bodies and nutrition.

Get tips for maintaining good health >

  • If your child is not athletic, help her find a sport or physical activity she enjoys. At this age, kids who don’t excel athletically are tempted to avoid all physical activity. Modeling and talking about the importance of exercise can make an impact long term.

Get tips for motivating couch potato kids >