What Is Normal Behavior for a 12-Year-Old Girl?

Reviewed on 6/28/2021

A 12-year-old girl is not a teenager yet not exactly a child anymore. Normal behavior for a 12-year-old girl may include mood swings, increasing technological savvy, development of new interests and other changes.
A 12-year-old girl is not a teenager yet not exactly a child anymore. Normal behavior for a 12-year-old girl may include mood swings, increasing technological savvy, development of new interests and other changes.

A 12-year-old girl may be talkative, noisy, funny and getting smarter. The girl is at the cusp of puberty. Everything is changing. They are not teenagers yet and not exactly children anymore. Girls at the age of 12 years are usually polite to their parents and enjoy a close relationship with both parents.

  • There may be occasional mood swings and they may tend to be aggressive, moody and downright rude when they turn 12 years old.
  • Due to some factors, they may start to sulk, refuse to participate in games and become shy when they understand the surroundings. At 12 years of age, girls may start menstruating; hence, mood changes are common.
  • Most girls at this age are well on their way to establishing a hardworking, trustworthy and conscientious identity. They are getting more adept at maintaining lies and more sensitive to the repercussions of their actions and they may have strong feelings of guilt after lying.
  • At this age, their sense of humor starts to change. They grasp abstract relationships, but they can also be susceptible to naive opinions and one-sided arguments. Twelve-year-old girls are also capable of abstract thinking and hypothetical reasoning.
  • They look up to older teens and peer approval is crucial for their sense of identity. Twelve-year-old girls can be critical of themselves and their appearance.
  • Hormonal imbalances can trigger strong emotions that kids don't always understand. Sex experimentation can begin and body consciousness is a big issue.
  • Preteens are technologically savvy, but their skills are likely to outpace their judgment.
  • Twelve-year-old girls’ interests tend to stray more toward sports, art, literature, etc. These things are perceived, in some circles, as being more grown-up.
  • At this age, kids should begin making healthy food choices on their own. However, they sometimes eat a lot of junk food if not controlled.

Some days, your 12-year-old will be the perfect child and on others, they might want to rebel every chance they get. In conclusion, 12-year-old girls are complex, interesting creatures that defy being put into a box.

How can I help my twelve-year-old daughter?

There are ways you can take a more active role in ensuring that your 12-year-old girl stays safe and happy.

  • Recognize that a 12-year-old girl’s physical growth may not keep pace with emotional development. Don’t push (or allow) your youngster into a physical activity just because others are doing it.
  • Attend more events in which your daughter participates. Discuss her abilities with the leader or coach and don’t demand total success. (Teaching your daughter how to be a good sport if she loses is also important.)
  • Acknowledge your child’s sexual growth. If you can’t handle conversations, look to someone like a teacher or a doctor for help. Inform them about safe sex and teenage pregnancy.
  • Talk together about ways your 12-year-old girl can earn money, such as by keeping her room clean or by participating in local community service projects.
  • If your daughter is rebellious (a child’s way of seeking independence), find ways to offer your preteen ways to make decisions. For example, ask her to write down “things I think I can do alone now.” Go over them and choose together.
  • Your preteen may want private doctor exams. Respect that.
  • Talk to your child about the dangers of smokingvapingalcohol and drugs. Let them know it might be tempting but the long-term side effects may be bad for their health and family.
  • Monitor your child's internet usage. Keep the family computer in a place where you can watch what your child is doing. Install safety filters and check the browser history to see what websites your child has visited. Talk to your child about online safety, cyberbullying and appropriate use of social media.
  • You should go over safety basics with them. No password exchanges, no clicking on contests and revealing personal information, set privacy controls to the highest level, etc.
  • Forthright and long conversations about honesty are necessary. When sticky situations arise, be straightforward with your child to avoid sending mixed messages.

Good role models are still crucial for your girl, so consider enlisting close family members or caring neighbors to guide your children through challenging social interactions. It's going to get harder before it gets easier.

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References
Children's Neuropsychological Services: "Developmental Milestones for 12-14 Year Olds." https://www.childrensneuropsych.com/parents-guide/milestones/12-14-years/

Purdue Extension: "Ages and Stages." https://extension.purdue.edu/4h/Documents/Teens%20as%20Teachers%202021/Ages%20and%20Stages%20document.pdf

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