Reaching 13 years of age marks the beginning of teenage life for a child. For a 13-year-old girl, it means a lot of changes -- physically and emotionally.
As your 13-year-old girl hits new milestones in her life, she is filled with lots of apprehensions and worries. She notices changes in her peers and can see herself maturing slower or faster than others. Assure your teen that every child in her age group matures at different rates. Some grow faster, whereas others might take time.
Here are the changes a girl experiences normally as she turns 13 years of age.
At 13 years of age, your girl is most likely to hit puberty. Her breasts get fuller, her pubic hair starts growing, her skin starts producing oil (sebum), and she might get her first period. All these changes can make her more self-conscious about her body and looks. The appearance of acne can be a major cause of concern.
Thirteen-year-old girls develop a good ability to absorb knowledge through reading, writing, and watching others. Certain topics become more interesting to them.
They become aware of their ability to reason and think rationally.
They start searching for the right word or phrase in different situations.
Your daughter can now understand and grasp concepts. She becomes mature enough to think from another person's point of view in a particular situation.
Although her problem-solving skills develop a lot, she cannot take decisions based on their possible effect on the future. She tends to indulge in impulsive behaviors that increase her chances of falling prey to risky circumstances. For example, she may want to try out a recreational drug while laughing at the possibility of becoming addicted to it in the long run.
Your 13-year-old daughter is more likely to display independent behavior.
She may experience occasional mood swings -- she may want to spend time with you one minute, and a few moments later, she may suddenly behave rudely. At times, she exudes confidence, whereas other times she may become occupied with self-doubts.
She may not open up easily and may lapse into spells of silence.
She is mindful of what to speak and can shy away from talking to strangers.
Your daughter is more likely to spend more time with her friends than with you and other family members. She begins to confide more in her peers.
It is common for 13-year-old children to explore dating and romancing as they become aware of their sexual interests. There may be some degree of experimentation with sexuality, as well.
How can you help your 13-year-old girl?
While your 13-year-old daughter navigates through various changes in her life, you can offer her support and help her ease the transition safely. Here is what you can and should do.
- Try to know about your daughter's friends and express interest to your daughter in meeting them.
- Encourage your daughter to open up about recent experiences in her life.
- Start having serious conversations about social issues, such as drinking, safe sex, and bullying.
- Let your daughter know that she needs to be independent and start earning money. Offer them suggestions for earning opportunities, such as babysitting for your neighbor's baby or taking your neighbor's pet for a walk.
- Casually ask your daughter about which social media handles she is active in. Tell her to be cautious while making new virtual friends and warn her of the risks that such channels pose.
- Make sure she has a balanced diet and does not indulge in crash dieting or unhealthy eating habits.
- Teach her about periods, the correct use of pads and tampons, and how to manage period cramps with rest and a hot water bag without resorting to unproven herbal remedies and medications.
If you are overwhelmed with changes in your daughter as she becomes a teen, open up and look for suggestions from your family members, peers, or neighbors who have teen daughters. For additional concerns, you can schedule a trip to your daughter's pediatrician.
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"Teen Growth and Development, Ages 11 to 14." SutterHealth.org. August 2019. <https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/parenting-preteens-teens/physical/teen-growth-development-ages-11-to-14>.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Child Development: Young Teens (12-14 years of age)." Feb. 22, 2021. <https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/adolescence.html>.