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A Blog from Your Kaiser Permanente Pediatricians in Northern California

11-Year-Olds

Your 11-Year-Old

Ages 11 to 14 are often referred to as early adolescence. Wow, you almost have a teenager in the house! These years are an exciting time of many varied and rapid changes. Your child grows taller and stronger and also starts to feel and think in more mature ways. You may feel amazed as you watch your child begin to turn into a teen.

This can be a confusing time for both kids and parents. Both must get used to the new person the child is becoming. This new person, at age 11, is usually a lot of fun to be around but may give you some challenges too.

Most children by age 11:

  • Have growth patterns related to gender: Girls are usually taller and weigh more than boys.
  • May experience pubescent growth spurt if female (usually a year or two later for males).
  • May be experiencing sudden, dramatic, emotional changes associated with puberty. Signs of early puberty may develop in both girls and boys. In general, puberty usually starts for girls between the ages of 9 and 11, and for most boys between the ages of 9½ and 13.
  • Can be preoccupied with and self-conscious about their appearance. They can be hard on themselves and ultra-sensitive to criticism – it will help to hear how great you think they are!
  • May be curious about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco – time to get ready to answer some big questions.
  • Have an increasing attention and concentration span and strive to succeed. You may find that homework time suddenly becomes easier as they become more self-motivated.
  • Have strong opinions – get a conversation going at the dinner table so you can learn about their opinions.
  • Still want parental assistance, but may resist when it’s offered.
  • Can be critical of parents.
  • Are concerned with prestige and popularity.
  • Like to belong to a group and be like others.
  • Prefer to spend time on weekends with friends but, don’t worry too much, they’re still very connected to you. They just don’t want to show it around their friends!

Children usually progress in a natural, predictable sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. However, each child grows and gains skills at their own pace. Some may be advanced in one area, such as language, but slower in another, such as motor development.

Enjoy watching your child learn and develop, but try not to worry too much. They’re their own person with unique strengths and challenges. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, talk to your pediatrician at your next well-child visit, make a video or telephone appointment, or send an email with your questions.

Disclaimer: If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.