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The Growing Child: Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)

How much will my adolescent grow?

The teenage years are also called adolescence. During this time, parents will see the greatest amount of growth in height and weight in their child. Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes. An adolescent may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth, then have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty (sexual maturation) may occur gradually or several signs may become visible at the same time.

There is a great amount of variation in the rate of changes that may occur. Some teenagers may experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others. The following indicates the average for adolescents 13 to 18 years old:

Growth increases:

Females (between 13 to 18 years)

Weight:68 to 110 pounds

Height:8.5 to 9.5 inches

Males: (between 13 to 18 years)

Weight: 76 to 118 pounds

Height: 10.5 to 20 inches

Puberty changes:
Females: 8 to 13 years of age
Males: 9.5 to 14 years of age

What changes will occur during puberty?

Picture of a mother and daughter working on the computer

Sexual and other physical maturation that occurs during puberty is a result of hormonal changes. As a child nears puberty, a gland in the brain, called the pituitary gland, increases the secretion of a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone then causes additional effects. In girls, FSH activates the ovaries to start producing estrogen. In boys, FSH causes sperm to develop.

In boys, it is difficult to know exactly when puberty is coming. There are changes that occur, but they occur gradually and over a period of time, rather than as a single event. While each male adolescent is different, the following are average ages when puberty changes may occur:

Girls also experience puberty as a sequence of events, but their pubertal changes usually begin before boys of the same age. Each girl is different and may progress through these changes differently. The following are average ages when puberty changes may occur:

There are specific stages of development that both boys and girls go through when developing secondary sexual characteristics (the physical characteristics of males and females that are not involved in reproduction such as voice changes, body shape, pubic hair distribution, and facial hair). The following is a brief overview of the changes that occur:

What does my adolescent understand?

The teenage years bring many changes, not only physically, but also mentally and socially. During these years, adolescents increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually make plans and set long-term goals. Each child may progress at a different rate and may have a different view of the world. In general, the following are some of the abilities that may be evident in your adolescent:

As your adolescent begins to struggle for independence and control, many changes may occur. The following are some of the issues that may be involved with your adolescent during these years:

How to assist your adolescent in developing socially:

Consider the following as ways to foster your adolescent's social abilities:

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Growth & Development


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