Learn All About Changes in Preadolescence

The transition between childhood and adolescence begins approximately from ages 8 to 14. Changes in preadolescence are complicated, not only for children but also for their parents. Read on to learn all about them!
Learn All About Changes in Preadolescence

Last update: 29 October, 2019

During preadolescence, children suffer from mood swings, are easily bored, and everything bothers them. They don’t know how to manage the changes caused by this transformation and personality development. Thus, parents should be prepared to face the changes in preadolescence that their children will surely experience.

12 defining characteristics of preteens

Learn All About Changes in Preadolescence

The habits that children must have when they reach adolescence will help them coexist with and relate to others.

Generally, children who are experiencing changes in preadolescence:

  1. Are quite extroverted and talkative.
  2. Occasionally have childish behavior.
  3. May be mischievous and restless.
  4. Don’t isolate themselves. Know how to get along with people who aren’t part of their family.
  5. Are rebellious.
  6. Are enthusiastic and passionate about what they like.
  7. Like to investigate, explore, and discover.
  8. Are cheerful and smiling but experience constant mood swings.
  9. Are self-confident.
  10. Always want to keep up with fashion trends.
  11. Recognize and fulfill their duties and obligations.
  12. Protest about the things they don’t like or consider unfair.

How preteens perceive the world

Changes in preadolescence usually affect the perspective that children have of the world around them. They no longer look up to adults such as their parents or teachers. Although they have the same affection for their parents, they start scrutinizing them for flaws.

Hence, preteens are often rude. If telling the truth will get them in trouble, they may choose to lie.

Types of changes in preadolescence

During this stage, children’s bodies undergo a transformation that will prepare them for adolescence. Here are the most important changes their bodies undergo:

Emotional changes

Children can learn to control their emotions with their parents’ example. In addition, they mature as you teach them. Therefore, you must be open and honest with your children.

Express your feelings to them, letting them know your doubts and fears. This way, you also teach them to be patient with others.

Physical changes in preadolescence

The changes they undergo are due to the appearance of characteristics necessary to transform them into adults. Although sexual changes in preadolescence aren’t that noticeable, you may see:

  • In girls, breast buds appear, which manifest with small bumps under the nipple. A few months later, pubic hair appears. They undergo a growth spurt, reaching their maximum height at age 12. At this stage, girls start to suffer from acne.
  • In the case of boys, enlargement of the testicles occurs. Shortly thereafter, pubic and underarm hair appears. Their body mass increases gradually and they reach their maximum height at age 14. As in girls, they start suffering from acne.

Social changes in preadolescence

Children begin to build their identity, leading them to form a sense of self-identify in their environment. They care about the image they project to others, which is why they get frustrated when they don’t meet their own expectations.

Learn All About Changes in Preadolescence

The way they perceive and relate to others also changes as they start to detach from their family. That’s the reason why they demand more independence. In addition, they want to build new friendships and be more involved in other activities. They feel the need to be a part of social circles and groups to have more social contact.

Psychological changes in preadolescence

Intellectual development causes contradictory behaviors in preteens. This is due to the fact that their childish thoughts collide with their new adult ones. They begin to perceive and worry about the future consequences of their actions. Time perception and cognitive capacity will vary.

Biological changes will transform their mindset regarding sexuality, which is why they may start dealing with insecurities and fears.

Negative body image

One problem that preteens have in this stage is body dissatisfaction. This leads many preteens to adopt unhealthy eating behaviors or follow extreme diets. This is why gastrointestinal distress, bone development problems, fatigue, delayed growth, and delayed puberty are so common in this stage.

Learn All About Changes in Preadolescence

The factors that contribute to this dissatisfaction is the media and the standards it sets. Their friends’ and relatives’ eating behaviors and weight can also influence children’s perception. Another factor may be the importance that children ascribe to their appearance. This results from the attention they pay to criticism and taunting.

Ultimately, these changes in preadolescence affect how children see the world and their future. Although they’ll be more aware of the consequences their actions cause, this is just the beginning of a transition process to adolescence.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cova, F.; Maganto, C.; y Melipillán, R. (2005). “Género, adversidad familiar y síntomas emocionales en preadolescentes”, Psykhe, 14 (1): 34-51.
  • Krauskopf, D. (1999). “El desarrollo psicológico en la adolescencia: las transformaciones en una época de cambios”, Adolescencia y Salud, 1 (2): 23-31.
  • Tello, P. M. (1995). “Educación artística y preadolescencia”, Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 24: 99-111.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.