Differences in Preteens & Teens


Although preteens and teens may have some similar characteristics, they are actually significantly different in the way they think, feel, look, and behave.

Physical differences in preteens and teens

The age of puberty is different for each child. Some children may enter puberty as early as 10 years old. The preteen years are the years of rapid changes, physically and psychologically. Meanwhile, the growth from the teen years to the early 20s is much slower and steadier. The rapid transition is the most prominent difference between preteens and teens.

Emotional differences in preteens and teens

The emotional transition is tough for preteens. They can appear calm and mature in one situation and then act like a child in the next one. Preteens start to notice the weaknesses and flaws in their parents. They start to realize that their parents are not infallible, which may shock them severely. Although this problem may last for a few years past the preteen stage, teens have had the time to get used to everything, thus are more emotionally stable than preteens.

The battle for independence

Both preteens and teens long for independence. A large number of preteens want both independence and guidance at the same time. They may not feel comfortable with parental affection, especially in public places or when their friends are present. Teens have the tendency to challenge authority. However, they are generally self-assured and more resilient towards peer pressure than preteens.

Behavioral differences in preteens and teens

The markets for preteens and teens have been considered as a single demographic. However, an eMarketer study suggests otherwise. The study reveals that preteens are more drawn to online games while most teens have their eyes on social networks. As children go from the preteen years into teenagehood, they often grow an interest in socializing.

Brain development differences

Needless to say, the mental development is not the same in preteens and teens. Experts believe that the frontal cortex experiences a stage of rapid growth just before puberty. The brain works at its full capacity to produce new brain cells and create new pathways. After puberty, some of the pathways created will be diminished. In preteen years, the brain develops rapidly. Then, in teen years, the brain consolidates itself and gets better at doing its job. Therefore, if you encourage positive behavior in your child’s preteen years, you can shape the way his or her brain develops later.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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