• 12 year-olds *


    • very energetic; needs lots of sleep, exercise, and food (including in-school snacks)
    • enjoys physical education and sports
    • boys and girls have growth spurts
    • girls show signs of puberty; most are menstruating


    • adult personality begins to emerge
    • capable of self-awareness, insight, and empathy; more reasonable and tolerant than at eleven
    • enthusiastic and uninhibited; appears to feel insecure
    • cares more about peer opinions than those of teachers and parents
    • will initiate their own activities without adult prompting
    • benefit immensely from (and want to help plan) ceremonies and rituals to mark turning points on their way to adulthood
    • wants to make money from jobs at home or in their neighborhood


    • understands and enjoys sarcasm, double meanings, word play, and more sophisticated jokes
    • enjoys conversation with adults and peers
    • values peer vocabulary (slang)


    • more able to think abstractly
    • may begin to excel at a subject (such as Science) or a skill (such as drawing)
    • can and will see both sides of an argument
    • very interested in civics, history, current events, politics, social justice, and environmental issues, as well as pop culture and the latest cool clothes, watches, etc.
    • increasingly able to organize their thoughts and their work

    *Yardsticks, by Chip Wood, 3rd Edition