Middle Adolescence (Approximate Ages 14-16)

Diet and Nutrition

  • BMI is a measure of weight adjusted for height and helps us accurately assess the level of body fat and overall health of your child.
    • < 5th percentile – underweight
    • 5th – 84th percentile – healthy weight
    • 85th – 95th percentile – overweight
    • >95th percentile – obese
    • >99th percentile – morbidly obesity
  • As always, it is important to remember that children should never cut calories or diet. This can result in a disruption in their normal growth patterns and may prevent them from taking in nutrients that they need for normal growth and development of organs. We strongly encourage that they learn to make healthy choices, eat appropriate portion sizes and stay active.
  • Currently, in the US, school age children are consuming 10% of dietary energy in the form of juices and soft drinks. These should be treats and not given soon a daily basis. Now is the time for your children to learn the correct concepts of good nutrition.

Sleep

  • Sleep is very important to overall health and well-being in children – a typical school aged child requires about 10 hours of sleep every night. They still need predictable bedtime routines and need “down time” that is not interrupted by television or other forms of stimulation (computers, cell phones, caffeinated beverages).

Independence – Dependence Struggle

  • Conflicts become more prevalent as the adolescent exhibits less interest in parents and devote more of his or her time to peers.
  • Have a positive relationship. Show affection.
  • Model the positive behaviors you want to your adolescent to have. Talk out loud as you problem solve.
  • Provide opportunities for our adolescent to develop independent decision making. Be willing to make compromises but set expectations as well as consequences.

Body Image Concerns

  • At no other time than middle adolescence is the powerful role of peer groups more evident.
  • Intense involvement by the adolescent in his or her peer subculture.
  • Conformity by the adolescent with peer values, codes, and dress in an attempt to further separate from family.
  • Increased involvement in heterosexual relationships.
  • Involvement with club, team sports, gangs, and other groups.
  • Adolescent’s reactions to peer pressure are extremely varied, and peer pressures can also involve a desire to excel academically, in sports, or other positive activities.

Identity Development

  • The abilities to abstract and reason continue to increase in the middle adolescence along with a new sense of individuality.
  • Increased scope and openness of feeling with a new ability to examine the feelings of others.
  • Increased intellectual ability and creativity
  • Less idealistic vocational aspirations
  • A feeling of omnipotence and immortality, leading to risk-taking behavior

Risk Reduction

  • Know where and with whom your adolescent is spending leisure time.
  • Clearly define rules and acceptable behavior.
  • Discuss tobacco, alcohol and other drug use. Discuss expectations.
  • Consider locking liquor in a cabinet and lock where prescription drugs are stored.
  • Set limits and expectations about driving.
  • If sexually active, discuss importance to protect them/partner from unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Discuss that healthy dating/relationships are built on respect, concern, and doing activities that both enjoy.
  • Avoid risky situations. Avoid violent people. Call for help if things get dangerous.