Your 14-Year-Old Teen's Social and Emotional Development

Most 14-year-olds love interacting with friends on social media.
Bloom Productions/Taxi/Getty Images

For most 14-year-old teens gaining more privileges and freedom from parents and "little kid rules" become front and center in their social and emotional development.

Fourteen can be a pivotal age. While some 14-year-olds start heading down the path toward becoming a healthy responsible adult, others begin to rebel and get mixed up with the wrong crowd. It's an important time to ensure you're giving your child plenty of guidance and helping him gain the skills he needs for a successful future.

A Shift in the Parent/Child Relationship

It's normal for 14-year-olds to stop confiding in their parents. Instead, they're more likely to turn to their friends and seek advice from their peers. For many families, increased independence means a major shift in the parent/child relationship. And for some parents, that's hard to accept.

It's important to give a 14-year-old space to grow. Allow for a little privacy and support your teen's efforts. Make it clear that you're there to listen, but don't pressure him to talk to you about everything. 

14-Year-Old Teens Want to Be Liked

Fourteen-year-olds want to be accepted by their high school peers. Individuality is not as important as being part of the group. Your teen may get anxious if he doesn't feel like he fits in. It could take a toll on his self-confidence and he may be at-risk of seeking support from unhealthy people if he doesn't find a healthy place to belong.

Address Disrespectful Behavior

Fourteen-year-old teens often start to grow convinced they know everything. So don't be surprised if your teen wants to argue with you about everything or if he insists you have no idea what you're talking about.

Don't allow your teen to get away with disrespectful behavior. If you do, your teen may grow up to become a rude adult. Point out rude behavior when you see it and make it clear that you expect him to treat you with respect. Follow through with consequences when your teen breaks the rules or crosses the line.

Give Your 14-Year-Old Some Control

It's likely your 14-year-old will insist your rules are too strict or that you expect too much from her. Make it clear that she has some control over her privileges. Assign chores and expect her to do her school work. Make her privileges contingent on getting things done.

Show her that you'll give her more responsibility once she can prove to you that she can handle more freedom. Once your teen knows that she has some control over how much freedom she earns, she'll be more likely to meet your expectations. 

Worried That You 14-year-old Teen's Development Isn't Normal?

Many parents of 14-year-old teens worry that their social and emotional development is too fast or not fast enough. Or parents start to see warning signs of substance abuse or mental health problems as adolescence is often the time social and emotional problems surface. If this is true for your teen, seek help right away.