Speakers: Gordon and Becki West

Website: www.kidzatheart.org

  • Preteens are no longer kids but not quite teenagers; neither children nor youth.
  • Preteens fall into ages of 10-14 years.
  • Transescence- begins prior to onset of puberty and continues through early adolescence. It marks the change between childhood and adolescence.

Preteens- what are they like?

  • Social (social characteristics)
    • Peer-centered
    • Have a critical spirit to help them feel better about themselves
    • Need “chums” (an appropriately intimate best friend of the same gender)
    • “Born free” (seeking independence but still need guidance)
    • “Body” wars (become overly concerned about appearance)
    • Talk, talk, talk
  • Moody (emotional characteristics)
    • Stressed out about gender roles and changes in their bodies
    • Unable to control emotions
    • Act out in anger because of insecure feelings
    • Need affirmations that the changes they are going through are normal
    • Full of fears, worry, and anxiety
  •  Self-Absorbed (what children believe about the world)
    • Egocentric- totally focused on self
    • Preteen’s thoughts=thoughts of others
    • Have an “Imaginary Audience” (what a preteen perceives others think of them)
    • Tells “Personal Fables” (a story a preteen tells themselves that’s not true)
    • Feel invincible
  • Rambunctious (physical characteristics)
    • Girls grow. Boys play.
    • Awkward and clumsy (muscles and bones grow at different rates)
    • Tired (they are in a growth spurt)
    • Hormones arise
  • Thinkers (intellectual characteristics)
    • Curious
    • Ask “what?” and “so what?”
    • Want relevancy
    • Concrete thinkers transitioning to abstract
    • Don’t understand time and the future (leaders must communicate to parents)

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