Middle School Emotional Development

posted in
Send by email

During the middle school years, the age range of 11 to 14 years old, youth rapidly change physically, cognitively and emotionally.  Because of the physical maturation process, adolescents need a lot of sleep.  Middle school students need to get at least 10 hours of sleep each night.  This is important as well as proper nutrition to support focus and mental energy while in school.  Students who eat and sleep well do better in school than their peers who do not get adequate rest and nutrition.


Emotionally, middle schoolers are complex because they are beginning to separate and individuate from their parents and the family unit.  This is a very healthy and normal process.  It is important that adolescents go through this process to eventually become healthy adults.  Parents can support this process by keeping lines of communication open, yet provide opportunities for their adolescent to make make some of their own decisions and choices.  Where safety is concerned, however, parents need to remain responsible for the emotional and physical health of their child.  Patience and understanding go all long way on the part of parents when adolescents exhibit mood swings and test limits.  Just remembering this is a normal part of development also helps to embrace these challenging years.


Middle schoolers also undergo rapid brain devcelopment.  Higher cognitive processes including  abstract thinking and reasoning take place.  Each individual undergoes this development on his or her unique timeline.  Because of this we tend to see all levels of development along the continuum during the middle school years.  It is absolutely vital that teens protect their developing brains and abstain from drug and alcohol use.  Teenage brains are highly suseptible to addiction and substance abuse.