Glendale Riverhills

Developmental Characteristics of Sixth Graders

Every child’s development is unique. Although children develop through a generally predictable sequence of milestones, we cannot say exactly when a child will reach each and every stage. Every child has his or her own timetable. The characteristics below are offered only as a reference to give you a better understanding of your child. Feel free to contact your pediatrician and/or your child’s school if you have any questions.

The Eleven -Year-Old

Physical Development

  • Vast appetite for food, physical activity, and talking
  • Growth spurt of early adolescence for some girls, may feel awkward and clumsy
  • Girls ahead of guys in physical maturity; boys’ big growth spurt may not start until 14; Boys worry if they are ever going to grow
  • Wide differences among individuals in rate of development
  • Curious about opposite sex; girls usually interested first
  • Tiredness; need for more sleep
  • Often uncomfortable with questions and observations about how much they have grown and physical changes
  • Increased need for personal hygiene

Social and Emotional Development

  • Less overt affection and attention shown to parents, with occasional rudeness; tests limits
  • Impulsive, unaware
  • Focus on self, alternating between high expectations and poor self-concept
  • Have tendency to return to childish behavior, particularly when stressed
  • Experience extremes of emotions
  • Inclusive/exclusion; height of cliques, seek to belong, discovery of telephone
  • Experimenting with behavior, roles, appearance, self-image
  • Difficulty with decisions but need to be able to make some choices for themselves
  • Demand privileges, but may avoid responsibilities
  • Feel unique; believe that no one else has ever felt the way they do; suffered so much, or been so misunderstood

Intellectual Development

  • Mostly interested in present, limited thoughts of the future
  • Intellectual interests expand
  • Increased ability to de-center and see world from various perspectives
  • Development of ideals and selection of role models
  • May experiment with dangerous risk-taking behaviors
  • Even if students can make abstractions, they learn best when activities are active, hands-on, and related to personal experiences
  • Concerned with rules, standards of behavior and fairness, especially for themselves
  • Do not distinguish between what they are thinking and what others may be thinking;  assume that every other person is as concerned with their behavior and appearance as they are better at planning than carrying out the plan

The Twelve -Year-Old

Physical Development

  • High energy, but much rest needed
  • Growth spurts; girls ahead of boys; wide differences among individuals in rates of development
  • Physical activities and sports valued
  • Eating patterns change, overconcern for dieting
  • Feel awkward and may worry about body
  • Increased need for personal hygiene

Social and Emotional Development

  • Struggle with sense of identity
  • Moodiness
  • Can be enthusiastic at some times; lethargic at other times
  • Friendships with both sexes are important
  • Complain that parents interfere with independence
  • More likely to express feelings by actions than words
  • Peer vocabulary (slang) important
  • Less overt affection and attention shown to parents, with occasional rudeness; test limits
  • Impulsive, unaware
  • Experience extremes of emotions
  • Inclusion/exclusion; height of cliques, seek to belong, discovery of telephone
  • Experimenting with behavior, roles, appearance, self-image
  • Difficulty with decisions but need to be able to make some choices for themselves
  • Demand privileges, but may avoid responsibilities
  • Feel unique; believe that no one else has ever felt the way they do; suffered so much, or been so misunderstood

Intellectual Development

  • Hormonal and physical demands of puberty may cause slowing of rate of cognitive development during early adolescence
  • Increased ability to think abstract in intellectual pursuits
  • Learn best when involved in activities that are active, hands-on, and related to real life
  • Concerned with rules, standards of behavior and fairness, especially for themselves
  • Lack of understanding of cause and effect as well as feelings of omnipotence and invulnerability  (”It can’t happen to me.”) can lead to dangerous risk-taking behaviors--smoking, drugs, drinking, etc.
  • Mostly interested in present, limited thoughts of future
  • May show emerging ability in a particular skill or content area
  • Show improved abilities to use speech for self-expression
  • High interest in current events, politics, social justice; also pop culture, materialism
  • More consistent evidence of conscience
  • Idealistic; may offer “ideal” solutions to complex problems
  • Development of ideals and selection of role models
  • May question parents’ religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other values
Reference: "GCISD - Curriculum Guides and Developmental Characteristics." 2002. Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. 7 Dec. 2007 .