Age Groups Characteristics and Abilities
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Age Groups Characteristics and Abilities
All youth are different and develop at different rates. Below are likely characteristics. The best we can do is to plan according to how they likely may be, get to know them as people, and be flexible in our assumptions. This is not a rulebook, it is more to help guide you.
Thanks to Girls Rock! DC for providing us with this awesome information!

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Aspect8 - 10 year olds11 - 13 year olds14 - 16 year olds
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Grade LevelsElementary School, Grades 3-5 Middle School, Grades 6 - 8High School: Grades 9 & 10
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PhysicalNot particularly interested in body.Going through puberty; fosters interest in body functions/changes.Interested in physical aspects of body, clothing, and image.
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Often complains about body aches/pains.Rapid and uneven growth stage cause awkwardness/clumsiness and great differences in individuals.Growth and development slows.
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Full of energy!Strong need to release physical energy causes extreme restlessness.Teens appear physically mature, but emotionally and socially are not.
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Needs physical release, outdoor
time.
Energy level declines; teens more active at night.
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Somewhat awkward; increased coordination with age.
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PsychophysicalNot overly concerned with personal appearance (may need to be told if they are muddy, etc.) Concerned with personal appearance and irregularities (blemishes, etc.)Continued attention to personal appearance and irregularities.
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Possibly some sexual mimicry.Sexual exploration is prominent.Sexual behaviors are prominent.
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Can be self-critical--but about performance, not appearance.
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EmotionalResilient; can bounce back from mistakes.More concerned with being noticed by objects of romance than forming relationships.Concerned with dating and social group dynamics.
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Can be impatient.Possible depression.
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Often worries or feels anxious.Prominent mood swings.
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Can have mood swings.Impulsive with words and actions.
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Impatient; Often wants to rush things.
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Social General Becoming self-aware.Interested in exploring themselves (reflection and self-evaluation).Focus on self as independent.
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Talkative and enjoys working cooperatively in groups.Desire attention and recognition.Explore different identities and roles.
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Desire to be productive; tendency to bite off more than they can chew.Extremely talkative, but can be loud one minute; shy the next.Attention may compound feeling of self-consciousness.
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Tendency to be critical.Need frequent experience with success.Often either very talkative or very quiet.
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Developing sense of "right" and "wrong."Ambivalent/uncertain in wants and opinions ("now I know not to trust them.. yet next week they could be my best friend").Firm belief and adherence to values.
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Interest in solving social issues.Wants choices in everything - food, activities, friends, etc.Concerned with enacting values.
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Only beginning to understand "bigger world."Concern for "right" and "wrong" causes interest in social justice (but without clear plan of how to enact).Strong desire to be impactful and contribute.
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Sensitive to criticism; easily offended (but sometimes because they think they should be, not because they are).Often attracted to the bizarre/different.
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Developing sympathy but not necessarily empathy (compassion for other but from a distance.)Sensitive to criticism (but can hide it/pretend it doesn't matter.)
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Show interest in other cultures and races.Motivated by competition.
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Concerned with "right" and "wrong," but with desire to make an individual contribution to the cause.
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Seeks being valued as a participant.
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Developing empathy.
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Want to connect significantly with race/cultures other than their own.
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Social - PeersPrefer same-gender activities.Strong desire to belong to a group cause focus on peers.Starting to realize they can grow from conflict; can work with people they don't like.
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Concerned with issues of fairness.Values change based on input from others.Want others to see them as individuals (with similarities and differences.)
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Desire to be different yet stay within limits of peer conformity causes awareness of/adherence to accepted group behavior.Interested in taking leadership roles and able to work collaboratively.
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