What it means to be 13, and how parents can help ease the transition

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(PIX11) -- Being 13 is hard and it seems to be getting harder. We're exploring the risky behavior teens and pre-teens are engaging in.

Blogger Ally Del Monte -- who started her website losergurl.com two years ago at age 13 after she tried to kill herself, overwhelmed by years of relentless bullying -- shares insights into the life of a teen in 2015.

Dr. Jodi Gold, a clinical assistant professor at Cornell University and director of the school's ADHD Clinic, shared these revelations about what it means to be a tween, its challenges and what parents can do to ease the transition:

What are some of the changes kids go through at 13?

  • Puberty and more focus on sexuality & appearance
  • Moody and show less affection to parents
  • Increased self-consciousness that makes your tween more sensitive to rejection
  • Increased need for peer acceptance leads to increased vulnerability to bullying, peer pressure
  • March forward to independence with lots of bumps and temporary pit stops

Academically:

  • More complex thoughts
  • Express self better

What kind of risky and reckless behavior are young teens experimenting with?

  • Some reckless behavior hasn’t changed for decades
  • Begin to experiment with alcohol and drugs
  • Internet offers perfect space for reckless and impulsive behavior
  • 20 percent have sent a sext -- or a sexual text message; 30 percent of 17-year-olds have received  sext
  • At this age it is mostly suggestive Snapchats and cyber-exclusion

What are some tips for parents raising a 13-year-old

  • Understand your family values about friendship, sex and technology
  • Help with time management online and offline
  • Protected study and sleep
  • Coaching on how to use good judgement socially online and offline
  • Clear rules and boundaries online and offline
  • Parents who are good online and off line role models
  • Help find other role models in their community as well as online