13-14 years

Discover tips, tools, and support for this age

Your teenager is going through a lot of changes! At this stage, they may finish middle school and start high school, begin first jobs, experience puberty, and get interested in romantic relationships. Your teen’s friends may become a more important part of their life, but you can remain important, too.

Learn more about your child’s development, explore available resources, and find free activities for teens below. 

Milestones

Development continues through the teen years and into adulthood! Learn about your teen's growth and what to look out for during this exciting time.

Around 13–14 years old, many teens:

  • Social

    • Are better at controlling emotions and behaviors
    • Begin to develop friendships with the opposite sex
    • Show more concern about body image, looks, and clothes
    • Care more about issues of right and wrong
  • Communication

    • Understand the difference between figurative and literal language
    • Understand how words can be used in different contexts
  • Learning

    • Read different kinds of books and write about their ideas
    • Use a bigger vocabulary to speak about complex ideas
    • Master basic math, including adding, subtracting, multiplication, and division
  • Physical Development

    • Are aware of sexuality
    • Use deodorant
    • Show signs of puberty
  • Health

    • Have 6 to 10 ounces of grains daily, including whole 1 ounce equals ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup of rice, 5 whole wheat crackers, 1 slice of whole wheat bread, or ½ cup cooked pasta).
    • Have 2 ½ to 4 cups of vegetables daily (such as 1 cup baby carrots, 1 cup broccoli, ½ avocado, and 1 cup sliced peppers). Fresh, frozen canned or dried all count.
    • Have 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of fruits daily (such as 1 medium apple, 1 banana, and ½ cup berries). Fresh, frozen canned or dried all count.
    • Have 5 to 7 ounces of protein foods daily (1 ounce equals 1 egg, ¼ cup of beans or lentils, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or ¼ cup tofu). Protein foods include beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, nut butters, poultry, fish, eggs and meat.
    • Have 3 cups of dairy or suitable substitute daily. This includes whole cow’s milk, whole plain yogurt, or unsweetened fortified soy beverage.
    • Drink water at or between meals for thirst.

As your teen transitions into adulthood, look out for signs they may be at risk or troubled, including if they:

  • Act Early

    • Extreme mood shifts, like being happy and excited one minute and sad and depressed the next
    • Sleeping more than 10 hours a day or change their sleep pattern
    • Spending too much time alone

Programs

Find the support your family needs to thrive

Comprehensive After School System of NYC (COMPASS NYC)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD)

Afterschool programs for students

COMPASS NYC has hundreds of programs for young people in kindergarten through 12th grade.

IDNYC

NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA)

A free City ID card

IDNYC can often be used as an official ID for all New Yorkers age 10 and over.

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD)

Paid summer job experiences for youth

Up to six weeks of paid experience for young people ages 14-24.

Events

See what your family can do for free in NYC

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

A second sample event for NYC Service (reoccuring)

For teens who need extra computer time to do anything from homework, to gaming, or filling out job applications.