Behaviour: 13-year-olds

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Your 13- year- old is leaving her childhood behind and becoming a teen. It is this change that drives their behaviour and it is important for parents to bear this in mind.
 
Diet and Nutrition
Your 13- year- old will want to decide what she will and will not eat. For teens, food is about having their say and being able to choose for themselves, not their diets and wellness. This is often one of the reasons behind a picky eater. Giving your child a say in what they eat will result in them starting to try foods they have never eaten before.
As a parent one of the best ways to ensure that your teen eats better is by offering them healthy choices. Keep the kitchen stocked with snacks like fruit and trail mix instead of biscuits and crisps. Figure out what healthy snacks they enjoy and keep them in supply.
 
Sleep
Most 13- year- old teens are not so much concerned about sleeping as they are about having a bedtime. They will resent having a set bedtime as they feel it is childish. They would of course prefer the freedom to decide when to go to bed.
It’s important to recognise your teens need for independence. Sit down and compromise on a bedtime that fits into the entire family’s schedule.
 
Exercise and Fitness
It is very important for 13- year- olds to get into the habit of exercising. Studies show that the more teenagers exercise, the more likely they are to carry that habit into adulthood.
It is a common misconception that kids who do sports at school, are getting all the exercise they need. Experts recommend that teenagers should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days. Finding a sport your child likes and is happy to spend time doing is important.
 
Teen Wellness Issue: Stress
Now that they are a teenager, your 13- year- old may worry about "being normal". They are dealing with puberty and their changing bodies, all of which can cause stress.  You can help your child learn how to relax by using activities like exercise, listening to music or enjoying a good book.
 
Responsibilities and Discipline
Your 13- year- old has been slowly taking on responsibilities for a few years and is looking for more privileges. Now is a good time to entrust them with more responsibility and see how they cope. At this age, your teenager should be able is to look after younger siblings on her own, make her bed and do the dishes after dinner. So, every time your 13- year- old asks for a new freedom or privilege, attach a new responsibility. This way she will learn that privileges are earned.
Discipline techniques for your child should begin to change as well. You will need to be sure you are very clear with your messages. Talk with your teen and always follow through with punishments when she does something wrong. 

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