The Thriving Thirteens
Thirteen-year-olds, of course, seek significance and belonging primarily from their peers and spend a great deal of positive energy trying to fit in. They enjoy constructive activities like band, dance, and sports. They also find that time by themselves is important, and they can be quite introspective as they enter their teen years.
Thirteens’ most positive attribute is their high energy, expressed in physical and verbal extravagance. Arguing is a sport and leisure pastime. They love to contradict. Teachers in seventh and eighth grade know the value of formal debate in any subject area and of problem-solving with more than one right answer. Also valuable is perspective drawing in math and art. Looking at the world from new points of view is the job of the thirteen-year-old and they do this job with delight and bravado.
Thirteen-year-olds want more freedom and will thrive with reasonably increased level of responsibility. Choices of tasks requiring new skills such as such as community service learning, student government, or tutoring younger children can meet with more success than having the only major school responsibility being to get their homework done.