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Checkups at 12 Years

[12 Year Old Quiz]

What Can Your Child Do at Twelve?

  • He should have several friends.
  • She may become concerned about her health, physical appearance, and dress as she is going through puberty. The average age to start her period is midway between 12 and 13 years. Periods are often irregular the first 2 years.
  • He might pull away, be more independent, and seem to value the opinions of his friends more than yours. Give him some distance to show him that you trust him.
  • She may act as if she knows everything, but she realizes she does not. As she ages, gently pursue such subjects as sex, drugs, dating, drinking, depression, loneliness, education, and others. When she is resistant to talk, tell her you are open to further discussion. This respects her as a budding adult, yet keeps communication open.

What Can Your Child Eat?

  • Acne is not affected by diet. Rather inherited tendencies primarily and makeup, hair spray, emotional upheavals, and menstrual cycles secondarily affect the timing and severity of acne.
  • Encourage him to be physically active and limit watching television or playing video games.
  • She should have a balanced diet and should eat breakfast before school. Your example of eating will be even more important since she will have the money and freedom to eat at the homes of friends or at convenience stores. If she is having periods now, she should increase the iron in her diet or take a vitamin with iron to avoid anemia.
  • Discourage his frequent snacking other than with fruits or vegetables. Do not add extra salt and do not give him red meat and eggs daily.
  • Increase her intake of fiber in cereals, whole-grain breads, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Make sure he brushes his teeth daily.
  • Give her a multivitamin with iron each day if she is a picky eater. Milk or other calcium-containing foods are important in the preteen years to prevent later osteoporosis (thin bones).


He should be up to date on immunizations.

Tests to Be Done

  • She should have an analysis of her urine, checking for kidney disease, diabetes, and bladder infections.
  • A hematocrit might be done if your daughter has begun her periods.
  • A tuberculin (TB) skin test may be needed if he has been exposed to someone with TB, a chronic cough, IV drug use, HIV disease (AIDS), recent prison time, time in a developing country, or if required by his school or insurance.

Accident Prevention

  • Spend lots of time with her one-on-one doing what she wants so as to limit problems with drugs, pregnancy, suicide, or school failure.
  • When he uses electrical or power equipment you need to supervise him for a while before letting him use the equipment on his own.
  • Set limits on time, distance, and location that she can go from home. You should always know where she is.
  • His sports should be closely monitored especially if he is trying to compete with older, larger teens.
  • She needs to know a safety plan to get out of your home in case of fire.
  • Teach him to avoid crossing fast-moving streams. He should enter ponds or lakes feet first and wear a life jacket while boating. No swimming alone at this or any age.
  • Air rifles and pellet guns should be treated cautiously since they have caused many deaths.
  • She should wear a safety helmet at all times while riding her bicycle.
  • It is unsafe for him to ride in the back of a pickup truck.
  • Poison Control is 1-800-POISON 1.

Emotional and Social Development

  • She should have some privacy and be allowed to play with her friends as she wishes within limits. Her possessions, conversations, letters, and diaries should be left alone.
  • He will want to dress and act as his friends do. Sympathize with him, but maintain reasonable limits.
  • Avoid downgrading her friends. She probably sees their faults almost as clearly as you do.
  • Praise him for good grades, but also encourage him to have good morals, encouraging friends, activities outside school, and respect for others. If he is not a good student, encourage him to study more while also emphasizing his other good qualities.
  • Encourage her to take on some responsibility for planning and organizing hiking and camping trips, visits to museums or the zoo, athletic events, or other family activities.
  • He should thoroughly know the basics of sex.
  • Preteens should never date. Teenagers should not date until 15- or 16-years-old (preferably double dating at first). The earlier dating starts, the greater the likelihood for teenage pregnancy.
  • Using drugs, alcohol excessively, or smoking frequently will increase her chances for drug use.
  • Allow him to make age appropriate decisions such as choosing preferred clothing.
  • She should be doing daily chores to learn responsibility. A weekly allowance will help her develop money sense.
  • You will encourage him to change his behavior much more readily if you act tenderly toward him rather than criticize him all the time.
  • Extensive television or video games limit family interaction and discourage her creativity.
  • You cannot show too much affection toward him at this age, but he will prefer hugs privately.
  • She should have a regular bedtime.
  • Be involved with his schoolwork as much as possible. Involvement with the PTA will give you some say in how your child is taught. If you are unhappy about his school, by law, you can be granted a conference with the teacher, principal, and school counselors.
  • Make every effort to attend her athletic events, plays, recitals, and other special occasions that occur in her life. Few things you do for her will be so important.

Moral Development of Your Child

  • His morals have been largely developed by this point. However, your openness in talking about any subject and your positive example will help him to adopt similar values as yourself.
  • She will learn more from your example than from what you say. If you smoke and drink a lot, divorce easily, or have sex with many partners, she will have similar behavior as an adult.
  • Actively set limits on the amount and type of TV programs watched and teach him what is morally good and bad about what he sees.
  • About 80-90% of the sex shown on TV is premarital, extramarital, or violent, and most of the marital sex is shown as unenjoyable. Unwed pregnancies, diseases, or divorces are seldom mentioned. All of this is unrealistic and should be explained to your child.
  • Violence as shown in movies and television is usually self-serving or vengeful. If you do not want her to think of violence as acceptable behavior when she is angry or selfish, you need to limit her exposure to that philosophy.
  • It is philosophically difficult to maintain firm moral standards without some form of religious instruction. Traditional Christianity and Judaism place value on the individual, the healthy family, and compassion toward others. The media and most other world views emphasize selfishness, irresponsible lives, and hunger for possessions. This is one of the main reasons so many children, teenagers, and young adults are confused and in trouble.
  • Provide your child with religious instruction. Otherwise his values will be shaped by others with whom you may not agree. One of the greatest gifts you can give him is to join a traditional Christian church or Jewish synagogue that has a good program for children.
  • Teenage pregnancy is not the result of a lack of knowledge about contraception. Irresponsible sex on TV, movies, and printed material and sometimes young adults taking advantage of young teenagers largely cause the problem. Do not be afraid to tell her that sex should be delayed until marriage. Studies show that if you encourage her to wait she will likely delay sexual activity.
  • Provide healthy environments for preteens of both sexes to be together such as family get-togethers, church meetings, or athletic events. Most 12-year-olds will prefer to be with their own sex, but are beginning to become interested in the opposite sex.


Height ________ percentile ________

Weight ________ percentile ________

Head Circumference __________ percentile ________



These questions, based on research, are meant to teach your child facts that will help him have a fuller life.

Circle the Best Answer

1. Smoking cigarettes can cause someone to develop which diseases:

a) heart attacks
b) heart attacks and high blood pressure
c) heart attacks, high blood pressure, and cancer

2. Chewing tobacco can cause:

a) sore gums
b) sore gums and cancer of the mouth
c) sore gums, cancer of the mouth, and cancer of the lips

3. Which is the best reason not to use drugs?

a) drugs cause kids to do worse in school
b) some kinds of drugs can kill you 
c) a car wreck is more likely if you use drugs
d) many kids steal to get money for drugs
e) these are all good reasons not to use drugs

4. The younger a teenager is when he or she first has sex the more likely he or she will catch a disease like gonorrhea or become sterile (unable to have babies) (True or False).

5. Having sex with more than one person can cause cancer of the private areas of both males and females due to human papillomavirus infection (True or False).

6. Smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day for 1 year costs almost $1000 a year (True or False).

7. People who divorce do not tend to live as long as people who stay married to the same person (True or False)

8. Married people are more likely to:

a) make more money than divorced people
b) make the same amount of money as divorced people
c) make less money than divorced people

9. When an older guy (18-20 years) has sex with a younger girl (14 or 15years),  he usually marries her later (True or False).

10. Kids who eat breakfast have better grades than kids who don't (True or False).

11. Watching television and playing video games a lot may cause you to lose weight (True or False).

12. The most common way that teenagers die is in car wrecks usually when the driver is drinking or using drugs such as marijuana (True or False).


Answers and Explanations for Parents

1. (c); Smoking cigarettes causes an increase in heart attacks, high blood pressure, and many different  types of cancer, not just lung cancer. 2. (c); Chewing tobacco is often used by teenagers because they think it is a safer substitute for  smoking. However, while the risk for lung cancer is lower, other forms of cancer such as cancers of the lips, mouth, and throat are higher. Not only can these kill, but they are also very disfiguring if surgery forces removal of parts of the lips, cheeks, or throat. 3. (e); Kids who use drugs can die of an overdose, die of a car wreck, get in trouble with the law because of stealing to support their drug use, and drop out of school. 4. (T); Teenagers are particularly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases because their sex and reproductive organs catch the diseases easier and the chances of permanent scarring or cancer are higher the earlier one begins having sex. 5. (T); Human papillomavirus is an incurable sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer of the reproductive organs.  The earlier a teenager begins having sex and the more partners the teenager has, the greater the likelihood of acquiring this infection. Using condoms with each sexual encounter may not lower the risk very much because of the high failure rate of condoms (31%) and because the virus is all over the pubic area, not just the penis and vagina. 6. (T); Cigarette smoking is a fairly expensive habit for teenagers and they need to be aware of the cost so that (hopefully) they will never begin smoking in the first place. 7. (T); Divorce at any point in life significantly lowers life expectancy compared to persons who remain married. 8. (a); Many studies have shown that married persons make more money than divorced persons probably because their life tends to be more stable, they are not sick as often, and they are not as likely to be depressed as persons who are divorced. 9. (F); Older guys very seldom marry teenage girls with whom they have had sex. The so-called teenage  pregnancy problem is many times a problem of older male who are adults having sex with sexually inexperienced females. 10. (T); Eating breakfast is helpful to avoid lows of blood sugar in the midmorning period which decreases school performance. 11. (F); Television and video games tend to cause kids to be less active and so prone to gaining weight. 12. (T); The largest cause of death in teenagers is by car wrecks involving someone on alcohol or drugs.



The information contained within this website is no substitution for timely medical care.

Feel free to copy the information on this web site and give to friends and family. Contact Dr. Glenn Wood at Carousel Pediatrics (512) 744-6000
We are located at 7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd., #100 - Austin, TX 78723

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