Most parents have concerns about their ability to understand their children at different ages and provide the right amount of structure and discipline. There are common questions about what is normal like, 'Is he just being a boy? Do all children talk back? Why won't my child use the potty? Is he/she supposed to cry every time I leave her? My child went to middle school what happened?'

There is no one size fits all instruction manual on parenting that would answer all the questions, worries, doubts and concerns that parents have about how to be the best possible parent. Each child will have his or her own temperament and personality style. Sometimes this temperament is very similar to one or both parentsother times you may wonder where the childs temperament came from. As a parent your challenge is to learn about age appropriate behavior and then try to adjust your parenting style to match with your childs temperament.

Adolescence is a transitional stage from childhood to young adulthood. However, adolescence does not start at a set time, everyone is different. Some kids will be early bloomers and some will have slower development. Normality has a wide range in adolescence.

It is important to make a distinction between puberty and adolescence. Most think of puberty as the development of adult sexual characteristics such as breasts, menstrual periods, pubic hair, and facial hair. Although they may be the most visible signs of impending adulthood, kids who are showing physical changes (between the ages of 8 and 14 or so) can also be going through changes that aren't readily seen from the outside. These are the changes of adolescence.

Some kids announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They're starting to separate from Mom and Dad and to become more independent. At the same time, kids this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and may try to fit in.

NIMH - National Institute of Mental Health