You may sense your adolescent is:
• Developing low self-esteem. Girls seem especially concerned about their appearance and physical development. Why? In part because they've been paying close attention to the images and standards associated with the feminine ideal, and they're internalizing them now more than ever before. A seventh-grade girl may misinterpret "You look awful" to mean "You are awful." According to one study, only 16 percent of preteen girls hope that nothing about them changes during adolescence. Among those who wish they could change something about themselves, 13 percent weren't satisfied with their intelligence, 44 percent weren't satisfied with their looks, and 45 percent would alter their weight.
• Starting to search for his true "self." He'll be modifying his self-perceptions and adopting new ones. This search for self will affect his relationship with you, the rest of his family, his friends and his schoolmates.
• Less concerned with his comportment: Young teens tend to be messy and often have poor hygiene, skipping baths or showers and bringing food to their bedrooms (with no plans to take the dishes back to the kitchen).