Every parent knows that children develop at a different rate. This is especially apparent with middle schoolers as some boys will start to look like teenagers while others haven’t gotten their growth spurt yet. Some girls will take more of an interest in boys or embrace various fashion trends.

But looks are often deceiving. These children may be taller, or even become a little clumsy as they figure out how to operate their swiftly changing body, but their mental development is much more difficult to gage.

Cognitive milestones to look for

Developmental experts recommend looking for problem-solving or thinking skills as well as decision making, organizing of ideas or their time. Common behaviors include:

  • They begin to understand the concepts of power and influence.
  • They begin to question things and challenge parents or authority figures.
  • They begin to realize how current actions affect future outcomes.
  • They memorize information more easily.
  • They apply flexible thinking to accomplish tasks.
  • They begin to have their own worldview and sense of values.
  • They have a more serious interest in money and how to use it.

Parents also need to change and adjust

Parents will also have to adapt to address the needs of their children as they grow up. Addressing cognitive development concerns will likely take some effort and planning. For parents who have concerns, a good place to start is by checking with teachers in school, counselors and the child’s doctor.

Unfortunately, sometimes individuals, professionals or schools are not as helpful or understanding as they could be. If there is tension or disputes, parents may need to seek the guidance from an attorney with experience representing the interests of families and children to ensure their rights are protected.