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Preadolescence is a stage of human development through childhood that occurs in a child's years before adolescence.[1] The point at which a child becomes an adolescent is usually defined by the onset of puberty. However, in some individuals (typically females), puberty begins in the preadolescence years,[2] and may extend a few years beyond the teenage years in others (typically males).[3]

Psychological development

Preadolescent children have a different view of the world than younger children in several ways:

  • May fear kidnappings, rapes, and scary media events, as opposed to fantasy things (i.e. witches, monsters, ghosts).
  • Have more realistic job expectations ("I want to be an engineer when I grow up", as opposed to "I want to be a wizard".)
  • Often have more chores, such as mowing the lawn, delivering papers, collecting things from friends or relatives and shovelling snow in winter, or helping out in rural activities such as caring for livestock and hauling wood.
  • View human relationships differently (i.e. they may notice the flawed, human side of adult authority figures) .
  • Begin to develop a sense of self-identity.
  • Have increased feelings of independence.
  • Have a different view on morality.
  • More mature, sensible, realistic thoughts and actions
  • Often gain knowledge of sexual intercourse.
  • Are responsible for younger siblings and relatives, such as babysitting.
  • Experience limerence or Puppy Love.
  • Take adults calling them "cute," "sweetheart," and other baby names as an insult rather than a compliment.

Some schools attempt to develop these feelings through the use of lessons tailored specifically to preteens' developing worldview. For example, debates on touchy moral issues (i.e. drugs or alcohol) are sometimes introduced in the upper elementary school grades, as well as classes on current events.Template:Weasel-inline[citation needed]

Preadolescents generally prefer certain brands, and are a heavily targeted market of many advertisers. Their tendency to buy brand-name items may be due to a desire to fit in, although the desire is not as strong as it is with teenagers. Many of these brands include clothing and music. The modern Disney Channel is targeted generally for this age group along with teenagers (9 to 13 year olds) for example.


A preteen or a preteenager[1] is a person under the age of thirteen years old.[4] Generally the term is restricted to those close to reaching the age of thirteen,[1] especially ages ten through twelve.[5]


Tween is a neologism and marketing term,[6] especially in the West, which means roughly the same thing as preteen. It is a portmanteau of between and teen.[4][5] The age range of tweens in generally considered to be nine to twelve years old.[5] Marketers describe the driving psychographic motivation of this group as desperately wanting to be a teen, but not about to stop being a kid.[citation needed] The term was first used in J.R.R. Tolkien's 1954 novel The Lord of the Rings to refer to Hobbits in their twenties.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 New Oxford American Dictionary. 2nd Edition. 2005. Oxford University Press.
  2. "Onset of Breast and Pubic Hair Development in 1231 Preadolescent Lithuanian Schoolgirls". Retrieved 2007-12-06.
  3. "Questions about Sex, Puberty, and Periods, for adolescents and their parents: 12. Puberty: Growing Up Early". Retrieved 2007-12-06.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Eleventh Edition. 2003. Merriam-Webster.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Fourth Edition. 2000. Houghton Mifflin Company.
  6. Levasseur, Maïthé (2007-02-09). Familiar with tweens? You should be.... The Tourism Intelligence Network. Retrieved on 2007-12-04.

Myers, James. "Tweens and cool" [2], Admap, March 2004. Template:Start box Template:Succession box Template:End box