When Do You Become a Teenager? (Explained)

Growing up, it’s hard to know when you stop being a child and start being a teenager or young adult.

When do you become a teenager?

You become a teenager at age 13. This is the chronological milestone between childhood and adulthood. Age 13 is when the suffix “teen” is added to the end of your age. Your teenage years begin at age 13 and end at age 19. A 10 to 12-year-old is considered a pre-teen. Adolescence starts at 12.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about when you become a teenager.

Why Is 13 When You Become a Teenager?

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Group of teenagers - When Do You Become a Teenager
Image by the author via Canva – When Do You Become a Teenager?

At age 13, the term “teen” is added to the end of your age, marking your entry into the teenage years.

Of course, “teenager” is just a word.

Everybody matures at different speeds and, usually, girl teens mature faster than boy teens.

Even though your age has “teen” attached to it, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will feel like a teenager.

Interestingly, in the 19th century, teenagers were considered more young adults than kids. Many were sent to work under pretty harsh conditions by today’s standards.

Of course, back then, a young lady could get married earlier in life, sometimes as early as age 16.

Part of that reason is that life expectancy was so much shorter.

Later, labor laws protected teenagers, allowing them to attend school instead of working all day. Advertisers would also start to divide age groups into smaller demographics for marketing purposes.

When Do You Officially Become a Teenager?
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You officially become a teenager when you turn 13.

This is when most experts and adults consider you a teenager.

Here is a simple chart that explains what you are considered at each age between 0 and 20:

AgeStatus
0Newborn
1Toddler
2Toddler
3Toddler
4Young Child
5Young Child
6Young Child
7Young Child
8Young Child
9Young Child
10Pre-teen
11Pre-teen
12Pre-teen/Adolescence
13Teenager
14Teenager
15Teenager
16Teenager
17Teenager
18Teenager
19Teenager
20Adult
Chart: When Do You Become a Teenager?

I should probably also note that your brain doesn’t stop fully developing until you reach the age of 20 to 25.

Although laws change, in the past you weren’t able to rent a car until you were at least age 25.

When Do You Become a Teenager In Other Countries and Cultures?

For generations, people have puzzled over the teenage years.

Why do adolescents behave the way they do? Why do they seem to rebel against authority and take risks? And why is the teenage years such a critical time for brain development?

Some researchers believe that the answers to these questions can be found in our evolutionary history.

Around the world, many cultures have rituals and ceremonies that mark the transition from childhood to adolescence. In some societies, boys undergo a rite of passage that includes circumcision or being sent into the bush to live with older men.

For girls, it may involve a coming-of-age ceremony or starting their first menstrual cycle.

Although these rituals vary widely, they share one common purpose: to mark the transition from childhood to adulthood.

In hunter-gatherer societies, adolescence was a critical time for young people to learn the skills they need to survive on their own. By living with older adults, they had the opportunity to learn how to hunt, gather food, and build a shelter.

They also had to learn how to protect themselves from predators and navigate the often-dangerous world around them.

Today, adolescence is still a critical time for brain development.

The teenage years are when the brain is growing and changing at its most rapid and flexible rate.

What Happens When You Become a Teenager?

Technically, you become a teenager when you turn 13 years old.

But, in many ways, being a teenager is more of a state of mind than a specific age. It’s about the evolution from childhood to adulthood and all the ups and downs that come with it.

You’ll be expected to take on more responsibility and make more mature decisions.

You might find yourself exploring new interests and hobbies, and forging new friendships. You might also start to think about your future and what you want to do with your life.

For some people, that means starting high school and dealing with increased academic pressure.

For others, it’s about exploring their newfound independence and figuring out who they are and who they want to be.

There’s no single definition of what it means to be a teenager, but one thing is for sure: it’s a time of major change, both physically and emotionally.

You’ll grow taller and your body will start to develop more curves.

Your skin will become more oily and you may start to break out. You’ll also start to notice hair growing in places where it never did before.

Emotionally, you’ll find yourself seeking freedom and wanting to spend more time with your friends.

You may start to rebel against authority figures in your life.

And mentally, you’ll begin to think more abstractly and deeply about the world around you. These changes can be oh-so-confusing. But they’re also a normal part of becoming a teenager.

Here is a good video about becoming a teenager:

YouTube video by Infographics Show – When Do You Become a Teenager?

When Do You Become a Pre-Teenager?

You become a pre-teenager or preteen when you turn 10 years old.

The preteen years last between 10 to 12 years old.

At the end of your 12th year and the beginning of your 13th year, you transition into a teenager.

Essentially, a pre-teen is a child who is almost a teenager. You are old enough to start showing some independence, but still young enough to need guidance from adults.

Pre-teens are in an awkward stage, both physically and emotionally.

They are beginning to experience changes in their bodies, and they may feel self-conscious about their appearance. At the same time, they are also exploring their identity and trying to figure out who they are.

As a result, pre-teens can be moody and challenging to parents.

However, it is important to remember that this is a normal part of development. With patience and understanding, most pre-teens will eventually make it through this phase and emerge as happy and well-adjusted teenagers.

Is Age 12 Considered a Teenager?

Age 12 is usually not considered a teenager.

However, a 12-year-old is considered an adolescent because of their body growth and development. Adolescence is connected with the beginning of puberty.

When Do You Become a Tweenager?

A tweenager is just another word for a preteen.

You become a tweenager as soon as you reach age 10. It’s called “tweenager” because you are in the weird space between a child and a teenager.

Once you hit 13, you stop being a tweenager and become a bonafide teenager.

When Do You Stop Being a Teenager?

You stop being a teenager when you turn 20 years old.

That’s because, at 20, the word “teen” is no longer attached to the end of your age.

It’s a little confusing because of all the things you can do when you turn 18, like serve your country, start your adult career, or go to college.

However, most experts agree that 20 is the start of adulthood.

FAQs About Age & Teenagers

In this section, I’ll answer the most common questions about age and being a teenager.

Is 9 A Teenager?

A 9-year-old is not considered a teenager.

At 9, most people are still considered a kid. Age 9 is the last year before you become a preteen.

Nine years old is usually too early to experience puberty but some kids do start puberty earlier than others.

Is Age 10 Still a Kid?

While age 10 marks the first year of pre-teenagehood, most adults will probably still consider you a kid.

This might feel frustrating because you probably won’t like being called a child anymore.

Yet, for all practical purposes, you are still not a teenager, pre-teenager, adolescent, or adult.

Is 10 a Tween?

Yes, age 10 is the first year of being a tween or tweenager.

It’s likely that you will still feel pretty young and not notice any significant differences from being 9 years old.

In the next couple of years, however, you will experience many changes.

Is Being 12 Still a Kid?

Being 12 is considered adolescence and the last year of preteenhood.

Mostly, these are all semantic descriptions to identify the path from childhood to being a teenager.

Most adults will probably still consider you a kid.

Final Thoughts: When Do You Become a Teenager?

More important than when you become a teenager is how you experience and enjoy your teenage years.

It may not seem like it now, but those years are precious and they go by fast.

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Sources

California Department of Education
National Institute of Health