Talking with 13-14 year olds

By 13, most young people have learned the basics of language. But did you know, they are still constantly developing their talking and listening skills?

Reading and writing will take up a lot of their school time. So, it’s important they get to practise their talking and listening skills at home with you. Give them time to voice their opinion and points of view.

Teenagers aren’t always easy to talk to. Letting them know they can chat to you whenever they need can help. Being able to share their ideas, thoughts and feelings is a skill they will need throughout life.

What can teens usually do by 13-14 years?


  • Follow complicated instructions.
  • Understand less obvious sayings. For example, “I’ve got a frog in my throat”; “they have a bee in their bonnet”.


  • Tell long and complicated stories with plenty of detail.
  • Build an argument and respond to views that are different to their own.
  • Easily swap between ‘classroom talk’ and ‘school yard talk’.

This is just a guide for what you can expect. 

Every teen develops at their own rate. Your child may be faster or slower at talking and listening than others. 

If you have any concerns about your child, talk to their teacher or your family doctor. Find out what to look out for to see if your child needs extra help with speech and communication.

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