How To Pick A Gift For A 12 Year Old Boy
Children go through several important phases of development around age 12. You've probably observed the fact that your child is becoming more combative, and doesn't like it when people disagree with him or disapprove of something he does. That's because this is the age when adolescent egocentrism happens. This is a time when children feel as if everyone is watching them and judging them. They also feel at this time that their feelings and experiences are unique to them and that nobody understands them. For this reason, they can be very sensitive to conflict and disapproval.
Buying your boy gifts that help him build confidence is important at this age. Items that facilitate a little healthy competition, like remote control helicopters that they can race with friends or faux crossbows that they can shoot at targets, are a great option. Peer relationships are important throughout childhood, but they become especially critical during early adolescence when cultivating relationships outside of the home helps a child feel more independent and confident. Gifts that let 12-year-old boys work together towards a common goal, like walkie-talkies that enable them to carry out covert missions, or team games, help them bond with their peers.
Metacognition, or the ability to think about one's own thinking, starts to happen at this age, too. It's an important part of helping your child grow into a socially responsible young adult. Child psychology experts recommend activities and games that give a child the chance to make low-stakes decisions. So, something like a sports-related board game or a strategy game makes a great gift. These help young boys make minimal mistakes that encourage them to think about how they can approach a problem differently next time.
Ensuring Your Gifts Are Age Appropriate
Experienced parents dread age 12. This is when children take an interest in risky content, like that of a violent nature. Boys and young men can be drawn to violence so it's important that parents closely monitor what they read, watch and play as children. Your child won't want to play Nintendo forever, but you can see his interest in more complex games as an opportunity for important conversations. Many video and board games, for example, give the player the option to be a good or evil character. Talk to your child about what he believes to be the motives behind the characters, and what good and evil mean to him.
Sometimes the plot of a game isn't controversial, but the traits of the characters are. For example, your child can play a videogame character who always holds a cigarette, or carries a flask with him. This can provide an opportunity for you to talk to your child about his ideas and experiences regarding these substances. The game may ultimately be age appropriate but might contain small details that you should at least have a conversation with your child about.
This is too young of an age for children to witness overtly sexual scenarios, but many games and books walk the line. A Pirates of the Caribbean themed game, for example, might feature prostitutes in passing. It might not be obvious from the description or packaging of the game that these characters will appear, so it's important that parents play games before showing them to their kids. This allows them to scan them for inappropriate content before their child gets a chance to see it.
More Gift Buying Tips
While a lot of gifts for young boys focus on sports and competition, it's important to cultivate your son's other interests like math and science too. Studies have found that the more involved parents are with their children's education, the better they do in school. So making educational games a part of a child's downtime at home can be a fun way to get involved. Board and video games that reward children for solving math and science equations can help them associate positive feelings with learning.
No parent likes to have toys pile up in the home, so to limit the clutter, buy your son gifts that can grow with him for years. Things like electrical scooters are appropriate for children into their mid teens, and a young boy who doesn't have a car yet always wants his own independent form of transportation. Some toys, like rocket ships and model cars, stop being entertaining past a certain age, but they can make a great decorative piece for a boy's room for years to come.
Even though peer relationships are important at this time, it's still critical to a child's development that he spends time with his parents. Unfortunately boys have a tendency to pull away from their parents around age 12. For this reason, finding games that you can play with your child and activities that you can do together make great gifts. They also help ensure that you keep a strong relationship with your child.