Preadolescence, is a stage of human development following early childhood and preceding adolescence. It commonly ends with the beginning of puberty, but may also be defined as ending with the start of the teenage years.
Being prepubescent is not the same thing as being preadolescent. Instead, prepubescent (and sometimes child) is a term for boys and girls who have not developed secondary sex characteristics, while preadolescent is generally defined as those ranging from age 10 to 13 years. Preadolescence may also be defined as the period from 9 to 14 years.
The point at which a child becomes an adolescent is defined by the onset of puberty or the beginning of the teenage stage. However, in some individuals (particularly females), puberty begins in the preadolescence years.
One can also distinguish middle childhood and preadolescence–middle childhood from approximately 5–8 years, as opposed to the time children are generally considered to reach preadolescence.
While known as preadolescent in psychology, the terms preteen, preteenager or tween are common in everyday use. A preteen or preteenager is a person 12 and under. Generally, the term is restricted to those close to reaching age 12, especially age 11. Tween is an American neologism and marketing term for preteen, which is a blend of between and teen. People within this age range are variously described as tweens, preadolescents [contradictory], tweenies, preteens, pubescents, junior highers or tweenagers.
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