Did We Just Kinda Kill Off The Preteen Phase?

It seems like it doesn’t exist anymore.

Ted Bauer
3 min readJun 13, 2024

I’ve never been a parent and probably will never be one, so you can take a lot of this with a grain of salt, I’m sure. I don’t even know exactly where we define the age brackets, but I think “teenager” maybe starts at 13–14, and “child” goes till 9–10. So somewhere in 10–13, we had this “preteen phase,” but now it seems like we’ve societally abandoned that. You can see it in:

  • Places where that age could hang out
  • Content geared towards that age
  • Where parenting focuses its attention

Some is addressed here:

Again, I don’t entirely know what is going on, but I have a few quick theories:

Instagram (and, later, TikTok): These joints are superficially-driven, so it encourages young girls (esp.) to care about their looks by 8 or 9, when previously maybe they’d be having sleepovers and doing funny stuff with face masks then. Now they need to actually use the face masks in a “productive” way…



Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.