We all have gone through that phase in life when we didn’t know where we fit in, whether we were normal or if something strange happened to us overnight. Why we suddenly had pimples on our faces or were getting facial hair. And if you are carrying a pair of X chromosomes, that meant maybe something is seriously wrong? I mean girls are not supposed to have a mustache!!! RIGHT?
Well this my friends as you all know now is perfectly normal. To everyone this life altering phenomenon is known as puberty. We all go through this phase and we all get through it. The difference is that some might just sail through while others might not have been so lucky. I mean remember the sudden weight gains? Or sounding all hoarse and cracked? For a kid going through this many physical changes, it kind of gets very difficult to handle. It is very crucial to have a good support system during this stage,especially someone to talk to who will get them. Moreover this is the time when kids generally go astray. So whether you are mothers, fathers, older siblings or cousins, take time to understand them. Here is a run-down of the basics just in case you forgot what you went through and have or know a kid that might need help dealing with the horrors of puberty.
Puberty is the time when a child moves through a series of significant, natural and healthy changes. These physical, psychological and emotional changes signal that a child is moving from childhood to adolescence.
Puberty starts when changes in the child’s brain cause sex hormones to start being released in the ovaries (girls) and testes (boys).
The timing of puberty and its stages is different for every young person, but includes:
- A period of physical growth and development inside and out – this is different for boys and for girls
- Changes to sexual organs – these changes are different for boys and for girls
- Social and emotional changes.
Puberty usually begins around 10-11 years for girls and around 11-13 years for boys. But it’s normal for the start of puberty to range from 8-13 years in girls and 9-14 years in boys. Every child is different. Genetics, nutrition and social factors all play a role in the onset of puberty.
There’s no way of knowing exactly when a child will start puberty. Early changes in a child’s brain and hormone levels can’t be seen from the outside, so it’s easy to think that puberty hasn’t started.
Puberty can be completed in about 18 months, or it can take up to five years. This variation is also completely normal.
ITS AFFECT ON THOUGHTS, MOOD AND EMOTIONS
- The emotional and psychological changes are that their emotions become stronger and intense. One minute they may feel they are on top of the world and the next minute they feel they are down in the dumps.
- They start having sexual thoughts and start to get attracted to the opposite sex.
- They become more rebellious, try to be more independent. They need more space and privacy. They feel that they are capable to make their own decisions. At this age, they do not like to be questioned or scolded by anyone.
- Girls as they mature show premenstrual syndrome during their periods.
- Puberty is confusing for the teens. They undergo many physical changes. They are sometimes unaware and unsure of the changes in their body. This often leads to change in moods. It is normal in teens at this stage.
HOW TO COPE WITH THESE CHANGES?
- The first step is to understand that puberty is normal and everyone goes through it. It is important for adults to talk to the teenagers about this. They should be explained that most of their friends are going through the same changes or experiences, they are not alone. Teenagers going through puberty might feel strange. They should be encouraged to share their experiences with peers, parents or other adults they feel close to.
- They should be explained that puberty comes with a lot of changes and instead of trying to become invisible, they should be proud. As these changes are normal, and show that their body is maturing.
- Maintaining proper hygiene: It is important to take a bath or shower regularly, to get rid of the sweat and excessive oil in areas such as the face. There is nothing as relaxing as a bath.
- This is also the time when hair starts to grow on their bodies. They should know it is normal. Everybody has hair on their body. They should not be ashamed of it. It is normal to shave the hair on their face in case of boys and to get waxed in case of girls. But it is normal not to get that done as well. It is for them to decide.
- Talking to girls about periods. So that they are not surprised and unaware of it when they get it.
- Talking to both girls and boys about mood swings. It is important for them to understand that mood swings are normal and if they feel that they are not getting along with your parents or teachers as well as you did then not be too hard on yourself or them.
I guess this is for all the responsible adults who have made it through this phase. You have or might plan on having kids one day and they are bound to go through this stage. Adolescence is a phase of life and each child needs to cross this passage of their lives. So when your kid reaches theirs, remember. Remember the uncertainties you went through, the anger, the loneliness, the fear. The emotional breakdowns and the constant self-doubts. Remember them and relate. Relate it to the ones your child is facing. The issues might change but the feelings are still the same.
No, I am not a mother but I hope to be someday. And I want to make sure that I am there for my child when he/she goes through this stage. I want to make sure that if my kid comes home crying because of being teased for having pimples or facial hair or being too tall for a girl, I order a pizza, get some ice-cream and just sit and listen to them whine and share my experience along with it. Be a friend to them. And after all the whining make sure that they know and understand that this too shall pass and they are perfect just the way they are!!!