Your daughter is worried about getting her first bra and your son starts growing his beard. What’s going on? Well, welcome to puberty. The time when kids enter an entirely new phase of life. But why is this concept of puberty so difficult to understand ? May be it is a stage where kids start growing and it takes time both for the mind as well as the body to adapt itself to those sudden biological changes taking place inside and outside. Well it is all called the ‘ game of hormones’. What happens next depends on the gender. So when exactly does adolescence begin ? Usually after a girl turns 9 , puberty starts showing up. However in case of boys it starts few years later, may be around 10 or 11. But the problem is that the word ‘teenager’ itself causes a lot of anxiety both to the parents as well as the children. However we must learn to distinguish between adolescence and puberty. Most of us understand puberty as physical changes that are visible to us, such as growth of facial hair, development of breasts, menstrual periods, pubic hair etc. These are certainly signs of impending adulthood but kids in this age also undergo certain psychological changes which cannot be readily seen. That is what makes an artificial distinction between puberty and adolescence. Here are reasons that we all must know which defines actually ‘WHY’ is puberty the most awkward phase.
- EGO CENTRISM
‘I am a grown up now. I can make my own decisions.’ Wasn’t this the statement you made last time, when you felt your parents should not interfere in your life and you are mature enough to make judgements on your own. Well, this is a very common sign of puberty amongst most of us. We feel nobody can authorize us and ‘Its my life’ kind of thoughts start pouring in. The question of being ego centric also emerges at the same time. We no longer have the childhood carefree attitude, we think in reference to our ego, dignity and self esteem. Though this is a positive attribute but sometimes being too much egocentric can kill your inner self.
- STRESS AND DEPRESSION
Certain mental and emotional issues lead to problems like stress and depression at this age. The cause for this can be many. It can be due to irregular or erratic bodily changes or it might be due to some kind of peer pressure. It becomes difficult for teens to overcome such kind of mental burden and quite often leads to negative consequences. However the point here is that stress is something we face throughout our lives, but then why only the teen years become so much affected. The simple reason being it is a very critical phase and there is a frequent overlapping of thoughts leading to anxiety and tension.
- LACK OF SEX EDUCATION
Now here we have something which is a very serious issue of this puberty and adolescent phase. Inquisitivity about sex related issues is very normal at this age. Biological changes within the body is a major reason for this sudden curiosity. However only if there is proper sex education, it prevents wrong consequences. Some in order to experience physical intimacy often get into wrong things. What is this whole concept of ‘sex’, how are these hormonal changes responsible for sexual desires, why do girls bleed during periods and how does sperm ejaculation take place in boys? These are the kind of questions which keep hovering continuously in their minds. If proper sexual education is given, then they might realize that all this is nothing but natural phenomena and there is nothing unusual about it.
- BEHAVIORIAL PROBLEMS
Some children are unable to cope with problems in this age which ultimately leads to behaviorial problems. Fights, underage drinking, illegal drug use are the most prominent examples which is quite obvious in this age due to less supervision of parents. Teenagers in this age basically have no clue about what they are doing. Their erratic behavior leads to rude, aggressive and short tempered nature. Many times children develop these kind of behaviorial problems because parents fight among each other which is very bad for the child’s growth especially if he/she is passing through his teen years. One way adults can help adolescents learn proper behavior is by giving them responsibilities. Also they must be given a supportive and caring environment at the same time.
- LESS INTERACTION WITH PARENTS
Although a teenager’s life may seem carefree, it usually contains a lot of stress due to school and social pressures. What is important at such a level , is proper interaction with parents. So although it can be a period of conflict between parent and child, the teen years also help them grow into distinct individuals. This is the time when parents should try and build up a friendly relation with their children which will make them comfortable in speaking out everything they feel like without any sort of hesitation and fear. Now the point here is, why is there a need of understanding between the two ? Well simply because they are two different generations and one shall feel comfortable before the other only if there is proper understanding between them irrespective of the age barrier.
- FEELING CONSCIOUS ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE
What happens basically is that you tend to become obsessed with your appearance. ‘Am I curvy enough’, ‘Am I manly enough’, Do I look pretty’, or ‘Do I look smart’. In short you become over conscious about the fact how you look. Puberty brings it own set of problems. Acne and pimples are common at this stage and can be embarrassing. Also body odor becomes much more noticeable. You always want to look good and groomed up. Hence kids at this age often try ‘new’ looks and indentities just to enhance their physical appearance. They become more choosy about the way they dress and the kind of clothes they wear.
- EMOTIONAL RUSH
Members of the opposite sex become interesting suddenly in a strange way. Also there is an imbalance of emotions. You either get very happy about something or intensely upset. But one basic fact is that crushes have no connection with puberty. If you feel that you have a crush on someone and hence you are going through puberty, then you are absolutely wrong. What draws a line between childhood crushes and puberty is the upsurge of emotions.They feel life is all about this and one heart break makes them feel shattered. Though the concept of ‘ teenage love’ is cute but it should not get into your life and influence you so much.
Puberty is a very sensitive phase. You feel that you are mature enough but actually you are not. The world outside appeals you more and you don’t know what is right and what is wrong. Distraction towards negative elements is a common phenomena in this age. Without being aware of the consequences, you choose to move in a particular direction which ultimately leads to wrong habits. You don’t know what you are doing, but still you feel like doing it. Kids in this age do get distracted to things like drinking, smoking, just because it makes them feel good. The childhood innocence gradually fades away and after they get into all these wrong activities, getting too much addicted to social networking sites, lying to their parents for wrong reasons, stealing money and hence there is no idealistic moral development.
- IMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR
‘Think before you act’. Puberty is a phase when you are in your virtual world and since you have no idea about the reality you develop a very impulsive nature. ‘I don’t care’ kind of attitude develops and you do whatever you feel like. However the point here is, how is impulsive behavior different from the behavioral problems. The latter encompasses or includes your total personality however impulsive behavior focuses basically on your irrational thinking. You don’t judge, you don’t think, you just do it. That is what we call being ‘IMPULSIVE’.
- PEER PRESSURE
‘A friend is nothing but a known enemy’. This stands absolutely true when comes to puberty related issues. Kids in this age become increasingly aware of how others, especially how peers see them. Their peers often become much more important when it comes to decision making. Teenagers who develop late are mocked at by their classmates. They tend to do things which are considered ‘cool’ in their friend circle. They are fascinated by materialistic things and tend to make role models whom they find glamorous. Feelings like jealousy, hatred etc. take an edge over them. Overall something which makes this phase of puberty a very critical one is this concept of peer pressure. What do our friends think of us and how will they react to anything becomes our prime concern. Friends come higher in our priority list and undoubtedly we give them more importance than our parents.
Puberty was awkward enough when you were passing through it, wasn’t it. Hence it is pretty obvious that it will be the same for your children as well. Parents shouldn’t panic neither should they be so anxious about this whole concept of teenage years. Only thing they need to do is be concerned and handle them tactfully. And puberty is not only about negative signs. It also has a developing aspect. Kids become more energetic, thoughtful and idealistic. So here’s a message to all the blooming buds, this is just a phase which will pass by, a kick start for your life ahead, do not mess with it. Your future lies in your today. Strive today if you aspire for a beautiful tomorrow !!