The Dark Side of Puberty Nobody Tells You About

The Dark Side of Puberty Nobody Tells You About

The changes each of us go through during puberty can be puzzling to figure out, especially in a country like ours where the information you can get for these kinds of topics is limited. 

Parents don’t think it’s the norm to discuss these issues with their kids, it’s not out of malice or anything, it’s just the culture we have can be restrictive in such cases. 

This has resulted in confused kids who often get their information through internet sites, and while that can be beneficial, the information you can find on the internet is often unfiltered and can be misleading. This is why as a culture we have to evolve enough to make it a norm to discuss such issues and have a platform that allows us to learn from each other’s experiences.

When we come to the topic at hand, puberty is a normal physiological process our bodies go through when the time comes. Girls are known to go through puberty a bit earlier than boys. 

This period can be challenging in a lot of ways; our bodies are going through a lot of changes and these changes are due to hormones called estrogen and progesterone for girls, and lots of testosterone for guys.

These hormones are responsible for all of the changes that occur in our bodies but they also affect our moods and mental status. For guys, these changes have been known to be associated with aggressive mood swings. During this period guys can act out and be difficult to handle for their parents. This is mostly fueled by hormonal changes happening in their bodies. 

For most teenagers, puberty is the time where personal development takes place and they start questioning the beliefs they were taught by their parents for their whole lives, a rebellious stage if you will. This is a very sensitive time because the sense of self we develop at this time can follow us through our adult years.

The physical changes that occur during this time can also attribute to the mental changes a teenager goes through. A self-esteem issue can arise because of peer pressure. The changes our bodies go through might come later, or be different than the changes our friends are going through. This can result in teasing, which can affect the way we view ourselves and have an effect on our confidence. 

The mental issues/changes puberty causes have remained a mystery for most of us, simply because discussion about these topics is limited. In our culture, parents don’t fully understand the benefits of discussing such issues and that can result in confused children, so as a culture, we need to evolve enough to encourage discussion of such topics. Just remember: mood swings, anger issues, and a loss of sense of self are some things every teenager goes through. It’s our job to be understanding and kind to everyone – we never know what challenges people are facing, especially within themselves. 

Puberty, and All The Little Details

Puberty, and All The Little Details

Puberty is a period of a comprehensive set of physical, emotional and mental changes. It can be a challenging time for children to go through, especially if they aren’t well informed. It occurs because of hormonal changes – the main hormones that come into play during this period are progesterone and estrogen as well as testosterone.

Girls usually experience puberty a little earlier than boys, which is what is expected and maybe also maybe the origin of the saying ‘’ girls mature faster than boys’’. For girls, the average age in which they experience puberty is from 9-12 and for boys it’s between the ages of 10-13.

Girls go through many physical changes during puberty: 

  1. The breasts will grow bigger. In many girls, this is the first sign of puberty.
  2. Hair grows in the genital area (pubic hair), under the arms, and on the legs. In some girls, pubic hair is the first sign of puberty.
  3. Girls start to get their monthly periods. Monthly periods usually start within 2 years after the breasts or pubic hair start growing. When a girl first starts getting her period, she might not get one every month. It is normal for a period to skip a month, or come twice in a single month. Some girls feel bloated or have mood changes right before they get their period, often called PMS. Girls can have white or clear vaginal discharge seen in their underwear, this is extremely normal! 
  4. Vaginal discharge is the term doctors use to describe the small amount of fluid that comes out of the vagina during this period. Girls can have white or clear vaginal discharge which is part of the physiological process and it’s only when this discharge has odor or changes in color that it becomes a cause for concern.

As for the guys, the main physical changes that occur are:

  1. The testicles get bigger. This is usually the first change that happens.
  2. The penis gets longer and wider.
  3. Hair grows in the genital area (pubic hair), on the face, and under the arms.
  4. The voice changes and it becomes deeper.
  5. Boys can ejaculate a small amount of sperm at night while they sleep. This is sometimes called a “wet dream.”
  6. The breasts can get slightly bigger. This usually goes away over time and sometimes it doesn’t, which is also perfectly normal.

There are also minor physical changes attributed with puberty for both girls and boys, which include sweating with order, eyesight changes (if a child is going to need glasses, then he/she would start needing them during puberty) as well as skin changes like acne on their face, back, and arms.

When we talk about puberty, we mentioned that the average age for puberty is 9-12 for girls and 10-13 years for guys, but everybody’s experience can be different and unique to their own. 

Puberty can come earlier and it could also come later than the average ages listed above, and in most cases this can be normal but there are cases when it’s not normal.

In the medical community the official term given for early puberty is when puberty starts earlier than the age 8 for girls and age 9 for boys, and puberty is medically considered late for girls when it occurs later than 12 and for guys when it’s later than age 14.

Doctors will assess the reasons behind these occurrences and can rule out if there are problems or not so it’s recommended to go get checked out when your puberty is early or late.

Aside from the physical changes, puberty can also be associated with mental changes. For both sexes, this time can be attributed to severe mood swings which can result in behavioral changes. If parents aren’t understanding of their kids during this period, it can lead to a divide between the communication of a parent with his/her child. 

Many teenagers go through a hard time during puberty because of all of the mental changes that happen during this process. Depression, anxiety, and self esteem issues all begin to arise around puberty. It’s the first time many of us begin to feel doubt about things we were totally confident about just years ago. The internet is a great place for research at times, but when it comes to the digital age, many teenagers find themselves comparing themselves to people online who only display a fraction of their lives. It can lead to unhealthy habits such as eating disorders and mental issues. It’s important to make sure that teenagers feel like they have a safe space to talk about their emotions, and that starts at home. 

For more information on changes during puberty, consult a doctor or psychiatrist for more information and resources. Remember – everyone goes through it, make sure you are taking it one day at a time.