Teenage years bring about a lot of changes in your body. You will have physical changes, emotional changes, and many other changes. Sometimes you may be confused or not understand what is happening to your body.

We are here to help you understand what these changes are and how you can adapt to them.

A word about puberty

When you are about 8 to 9 years old (will vary among children), you experience certain changes in your body; this duration of changes is termed as puberty.

Puberty is the period when your body begins to develop and change into a young adult. This is a normal part of life, and a consequence of normal hormonal changes that occur as certain glands become functional.

Puberty occurs in stages over a few years, it doesn’t happen all at once. Some signs of puberty may occur at an early age, whereas others may show a few years later. Everybody undergoes these changes at a different pace, as each body is unique.

Most teens may feel excited, anxious, and confused during teenage due to all the changes happening. But knowing about the changes beforehand can make this period less stressful.

Changes during teenage

Puberty and the teenage years are one of the most rapidly developing phases of human growth. Some changes are different in boys and girls, whereas some are common.

In girls, the following physical changes occur during puberty, between the ages 8 to 13 years.

  • Breasts begin to enlarge
  • Breast and nipple elevate
  • Size of areola (dark skin around nipples) increases
  • Menstrual periods occur
  • Body shape changes

In boys, the exact onset of puberty is difficult to know. On an average, the development begins when they are 9 to 14 years old. During this period, the following changes occur:

  • Testicles and scrotum enlarge
  • Penis enlarges later
  • Nocturnal emissions or wet dreams
  • Body shape changes

The common changes in boys and girls include:

  • Hair growth under the arms and on the face
  • Pubic hair development
  • Voice change
  • Acne develops on face, neck and shoulder
  • Increase in height and weight
  • Increase in physical strength
  • Sleeping pattern changes
  • Sweat glands develop in the armpit and genital area
  • Second and third molars may develop

During teenage, neuronal developments associated with hormonal changes also occur. The areas of the brain responsible for reward processing, pleasure-seeking, sleep regulation and emotional responses are developed. Other regions responsible for executive functions are also undergoing change; these functions include organization, impulse control, decision making and planning for the future.

Along with the hormonal and neuronal development, psychological and social changes occur. These changes include, increasing intellectual and cognitive capacities, logical and moral thinking, stronger reasoning skills, rational judgements, and abstract thinking. These changes depend on the external influences, as well as internal biological changes. External influences include, social norms and values, changing responsibilities, roles, relationships and expectations.

Coping with changes

Changes during teenage is a normal part of human growth and development. The following are some tips to manage and cope with these changes:

Educate yourself: Now that you are almost a young adult, you can try to be more independent and tackle your own problems. For this, you must educate yourself. Know about the changes that you have already gone through, and the changes you will go through in the near future. Knowing this can help you prepare for these changes.

Maintain proper hygiene: You may begin to sweat more, and your hair and face may become oily during puberty. Hence, you must shower regularly or after the activities that make you sweat and maintain good personal hygiene. If you wish to get rid of the armpit and pubic hair, look for the most suitable methods. Learn about good hygiene practices during menstruation.

Dealing with acne: During this age, your skin may undergo changes, due to which your skin may become oilier and you may develop acne. Consult a dermatologist to seek suggestions on the skincare products which can help you deal with acne.

Talk to and adult: Share your physical or emotional concerns with your trusted adults, such as your mom, your older sister, your aunt, or your doctor. You can talk to them about periods, period cramps, mood swings, or even how to use a pad or a tampon. You need not see a gynaecologist, but you can always approach a general physician to talk about your changing body.

Buy well-fitting bras: As your breasts grow, they will need some support, particularly if you play sports. Go bra shopping with your mom or sister or any other person whom you trust. Ensure that the bra is well-supporting and is of the right size. You can ask help from the woman at the store with the fitting. A good bra will support your breasts, help you maintain good posture, and prevent breasts from drooping.

Be positive: As you grow, you may begin to look and feel different than your friends, which may affect your self-esteem. Learn to love your body for what it is, embrace your new curves, your new body and the new you.

A note for parents

Being a parent to a teen cannot be easy. They are going through so many changes and may be anxious, confused or stressed. As a parent, you can help your child to go through this difficult age:

  • Explain about the physical changes and emerging sexuality.
  • Ensure that changes are a normal part of development.
  • Answer their questions and allow them to process the information.
  • Talk about important subjects including sex and sexuality, healthy relationship, safety and consent.
  • Keep the conversations positive.
  • Show confidence in your child.
  • Encourage them to take on new challenges and responsibilities.
  • Help with managing and handling stress.

No doubt that your teen years are difficult to handle. But the first thing you can do about your concerns is to have a conversation with somebody you trust; this can help you a lot. In case the conversation was not useful, you can always approach a healthcare professional.

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