Puberty

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By now, you’ve probably heard lots (some may say too much!) about puberty. So here’s a quick review all about puberty using the who, what, when, where, why, and how format!

Who goes through puberty?

The simple answer is everyone. Everyone you know has gone or will go through puberty as they grow up
from a child to an adult. It’s a natural part of growing up.

What is puberty?

Puberty is the period of physical, emotional and social changes a person goes through when they grow
from being a child to an adult.

When does puberty begin?

Most people begin puberty between the ages of 9-16. Girls usually start puberty earlier than boys although
each person’s body will begin when it needs to! Girls usually begin puberty earlier than boys between the ages of 9 and 13 while boys usually begin between 10 and 16. Because puberty usually starts with a growth spurt, girls often get taller than boys around this time! If you look back at your class pictures between grade 4-7 – you can often see these height differences between boys and girls. Some people are meant to be tall and some are meant to be not so tall. During a growth spurt, you can grow up to 4 inches a year but everyone will grow at the rate that is right for them. Your voice will change and might become deeper, pubic hair will grow thicker, and your skin is changing and you may get some pimples.

Where does puberty begin?

It actually begins in the brain in a place called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus ends a message to the pituitary gland which then sends messages to the reproductive system to begin the production of hormones. It is these hormones that will cause the physical and emotional changes during puberty.

Why does puberty happen?

The biological reason that puberty begins is to prepare the body for reproduction or to be able to have children. Just as important as being able to reproduce is the fact that puberty also gives a person the opportunity to practice the feelings, attitudes, responsibilities, and behaviours of being an adult so you can
handle it better when you do become one.

How does puberty change your physical, emotional and social self?

The simple answer is hormones! All the changes in your physical and emotional self are caused by your hormones, which are chemicals in your body that cause it to change. As you move through puberty, these chemicals will eventually make it possible for you to cause someone to become pregnant or become pregnant. Hormonal changes kick in when your pituitary gland gives the go-ahead to your sex glands (ovaries for girls, testicles for boys). Your sex glands then make hormones and send them to other parts of your body, causing all the changes of puberty. A male’s main hormone is called testosterone, produced in the testicles, and female’s main hormones are called estrogen and progesterone, produced in the ovaries. These hormones are the reason why there are physical and emotional changes during puberty.

Physical Changes

Puberty is your body physically changing from a child to an adult. It is how your body matures to become ready to reproduce (create and have babies). You will notice a lot of new things about your body through this process. Luckily, they usually don’t happen all at once! There’s lots of time while you’re growing up to get used to the changes. Remember, puberty is different for every body. Your changes are going to be slightly or maybe a lot different (you may be taller or shorter, you may need braces on your teeth or your friend may need glasses) from the changes in your friends and classmates at school, but don’t let it worry you – each of our bodies takes its own natural course.

Some young people say that it helped them to get to know their own body during puberty. Have a look at your entire body in front of a mirror (in private!). It may seem kind of strange to do this but it can be helpful to see how your body is changing and growing. Some people say it helped them to be more comfortable with the changes and to be able to know what was different with their body.

Emotional Changes

Just like your body is changing, so are your mind and your emotions. You’re definitely getting a lot smarter, and you’ve learned a lot about more about how the world works and how you feel about yourself and your friends and family. You may feel more emotional or notice your reactions to things more than you used to.

You might notice that you experience what people call “mood swings” – going from feeling happy to unhappy or sad without any real reason. You may notice you feel less patient with your family and friends and you may sometimes feel like no one understands what’s going on for you. The good news about all this is that you will not feel like this forever, it is really just helping you to practice your adult emotions! Make sure that you have lots of things to help you feel better on the days that you feel less than great! They might be things like having a nap, playing the guitar, walking your dog, listening to your favourite music really loud, watching tv, dancing crazy, talking to your mom, or baking something delicious. Whatever you do for yourself, just remember that whatever you‘re feeling is ok and it’s ok to ask for help if something is bothering you!

If your feelings start to overwhelm you, and you don’t feel like you can deal with something on your own, just go talk to someone. Find someone you trust and feel comfortable talking to – your parents, a coach, a teacher, an aunt or uncle – and just tell them what’s on your mind. These people care about you and want to help. It may seem like it’s been a long time since they were your age and that everything has changed but some things are always the same, no matter what.

Social Changes

Friendships are often a really important part of our lives and spending time with friends is There are few things in this world that are more important than having good friends. Whether you have one or two best friends, or a couple dozen good friends, life just isn’t the same without them.

As you go through your teen years, you and your friends are going to change a lot. Your bodies will change, your minds will change and so will your likes and dislikes. As time passes, you may get closer and spend more time with some of your friends, but with others you may spend less time with and drift apart. Maybe when you were younger you were really into sports, but now you’d rather jam with a band. And as people change, so do their relationships and the people they like to be around. Chances are, you’ve probably already changed your closest friends a few times in your life.

It can be hard to have friendships change but it’s also a natural part of life, and it happens to everyone. The other relationships that may change are those with your family. You may feel like you want to spend more time on your own or with your friends than hanging out with parents and brothers and sisters. Try to remember to try and make time to hang out with them too even if they say the most embarrassing things ever. And if you think you have the most embarrassing family ever, there’s always someone else who thinks the same thing about their family!