Puberty is a time of youth when sex hormones cause physical and emotional changes. During this time, it's normal to feel like you lose control and have mood swings. However, you shouldn't give up hope. Learn more about the changes your body will go through and how to deal with emotional fluctuations. Living a balanced lifestyle will also help you feel in control.
Part 1 of 4: dealing with emotional fluctuations
Step 1. Learn to control your mood swings
Emotional fluctuations are quite normal during puberty. Many teens experience mood swings at some point during their puberty. However, there are ways to control your emotions. Here are some tips to help you do this.
- Take a moment to calm down. Try to breathe deeply and breathe out slowly.
- Cry. That's okay, and crying can be liberating at times. Occasionally letting go of your emotions can be very helpful. However, if you constantly cry or are sad all the time, talk to a parent or doctor.
Step 2. Take some free time
As a teenager, you may be faced with new academic responsibilities, a change in your circle of friends, and more extracurricular activities. It can be overwhelming. If you are feeling stressed, take the time to calm down and engage in one of these activities.
- Watch a funny show.
- Go on a swing in the park.
- Listen to your favorite songs.
- Take a good bubble bath.
- Play a musical instrument such as the guitar.
- Play karaoke on a site like YouTube.
Step 3. Keep a journal
Writing about your own feelings and emotions can be therapeutic. Often, after you have put your problems down on paper, you will be able to contextualize them better. You may find that the problem is not as serious as you think. Journaling can help calm you down and express your creativity at the same time.
Step 4. Get feedback from your loved ones
Some of your friends may feel the same way as you do. Talk to them to get a feel for how they got over this situation. Your parents or other trusted adults might just as well be a great resource. They've all been through this time in their lives and can help you deal with your emotional fluctuations. It's good to release your feelings.
Step 5. Choose your friends wisely
Your choices will likely be influenced by those of your friends, and vice versa. During this stage of your life, it is good to surround yourself with your true friends to cheer yourself up. Stay away from those friends who use drugs, drink or engage in other illicit activities.
Step 6. Behave well in your relationships
As your hormones change during puberty, it is quite natural to feel attracted to other girls / boys. Before engaging in sexual behavior, consider talking to a school counselor, a trusted friend, or your partner to educate yourself on the pros and cons of having sex early. If you engage in sexual activities, try to use a condom to prevent the spread of STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not having any form of sex (either vaginal, anal or oral) is the only sure-fire way to avoid contracting an STI
Part 2 of 4: controlling the physical changes
Step 1. Keep playing sports
Even though your body will undergo huge changes, it is important to keep exercising. Adapting to your new body is essential. When you exercise, your body releases more beta-endorphins, which are hormones that can reduce stress and put you in a good mood.
- Understand that you may have difficulty playing some sports than before. For example, if you were a brilliant figure skater before puberty, you might find it more difficult to jump because of your weight gain. It happens to almost everyone. Talk to your trainers about how you can adjust to your new physique.
- Being physically active can also help girls with painful periods. See this article for more information.
Step 2. Refresh your wardrobe
You will need new clothes as you grow older. Take this time to think about a new style. Maybe you want to look more mature. Now is a good time for girls to learn more about bras. Ask your mom, sister, or a friend for help. Most stores and lingerie boutiques also have specialists who can help you find the right type and size of bra for you. If you are a boy and play sports, ask your coaches for advice on purchasing a jockstrap.
Step 3. Eat healthy
As your body grows, it's important that you eat fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Avoid junk food as much as possible. Also be aware that you may be hungry all the time, because your body uses its nutrients for energy for growth. It's fine to eat snacks, but try eating light, healthy meals like assorted dried fruits or yogurt instead of candy bars or crisps.
- Don't skip breakfast. You need energy for school.
- Try to eat five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat foods rich in calcium and iron like cheese, milk, and spinach.
- Drink water when you are thirsty. Dehydration can make you feel tired.
- If you are planning on going to a party and know there will be junk food, consider eating a healthy snack or even dinner before you go.
Part 3 of 4: Understanding puberty
Step 1. Understand what puberty is
From the onset of puberty, the brain stimulates the production of sex hormones, which are secreted by the ovaries in girls and by the testes in boys. In girls, the body makes more estrogen and progesterones. The hormone secreted in large quantities in boys is testosterone. High levels of hormones in the blood can cause physical changes in your body (such as breast development), but also sometimes emotional changes. These changes are completely normal, but can affect your feelings.
- In girls, puberty starts between 8 and 13 years old, while in boys it takes place a little later, between 9 and 14 years old. Some people may start puberty before or after these age groups. We speak of "precocious puberty" when a girl enters puberty before 8 years old and a boy before 9 years old. If you notice that your body is changing prematurely, talk to your parents or doctor straight away.
- Puberty is essential for the transformation of a child's body into an adult body, but you may have to be patient. It can last between 1.5 to 5 years. It's hard to know from the start how long it will last, but it will end someday.
Step 2. Understand the physical changes in girls
From the onset of puberty, the change in hormones causes breasts to develop. We also notice the enlargement of the pelvis and the appearance of pubic hair. You will also become taller. Two years after the onset of puberty, you may start to have armpit hair and a whitish discharge in your underwear. Very soon you will start to have your period. As your period approaches, you may have premenstrual or menstrual cramps. You may have pain in the abdominal area and feel bloated.
- Your breasts can develop at different rates, which is fine. They may also be tender to touch during this time in your life.
- You can gain between 5 and 20 centimeters more.
- Some parts of your body, such as your head and hands, can grow faster than your arms and legs. You may feel uncomfortable during this time. Do not worry. Your body will get used to it.
- Once a month your uterine lining will thicken and you will have bleeding. Although period cramps are normal, if the pain is unbearable, talk to your doctor.
Step 3. Understand the physical changes in boys
The sexual organs begin to develop. The testicles grow larger, and your penis size increases during puberty. Also, you start to grow pubic hair. By mid-puberty, you will have a growth spurt. A few years later, you will notice the appearance of hair all over your body, including your face, and now is a good time to learn how to shave or take care of facial hair. Your body will also begin to release testosterone. Erections and ejaculations usually occur during this stage. At 14 or 15, your puberty is almost over. Your larynx (your Adam's apple) will develop and your voice will begin to moult and deepen.
- One of your testicles may grow larger than the other, and this is normal.
- You could take 10 to 30 centimeters more. You can continue to grow taller until you are 18 to 20 years old.
- Testosterone is the sex hormone that triggers the production of semen.
- You can get an erection for no apparent cause, or ejaculate while you sleep. This is all normal.
- As your voice begins to transform, your tone can vary greatly as well. Eventually it will stop.
Step 4. Know that the brain is undergoing changes
The human brain continues to develop until the age of 23 to 25. As your brain develops during the teenage years, it can be influenced by risky behaviors, such as having sex or using drugs and alcohol. Be aware that any risky behavior you engage in during puberty can lead to addictions later on.
Part 4 of 4: Achieving Balance During the Teenage Years
Step 1. Establish priorities
If you are a teenager, you might have a lot of things you want to do. Maybe you want to play a sport or be the star of a musical. Set goals for yourself and proportionally focus your energy on those activities. You shouldn't pretend to be the star in everything. Take the time to discover your specialty. Then do your best in this activity!
- Create a small schedule. Plan your time wisely and don't try to do a lot of activities in one day.
- Some priorities are necessary (like doing your homework).
- Being in good physical condition and good health should also be one of your top priorities. It comes down to sleeping well and eating well.
Step 2. Make time for yourself
While you can be busy with activities, it's important to make time for yourself. Try to give yourself thirty minutes each day to indulge in a favorite activity, such as reading the newspaper, doing yoga or playing the piano. Take the opportunity to relax so that you can return to your activities with more energy.
- Take a half hour or a rest before going to school.
- Spend half an hour getting ready for sleep.
Step 3. Set SMART Goals
During your teenage years, setting goals will help you feel in control while your emotions may make you think otherwise. We hear by SMART goals specific, measurable, ambitious, achievable and time-bound objectives. In other words, you need to clearly define your goals and determine if you can achieve them.
For example, a SMART goal might be to complete level 5 of your big piano textbook by January. If by September you've already gone through half the book, that represents an achievable goal. You can make a practical plan and break your goal down into small steps. For example, you can try to finish two pages per week. You will know you have achieved this goal if you manage to complete the book
- Even if you are a girl, it is good to understand the changes that boys' bodies go through. The same goes for boys: it's good to understand the changes in the body that girls experience during adolescence.
- Don't tease people who are going through this delicate phase because of the changes in their bodies. Instead, support each other.