Puberty Guide: Signs & Stages in Boys and Girls

Puberty Guide: Signs & Stages in Boys and Girls

Puberty is an issue that is very difficult to understand, and it comes up with many questions. What is puberty? Is there such a thing as adolescent psychology? What kind of physical changes are observed in boys and girls during adolescence? We will answer all these questions in this article. 

  • My child started to change.
  • He doesn't want to spend time with us anymore.
  • He no longer listens to us.
  • I can't get along with my son/daughter; he/she doesn't listen to me.
  • My child doesn't love me anymore.
  • My child is very angry.
  • My child has been lying since puberty.

Families apply to psychologists with such complaints. This article aims to draw a general framework for puberty and enable families to benefit from this article.

What is Puberty?

Puberty, with its most familiar definition, is the 'first step into adulthood. Although it is called an intermediate period, it is the main period that connects childhood to adulthood.

This period is a process in which many emotions and physical changes are experienced for the first time, shaped, and even brought to one's senses. Children entering this period develop acceptance, being part of a group, and finding themselves away from the family. The most common misconception I see is that parents are comparing their current adolescence to their adolescence. I often come across the sentences, "It wasn't like that in our time," "We didn't go through puberty."

At the same time, estrogen and androgen hormones, which are related to gender, peak, and accordingly, there are changes in the feelings of the adolescent candidate for no reason. This period generally starts between the ages of 10-12 in girls and 12-14 in boys. This is also affected by factors such as genetics, race, socioeconomic conditions, and climate. Although the changes vary physically in boys and girls, hair growth generally starts first in both; hair growth on the face and body increases. The skin and hair become oily, acne on the face begins with a change in the voice, muscles develop, so the adolescent candidate feels stronger.

Early Puberty Symptoms in Girls

  • The breasts become prominent, and menstruation begins; body sizes change as the height grows rapidly.
  • Face and hair start to become oily as hormone secretions change.
  • Bodyweight and height increase. The pelvis is shaped, and the hip becomes prominent.

Early Puberty Symptoms in Boys

  • As the androgen hormone reaches its highest level, the penis and testicles begin to grow rapidly.
  • The face, arms, and legs begin to take on a male shape and become feathered. The voice starts to bifurcate and thicken in a male way.

Adolescent Psychology - How To Deal With It

Adolescence psychology is a tense and stormy period; it is a process that every adolescent candidate goes through, regardless of society. Although these are shaped according to the subculture of the community, they show themselves with their absolute reality.

In this period, the most common situations I encounter are opposing the authority figures, criticizing, rejecting the family, and disliking them. The child, who identifies with the social environment when he reaches school age, may identify with his friends during adolescence and even try to resemble them.

In this developmental period, the adolescent candidate, who is perceived as both a child and an adult by the family, does not know when to act, and his mind is quite confused. He cannot keep up with his changing and developing body, emotional and sexual changes, and may enter into a confusion of emotions and search for identity.

In this period, instead of acting disciplined and authoritative, parents can develop their identity by showing love, instilling confidence, caring, and valuing the adolescent candidate. Because in this period, the teenage candidate needs to be an individual who is trusted, loved, appreciated, and valued.

At the same time, it needs parental supervision from afar. Still, parents should protect the boundaries against the adolescent candidate who needs self-confidence and a message that his life is respected during this period. The feeling of trust, which is the basic building block of adolescence, can cause the adolescent to be introverted, shy, or over-attached.

In this period, the judgments and words of others are critical. Since the adolescent candidate is searching during this period, the friend environment and groups may change frequently. He is very busy with himself; this is the period when he decides to like or dislike his changing body, so he spends a lot of time in front of the mirror. He can be very selective, from the choice of clothes to the socks he will wear. He transforms from a child who used to be dressed by his parents to an adult who decides what to wear. While doing these, he wants to be free, and conflicts with the family begin.

In this period, there may be a decrease in school success, especially. The reason is that it cannot collect the scattered information. Adolescents are excited and somewhat reckless. He begins to question the knowledge of his teachers and is an effort to find a competent teacher.

In a family where the dialogue was broken during childhood, the disconnection will likely continue in this period as well. This situation may cause the adolescent candidate to conflict and polarize with their parents. Here, the most significant job falls to the parents. I advise parents to be patient and constructive during this period.

It is very typical for the adolescent to prove himself; he should be encouraged to succeed. On the other hand, even if the action is unsuccessful, the parents’ attitude should not change. It should be known and reminded by parents that this period of preparation for life is as valuable as success in failure and that every action is teaching.

Parents should never forget that this period is a temporary period of depression due to development. It should be conveyed to the adolescent not only with words but also with behavior, and care should be taken not to criticize or compare with others in the presence of strangers. The family is the institution that will guide the adolescent’s behavior and help him take the first step to learn his responsibilities towards himself and his social responsibilities. Adolescents can develop a healthy identity and self-esteem if they meet adults who respect, love, accept without judgment, support, and trust them.