Ask the Educator: “As a parent, what if I don’t know enough about puberty?” Part II

Question: I’m a single mom with a son. I want to talk to him about puberty but, to be honest, I don’t really know what to tell him. What should I do?

This article is a continuation of the October article on changes related to puberty. If you want to read part one, which is focused on the physical changes associated with puberty, you can find it here.

This article will focus on the some of the emotional and social changes that occur in a young person’s life as they grow into teenagers.

Teenagers are often described as moody and with reason. Hormones and rapid brain growth can change how a young person experiences their moods and feelings. The human brain doesn’t fully develop until around the age of 25. For many teenagers, their feelings begin to feel more intense and their mood can rapidly shift. And to add to the stress, they don’t have the life experience or wisdom to cope.

Teens are also experiencing changes in their social lives. For many, friends and peers take on a much more important role in their lives. They may turn to friends more for advice, information, and comfort.

That doesn’t mean parents and family are no longer important. Young people still need parental supervision, structure, and a safe home environment. This is especially true as they test boundaries and begin to request more freedom.

These changes are not only stressful for the teen but can also be stressful on the whole family. The most important thing you can do is to be patient – both with the teen and with yourself. Raising a child is difficult, especially during their teen years.

If you’re worried about your teen’s emotional state, or if their mood swings don’t seem typical for a teenager, reach out to a mental health professional. Have questions about puberty, sexuality, health, and the teenage years? Submit your question at http://snccsyr.org/top-program/ or by emailing me directly at elewis@snccsyr.org.