How Children Change During Adolescence

It seems our children stay children for such a short period of time. Before you know it, adolescence arrives and with it all the changes that this time in life delivers. 

During adolescence a child’s body grows and develops faster than at any other time, except for the first year of life. During this period our children will experience many profound changes on every level. And with puberty hitting children younger now than ever before, you can expect these changes sooner.

Dr. Marshall Korenblum, Psychiatrist-in-Chief with the Hinks Dellcrest tells us that “adolescents are going through those hormonal changes earlier than they were years ago. For example a hundred years ago girls were starting to get their periods at around age twelve. Nowadays it’s around age ten or eleven. We think it has something to do with better nutrition.”

So what can you expect when your child enters puberty? Dr. Korenblum says “hormones cause a spurt in growth in both height and weight and things like growing body hair, pimples, voice” will also occur. However as for fluctuating hormones causing mood swings, Dr. Korenblum says hormones aren’t quite the culprits once thought. “Hormones do contribute to instability of mood, particularly around the ages of ten, eleven and twelve. After that the impact of hormones has probably been a little over estimated and things settle down hormonally after around age thirteen. It would account for some mood instability around grades five, six and seven but after that other factors take over.”

Endocrinologist, Dr. Dan Metzger agrees that emotional changes are not as significant as the physical transformations taking place. “I think parents are especially sensitive to looking for the emotional signs of puberty, but the physical changes happen first. The emotional changes and moods of puberty are a part of it, but they don’t specifically come at the beginning or the end. The changes in personality that parents notice is just part of the package of adolescence. It comes with puberty but actually extends onto the early 20′s.”

Still, adolescence is a period of time when children are trying to fit it, and find out who they really are. And that can lead, in some cases, to difficulty. That means it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how your child is developing physically, mentally and emotionally, and if you suspect problems, don’t hesitate to consult an expert.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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