Issues and Challenges

Handling Your Teenagers Understanding Hormonal Changes and Their Effects

The adolescent period in most cultures is marked by change. The hormonal fluctuation around puberty, starting between the ages of 8 and 14, remains until the early 20s when adolescence ends. Adolescent development includes the emergence of teen hormones. Teenagers go through a lot of physical, psychological, and social changes as they transition from puberty into early adulthood. During this time, the adolescent body and brain undergo rapid development. Teen hormones are necessary for a child’s growth, development, and maturation. However, due to the hormonal changes that occur, both parents and teenagers may feel out of control and overwhelmed. The prefrontal cortex of your adolescent will expand as they age. This region of the brain has an impact on one’s capacity for planning and decision-making. Numerous puberty-related physical and behavioral changes are visible. Your adolescent will start to look more like an adult as a result of the effect that hormones have had on their body over the course of these years.
Physical Changes 
Gaining body mass and the onset of sexual development are the main physical impacts of teen hormones. Teen hormones can affect mood and behavior in children going through puberty. Boys and girls in adolescence will develop different primary and secondary sexual traits. The brain releases Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRh) during the start of puberty. The pituitary gland is stimulated by GnRH, which causes number of developmental changes. The growth hormone and other vital substances for human development are produced by the pituitary gland. Other than a growth spurt, these hormones are in charge of a variety of bodily alterations.
Androgens, are principally responsible for their effect on adolescent boys. Although at a lower rate than boys, in girls as well, androgens are produced by the ovaries. The basic and secondary sexual traits are influenced by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. These sex hormones are present in both men and women, although testosterone is the main sex hormone in males and estrogen in women. Teenage girls and boys share many of the same hormones, but young women and young men have different levels of these hormones. In addition, effects of fluctuating levels of estrogen and testosterone include exhilaration, brain fogginess, anxiety, low self-esteem, confusion, social withdrawal, etc.
The bodily changes take place at puberty are oftentimes upsetting for children. They could be concerned with how quickly they change or whether their development is comparable to that of their peers. Teenagers could hold one another to comparisons. Your children can be dealing with other challenges at this time. They might engage in risky behavior such as taking drugs or irresponsible sexual behavior. They might face difficulties with mental health and self-esteem issues. Your child will grow physically during the adolescent years while juggling a variety of other concerns. Along with the physical changes of puberty, you could experience alterations in mood and behavior. So it is very important to consider this while dealing with your teenagers who may no longer be the sweet children you had been used to for so many years.
Behavioral Changes 
In addition to bringing about physical changes, as a result of chemical changes in the body caused by the onset of adulthood, teenagers’ hormones affect their behavior and emotions as well. The teenage brain continues to develop and mature in early adulthood. Teenagers are not yet cognitively or emotionally developed enough to deal with these bodily changes. Because these new hormones have an impact on emotions, teenagers may struggle to control their emotions. Hormones affect more aspects of their lives than only mood and development. These include eating, sleeping, managing stress, sexual development, etc.
For the first time, teens are exposed to stress hormones like cortisol, which, combined with sex and growth hormones, have an impact on their general health. These hormonal changes will affect your teen’s behavior and mood as they learn to manage these new feelings. Your teen can go through mood swings or get irritated as they go through these changes. Some mood swings are natural and to be expected as your child learns to control these emotions. When they are still young, some teenagers may really suffer from or struggle with mental health issues. Parents need to be informed that some mental health conditions can mimic regular teenage distress. 
Teen hormones can produce mood swings, but sadness may be brought on by a variety of causes. You should not automatically assume that teen hormones are the cause of depression and think that a severe mental health condition is only a “phase” or an inevitable part of growing up. Teenage years can be difficult for kids and can have an impact on their mental health. Teenagers experiment with their sexuality, identity, and beliefs at this time. They might present themselves as one person one day and then attempt on a different persona the next day. You might not consider depression to be one of these changes as a parent, but some times it is. 
When sadness persists, it is called a depressive episode. If your child is “feeling sad most of the time for a few weeks or longer” or is “unable to concentrate or do the things that they used to like and enjoy,” they may be depressed. Signs of depression in teens might look like loss of interest in activities which were pleasurable before, feelings of sadness, worthlessness or guilt, forgetting things easily, feeling irritable or easily angered, preferring to spend their time alone withdrawing from family and friends, getting easily fatigued and being lethargic most of the time, poor academic performance as compared to their normal performance, suicidal ideation and expressing thoughts about suicide. 
Suicidal thoughts from your teenager are a warning sign that something is awry. You should take any mention of suicide by a teen seriously and seek immediate aid for them. When faced with serious issues like suicidal thoughts, it is always important to be cautious and seek professional assistance. Suicidal thoughts are an important indicator of mental health conditions including depression. Parents may believe that their teen is only acting in this way to get attention or because of hormones, however, depression is not a typical aspect of adolescent growth. Always consult your healthcare professional to rule out any physical health issues. Give your children space to speak privately with medical professionals. Your adolescent may choose to speak privately with the doctor about any concerns they have. If your child wants to speak with their doctor about sex and sexuality, offer to leave the room.
Your teenagers could be anticipating your discussion on sex and sexuality with them. These crucial discussions are unlikely to take place if you wait for your teenagers to bring up sensitive subjects to you. Bring up these subjects to them to get ahead of this. They will understand that you are concerned about them and that they are welcome to talk to you regarding sexual conduct. 
What Can You Do?
It is imperative that you assist your teenager in implementing practices that promote hormonal balance to ensure good mental health. Your teen’s hormone balance can be maintained by regular exercise. Staying active helps control testosterone, whose imbalance can cause a variety of mental health issues like anxiety, and it also lowers the level of stress. The thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones are all metabolized and controlled by the liver. High hormone levels in the bloodstream are the result of an overworked liver’s inability to accomplish this efficiently. Helping your child maintain a nutritious diet and keeping them away from refined sugars and carbohydrates are crucial in maintaining the liver functioning at its best. Utilize methods like meditation, yoga, pilates, mindful breathing, etc., to help them develop efficient stress management skills. 
There are many emotional and social changes that occur during the teenage years which may be stressful for some teens. A parent can help them by ensuring that they feel secure, protected and nurtured as they are facing multiple challenges in their life such as interpersonal changes, academic demands and peer pressure. 
They need more sleep during this phase of their lives; you might notice a difference in their sleep pattern, which is due to sleep hormone called melatonin. You can help your child by encouraging a good routine and modeling good sleep hygiene for them to follow. Since your body releases several important hormones when you sleep, getting good sleep improves your mental and hormonal health; lack of sleep hinders this process and may have a negative impact on your teen’s mental health.
Their environment is really important as the environment governs how you think, feel and act, exposing teenagers to a variety of activities will be supportive in the healthy development. There might be a change in their hunger patterns, which can be due to the major growth spurt their body is going through at the moment, and since they are becoming independent, it is important to ensure healthier eating choices to help them develop good habits. HH


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