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Puberty - changes in thinking

relationships; peers; parents; family; puberty; conflict; growing up feelings; friends; hormones; bra; communicate; privacy; change; jealous; period; periods; pubic; ;


Up until now you've been a kid relying on your parents or others for everything you need. Suddenly your body is telling you that you are changing into an adult and your mind starts to do some changing too.

Changing relationships

Now that you're growing up, you have to learn how to relate to people as a young adult, take more responsibility for your actions and make more decisions for yourself.

You may feel that you are closer to your friends because they are going through the same sort of experiences as you are. You may make new friends or become closer friends with one or two people with whom you feel comfortable. You may have a crush on someone or feel that you would like to be a boyfriend / girlfriend.

You may feel that it is really important to be part of a particular group and identify yourself in some way as being in the group eg. hairstyle, clothes, where you hang out at lunchtime, etc.

Thinking changes

  • family groupYou're starting to choose your own standards, form your own ideals, values and opinions. You may question those of your parents, friends or society in general. This is all part of the growing up process.
  • You're learning how to listen to others
  • You're learning to take some time to get to know yourself and what you think about things.
  • You're learning that other people have a right to their own opinions.
  • You're learning to stick to what you believe is right.
  • You're learning to deal with the strong feelings and changes of mood that your hormones can cause at this time in your life.

Changing yourself

  • teasingOne minute you want to be treated as an adult, the next you may feel like a child. This is as confusing to your parents as it is to yourself!
  • You have to learn about responsibility and compromise. Telling your parents how you feel can help. Parents are usually willing for you to become more independent if you show that you are also responsible.

Peer pressure

This can have a large influence on your life. Choose friends who have a positive attitude, who are there when needed and who encourage each other to work hard and have active healthy interests.

There are positive and not so good groups for you to hang out with.  See the related topic Peer group pressure.

Take friends home so that they and your parents can get to know each other.

Family conflict

sibling conflictWhen you were small your home was the most important place in your life. Now you are growing up, and you want to go out and look at the rest of the world as well. Your friends may seem to have more freedom than you do or perhaps their home is very different to yours.

You may start to feel that:

  • you want your own space and feel annoyed because your brother or sister always seems to be hanging around or always telling you what to do
  • sibling rivalryyour parents come into your space [your room or the bathroom] like they always have, but now you want privacy. Explain to them that you are growing up now and wanting some privacy is part of this.
  • your parents never seem to trust you or let you do the same sort of things that your friends all seem to get to do.

Remember that your parents have to cope with changes too. You are growing up and they are growing older. The world may have been a very different place when they were your age. They hear all the bad news about 'nearly teenagers' and what can happen to them, but the great things that kids do and are involved in are not often talked about. They want to keep you safe.

Parents and care-givers also need to know that you love them, even if you feel a bit embarrassed about telling them now that you are older.

 (See the related topics Family relationships and Conflict Resolution)

Wanting to be grown up now

Now that you are turning into an adult, it seems that all the things that you most want to do you are still not old enough to do. So near and yet so far!

Be patient
Don't be in too much of a rush to turn into an adult overnight. It is not as exciting as you might think. Being an adult has a lot of responsibilities.

  • Take things steadily.
  • Enjoy your adolescent years. Use them to form strong relationships with your family and friends, to set your goals, to lay the foundations for a healthy body and lifestyle.
  • Your parents may seem like the meanest parents in town if they don't allow you to do something you want. Remember that there is no one else on earth who has your interests and safety more at heart. They have been around long enough to know a few things about life, so listen to what they say, learn to negotiate with them and show them that you are growing up into a responsible person.
  • Learn to let your head do your thinking and not those raging hormones!

Dr Kate says

Dr Kate
"Sometimes all the changes that happen with puberty can make you feel really down and unhappy. It can be scary growing into a new body. If feelings get a bit too much for you, this is the time when you really need to talk to an adult you can trust. You may need help to get your feelings back on the right track."

Answering your questions

Q. Do thinking changes make you jealous of people?

Being jealous about someone means that you want that person's attention for yourself. If you are feeling a bit confused it is only natural that you want the comfort of having someone you can rely on to be there for you when you need some extra help and support.

Being envious of someone because they don't seem to be having the same problems that you are is also a normal emotion. Do remember though that because some people don't talk about their problems it doesn't mean that they don't have any.

Q. Why can't I talk to my parents any more?

The short answer is: But You Can!

Parents have a few problems of their own when their kids start going through puberty.

  • They may feel suddenly older.
  • They may feel nervous about their relationship with you.
  • They may need you to talk to them to let them know how you are feeling.
  • They may feel worried that they are not able to protect you as well as they could when you were little.

Parents always want their kids to have a safe, problem-free time in their growing up years. [They probably also remember what they got up to at your age and are scared that you may make the same mistakes.]

You need to talk to each other, work out 'the ground rules' and communicate. Tell them how you feel and what you would like, and then listen to their point of view and try to work things out - communication means sharing and listening (not judge and blame)!

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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