Home Parenting and Family 10 Mind-Blowing Secrets About Modern Puberty that Parents NEED to Know – Prepare to Be SHOCKED!

10 Mind-Blowing Secrets About Modern Puberty that Parents NEED to Know – Prepare to Be SHOCKED!

10 Mind-Blowing Secrets About Modern Puberty that Parents NEED to Know – Prepare to Be SHOCKED!

Understanding and Navigating Puberty: Expert Tips for Parents

In their new book, This Is So Awkward, experts Cara Natterson, MD, and Vanessa Kroll Bennett provide valuable insights into the science, questions, and challenges of helping children navigate puberty. From deciphering the brain science behind mood swings to knowing what not to say to an emotional teen, here are some essential tips:

They Can’t Help It

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that kids cannot control their moodiness during puberty. While it can be frustrating for adults, it’s important to remember that these mood swings are not intentional. Hormonal changes can make children laugh, cry, become aggressive, or withdraw. As adults, it’s our responsibility to support and comfort them rather than judge or ridicule.

What’s Happening in Their Brains

Research on the connection between brain development and moodiness during adolescence is limited. However, studies suggest that immature behavioral control centers and an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex contribute to heightened emotional reactivity during puberty. The surge of hormones combined with these neurological factors leads to unpredictable mood swings.

What Not to Say

Do not tell them to calm down: Telling an emotionally overwhelmed child to calm down rarely helps. Instead, take deep breaths to reset your own brain and offer support.
Do not tell them to stop crying: Crying can serve as a release for intense emotions, and dismissing it may invalidate their feelings. Instead, ask what you can do to support them.
Do not say that it’s not a big deal: Even if something seems trivial as an adult, it can still deeply affect a child. Acknowledge their emotions and offer your company.
Do not tell them it’ll be fine tomorrow: Instead of minimizing their feelings, empathize and acknowledge their disappointment.

Engaging with the Quiet Ones

Some children may become quieter and more reserved during puberty. Instead of pressuring them to open up, show interest in their interests, ask open-ended questions, and create a judgment-free space for them to share their thoughts and feelings. If concerns persist, consider seeking professional help.

Emphasize Sleep and Target Late-Night Studying

The pressure to excel academically often coincides with battles over bedtime. Children may stay up late studying or completing assignments, compromising their much-needed sleep. Educate them about the benefits of adequate sleep for memory consolidation, mood regulation, metabolism, and growth.

Conversations Aren’t Futile

Despite their occasional contradictory actions, having conversations with children about tough situations is essential. These discussions help build mental preparedness and problem-solving skills. Encourage their active engagement, ask for their input, and consider role-playing challenging scenarios. Although teenagers may resist role-playing, it can be an effective way to work through difficult situations ahead of time.

Puberty is not without challenges, but by understanding the science and offering support, parents can help their children navigate this transformative phase with empathy and guidance.

From the book This Is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained, by Cara Natterson, MD, and Vanessa Kroll Bennett. Copyright 2023 by Vanessa Kroll Bennett and Cara Natterson, MD. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.


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