21 Apr 2018 #Puberty

“Hey, you know what, I don’t know what’s wrong but a lot of pimples have popped up on my face; thick hair  has grown around my arm pits and genitalia; I feel irritated and anxious all the time; this is all so sudden and embarrassing; should I tell this to anyone? ” This is a brief version of the ‘self talk’ or ‘mirror talk’ all of adolescents have within themselves. Something we revealed only to a very close friend or simply kept to ourselves. They may also sometimes have questions like ‘What if I have some physical illness  and I might get isolated if anyone discovers my ‘disease’?’ Puberty is no hush hush word but it is a normal process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. On an average, girls begin puberty around ages 10-11 and boys begin puberty around 11-12 . The major change that puberty brings in is the initiation of menarche amongst girls which occurs on an average between ages 12-13. For males, it is the first ejaculation which occurs on an average age of 13. This phase is one of the most sensitive phases of a child’s life which should be dealt with utmost care. There are a lot of physical , psychological and emotional changes happening which might make a child extremely conscious of himself/herself. It is at this sensitive period that teenagers fall prey to vicious temptations while trying to adapt to changes happening in their bodies. Mental changes such as feeling irritated, tired, anxious, extremely happy or sad are normal reflexes to the hormonal changes taking place in the body. Often parents find it odd to discuss this phenomenon   with their kids, but it is only the deliberate ‘awareness’ talk by parents which can help their child to adapt to these imbalances positively. Many psychologists and psychiatrics regard the inability to cope up with these imbalances as the main stimulant which leads to juvenile crimes in India. The parents of underprivileged teenagers are burdened with the task of earning bread and butter for their families and neither have the times nor the resources to guide their children. These teenagers often go uninformed and end up having such sensitive ‘talks’ with ‘others’ that a lot of time leads to falling prey to smoking, drinking and drug abuse. Triggered by their first set of unfamiliar social experiences and the enjoyable experiences of sexual arousing, teenagers tend to form intense, romantic and sometimes sexualized relationships which might lead to teenage pregnancy when their minds and body is still developing. It is only through legitimate sex education, elderly guidance and by creating a congenial environment at homes that these teenage issues can be handled at par. A child’s future endeavors are immensely influenced by  the exposure he/she gets in the childhood, so it is of utmost importance that parents and teachers help these children from accepting the puberty period as a normal phase of their lives. Conclusion Growing up is a part of life, there’s absolutely nothing to be anxious about it, let’s help the young chaps feel free to talk, breaking all shackles of communication gaps to let each individual bloom and  feel happy about themselves.