How is the male gender different? Here are a few possibilities.
What do teen boys and mature women have in common? That’s right, hormonal surges. The teen years are probably one of the only occasions where a male has the opportunity to experience something similar to what most females are forced to take for granted. In fact, teenage biochemistry changes can be compared even more so to the fluxes that occur in pregnant or menopausal women.
This is not necessarily a good thing, of course. As difficult as it can be for women to deal with such drastic alterations in their biochemistry and physiology, imagine how much worse it can be for a male, especially a young one. Women will rally around each other and network as they discuss trends and past experiences and share their wisdom with each rising member of their sisterhood. Men tend to turn their angst and other feelings inward.
While group therapy and improved communication techniques are becoming more commonly used by males, young men, especially in their earliest stages of becoming an adult, are still often left out of the loop. The juvenile male has to figure out things for himself, with potentially disastrous results.
Add to this the fact that men tend to be physically stronger and are more likely to lash out not only verbally but physically when they are upset, especially the immature male, and you have all the ingredients for major confrontations in a household that contains a teenage boy. Outbursts may become frequent as the child-turning-adult is assaulted by new thoughts and feelings in conjunction with increased peer pressure, school pressures and other responsibilities and stresses.
This emotional and physiological morass can be difficult for an adult to handle. Imagine how much worse it can be for the inexperienced youth. Something is going to have to give and usually it is his temper.
As mentioned previously, males tend to turn inwards when they are upset and the teen male is no exception. Instead of or in addition to venomous rages, he may need to spend what might seem like an excessive amount of time locked in his room or away from home with friends. This behavior is actually quite normal, although vigilant parents will need to be sure that they meet with any new friends their son is making and pay attention for any signs of truly delinquent behavior.
Teen males are also subject to growth spurts that would put the best speed photography to shame. Food is consumed like the proverbial horde of locusts and budgets can get stretched to the breaking point from his seemingly endless appetite. All this additional eating is to accommodate the huge bursts of physical expansion that his body is going through. He will also most likely need more sleep than before, too, because just like speedily growing infants need nap times, so do teenagers.
Muscle groups are increasing their mass while bones may literally add as much as an eighth of an inch overnight and can do so repeatedly across several days. Such a fraction of an inch may not sound like much unless you are the owner of said stretching, in which case it can be quite painful. Such quickly stretching bones will ache and can even cause flu-like symptoms for some young men. A visit to your family physician may be called for to make sure that all is going as it should.
Being a teen male isn’t all bad, though. Along with a growing body there is a growing ego which can often be assuaged. The child who was once a “big boy” truly is one now and will most likely be eager to show off what his newly attained brawn is capable of. Lifting rocks and other heavy chores may be tackled with great enthusiasm as he works to show off his new prowess. Heaping praise on these efforts as well as the exertion itself can help ease other tensions and hopefully avoid at least some of the emotional outbursts that tend to come with this stage of development. And there’s the benefit of having an extra someone to help with such odious chores around the home.
If your son is more of the brainy type, new academic heights might be achieved now as he pushes himself to new limits. The sportsman will most likely also push himself to break records and exceed previous achievements. In each case, parents will find fresh reasons to be proud of their son.
So while tumultuous, this period of change can be survived. The child is becoming a man and is going through all the confusion that should be anticipated as one goes through such a drastic conversion. There will most likely be teen tantrums. Doors might be slammed and then remain shut for days. He might charge out the front door in a huff, not to return until the wee hours of the night or even the next day as he tries to cool down. Hurtful things might be said. None of this should be taken too much to heart.
Eventually this phase will pass and what used to be an agreeable child will most likely return to you as an agreeable adult. This has been happening for eons and millions of other families just like yours have lived through the process to tell the tale. So can you.
Published in: Family