<<teenage years>>

The time of intense change, in both boys and girls, from childhood into adult with the capability of sexual reproduction. As physical and hormonal changes take place adolescents become very conscious of their own bodies and pay them lots of attention. Because they change at different rates they often wrongly perceive faults and consider themselves ‘not normal’. Most teenagers at some time feel odd, out of step and embarrassed about some aspect of their appearance as they navigate their way through adolescence with a growing awareness and attraction, normally, to the opposite sex.

As there can be times of low self esteem parents need to be alert and to reassure their developing young people that this period of bewildering changes (taking place inside their bodies) will sort itself out. This can be a stressful time for parents and those experiencing this transition period, so there needs to be tolerance in the home as the

Thank God this is a transition stage                     – it leads to adulthood!

teenagers find their feet. Irrational and uncharacteristic, sloppy behaviour may be exhibited yet family responsibilities and courtesies are not to be neglected. Open friendly communication will ensure the parents can positively guide their offspring through God’s intended ‘growing up’ process into this completely new stage of life opening up for the individual. It is important not to neglect God and His ways – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to God’s Word” (Ps 119:9,11). Ideally, from early childhood good foundations, values and principles were laid in all spheres of life. These need to be continued and reinforced, encouraging wise choices so the rebellious path of foolish decisions, with long-term repercussions, is not embarked on (Prov 4:26, 23:19). At this time of sexual development, masturbation often commences as a release for sexual tension however, the God-given sexual desires need be handled in an honourable way.

While we have no control over our physically maturing body we are to take responsibility for our spiritual, mental and emotional development (1 Cor 13:11). At this stage of life although being subject to powerful peer pressures, the emerging adult assumes more responsibility for their character and other aspects of life as they increasingly come out from under their parents authority and forge their own path in life.

See also: adulthood, hormones, masturbation, menstruation, moods, peer pressure, self-esteem, sexuality, teenage.

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