Teenagehood looks different for every child, you probably experienced it yourself while you were growing up.
Some of your friends would have started hitting puberty before leaving middle school while others might not have started developing until the end of high school.
Because of how different puberty and teenage hormones can be depending on the child, it can be hard to narrow down which age is the worst for teenage girls. But it does tend to be the first few years of puberty, typically experienced at age 14.
Today, we are going to look at while that might be the case.
Emotions Are Heightened
Teenagers, particularly teenage girls, have a reputation for being stroppy, emotional, and suffering from mood swings.
The evidence shows that (NIH, 2007), not only do teenage girls experience their emotions more intensely, but they also are less able to separate their emotions from their thinking than we adults are.
A good example of this is the stress of having an argument with a good friend. Not only is the heartbreak more intense for the teenager, but they are less able to rationalize why that argument may have happened.
Because of the intensity of their emotions, they cannot always see reason.
Punishment Doesn’t Work
The same study found that teenagers also respond incredibly badly to punishment-based discipline systems.
The part of the brain that is responsible for conceiving long-term consequences doesn’t work as well. Therefore because punishments were only temporary, they didn’t respond well to them.
The study showed, however, that teenagers excelled when the discipline system was based around rewards. This is an approach that should be taken at school as well as at home. Preferably working in tandem if there are issues.
You may find agreeing on a system with their teachers at school yields great results for everyone involved.
Hormones Affect Skin
Most teenagers are concerned about their image, especially when they are spending all day at school around people they may have a crush on or bullies.
Sadly, the hormone changes caused by puberty can make young women sensitive about their appearance.
As well as experiencing their hips and breasts changing shape (sometimes painfully), hormones can also cause them to put on weight unexpectedly and many young people develop hormonal acne.
This can appear on many different areas of the body, not just the face.
These changes can make young women feel bad about themselves and their appearance.
Their Bodies Are Changing And Periods Begin
When you are not going through it yourself, it is hard to remember how much the body changes when you are going through puberty.
The changes that puberty causes are a lot more intense for young girls. Their breasts start to develop, their hips start to widen, and their whole reproductive system starts to work differently.
On top of all of this, they start getting their periods for the first time. Many find this embarrassing and the learning curve is quite steep and not taught in school. But periods are incredibly painful.
Most women experience cramps, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and exhaustion from their first period to their last.
They Feel Embarrassment More
Do you feel like everything you do embarrasses your teens?
Well, it turns out that is probably true but it’s not your fault. Instead, this is happening because the teenage brain is more sensitive and vulnerable to embarrassment.
A study (Harvard, 2013) showed that the part of the brain responsible for self-reflection and embarrassment – the medial prefrontal cortex – is far more active in teenagers than it is in any other age group.
It is so active, that the study noticed teens were far more likely to sweat when they were the center of attention.
Peer Pressure In School
You may find yourself wondering why your teenagers do stupid things just because their friends do them. Well, it turns out there is a chemical explanation for that too.
Teenage girls are more vulnerable to risk-taking when in group settings.
Studies have shown repeatedly that when in a group, teens are twice as likely to take risks and very unlikely to think about the consequences their actions will have on themselves, their friends, and themselves.
Studies done on mice show that when pushed to by the group, “teenagers” were more likely to binge drink alcohol. Who comes up with these experiments..?
Creativity Is High, But Long-Term Reasoning Is Not
Teenagers have the most amazing brains, at the age of 14, this is the perfect time for them to be learning new skills.
There is no better time for teenage girls to embrace their passions and deepen their knowledge on those topics. This is something you should try to encourage.
Why learning is super easy for teenage girls, adding a wider context to the knowledge they are learning or grasping the reasoning behind why they should be learning can be difficult.
If they can’t see an instant or direct benefit of learning a topic, then they may be reluctant to learn.
Finally, let’s talk about how social media is affecting teenage girls.
Being a teenager was bad enough before social media was invented. Studies done by both META and independent bodies have shown that social media is destroying the mental health of our young people.
They are becoming less and less able to tell the difference between someone’s real life and the life they show on social media. This leads to many young people feeling like they aren’t good enough, interesting enough, or pretty enough.
While there is little that parents can do to stop their kids from using social media, it is worth talking to your teens about the dangers and its ability to distort reality.
Many teenage girls have a hard time throughout their teenage years, but for many, the worst year can be 14.
This is when the troubles of growing up meet the troubles of changes inside their body and combine to make life much more difficult.
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