It seems to most parents and adolescents that puberty is mostly about changes in the reproductive structures. That is true, but it is actually the brain that is orchestrating the maturing process.
At the beginning of puberty, the brain sends hormone messages to the ovaries for girls, and to the testicles for boys. These hormones direct the menstrual cycle that leads to ovulation of an egg each month for your daughter. Likewise, for your son, these brain hormones direct the testicles to produce testosterone. They also help with sperm production in the testicles.
The hormones that are produced in the ovaries and testicles also provide some information back to the brain to keep it informed about what is happening in the reproductive system. This hormonal feedback system is what allows the daily changes that occur in your child’s brain and reproductive system.
Puberty is the time that the brain is guiding hormone production in the ovaries and testicles. It only lasts a few years. Adolescence is a longer period of time when the brain is experiencing a rapid development that results in much of the changes you have observed in your child’s behavior. Adolescence lasts for several years.
There is a biological reason you feel the pressure and confusion of this important time in your adolescent’s life. Hold tight. They will mature and even by their late teens, they will start showing the results of what their brain has been working on for some time.
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