During puberty, you will experience many emotional changes. These may include mood swings, irritability, tiredness, sadness, a lack of self-esteem, and so on. This happens due to the release of hormones and chemicals inside your body. A changing relationship with your parents as you grow older may also cause a certain degree of instability in your mind. During puberty, your body will release a hormone called testosterone. This hormone will help you reach reproductive maturity as you grow into an adult. However, changes in the level of this hormone may also cause mood swings and arouse sexual feelings. Don’t worry. As you grow older, some of these emotional changes will subside and iron themselves out.

Mood Swings

During puberty, you will go through sudden changes in your mood. For a moment, you will be happy and full of energy but in the next, you may feel quite down and low in energy. You may be worried about your performance in school or perhaps be disturbed by the fight you had with your best friend. Be rest assured though, that this is totally fine. Understand that you are not alone in this. Your friends are also going through the same phase. If you find yourself in difficult situations like these, talk to your teachers and parents or share your concerns with your friends. You may have an elder sibling who too has gone through these problems not too long ago. Talk to them. Meditation will also help you to calm down. Go for a walk or play in a nearby field. It will help you to positively release the excess energy brewing inside of you and will help in dealing with your mood-related issues.

Decline in Self-esteem/self-image

During your adolescent years, you will experience several changes. Ever so gradually, you will find yourself moving toward adulthood. No, this journey is not an easy one. You have to deal with your studies, peer pressure, and changing familial relationships. Due to these stressors or perhaps due to a change in your hormonal levels, you may experience a decline in your self-esteem. You may idolize an actor and try to conform to male stereotypes such as having a muscular body, being tall, fair-skinned, and feeling strong and fearless. However, this attitude of comparing yourself to others is not right. You are unique in your own way.

Furthermore, the pressure of performing well in your favorite sports activities or in examinations may affect your self-image and esteem. The key to boosting your confidence is to keep on trying without thinking about the outcome. Give your 100% and you will succeed in achieving your goals eventually.

Negative peer pressure, like being forced to smoke, which you may not approve of may also affect your self-esteem. Remember, trying to experience a novel practice because of peer pressure is wrong. So try to avoid these kinds of influences by simply refusing them. However, do not get involved in fights, and if needed, completely avoid friends who are likely to place you in a tough spot.

Changing Relationships: Friends and Family (Conflict Resolution With Family and Friends)

Conflict is a normal part of life and may escalate during your adolescence. When different people live under the same roof, conflicts are bound to occur. You will have arguments with your parents or siblings. There can be any number of reasons due to which fights may occur in your family. Just because your parents don’t approve of your thinking or beliefs, doesn’t make either of you right or wrong. No two people are equal and you must respect the other’s differences. Talk to your family calmly or if you see that the situation is going out of control, detach yourself from the conflict entirely. Take your own time and think about what can be done to resolve the conflict. Learn to let it go if things are not in your control.

You may also get involved in fights with your friends. Unresolved conflicts can lead to unnecessary tension among your peers. You may get into disagreements and feel pressured into partaking in unhealthy activities, but remember that you can talk to your friends; be honest with them, and no matter what, try to refrain from verbal as well as physical violence.

Attraction Toward Others and Sexual Feelings

During adolescence, your body experiences hormonal fluctuations and changes in the level of testosterone that will make your penis erect. This leads to sexual excitement. During physical contact, flirting with others, or while playing, you may get sexually aroused. Limit that feeling to yourself. Being attracted to someone and having these feelings is normal. You may find someone beautiful and may want to express your feelings. Expressing your feelings is not the problem, but bear in mind, that imposing them on others is wrong. Do not force someone to like you and establish a relationship when the sentiment is not mutual. Also, remember that your body has just started to develop its sexual organs and it will take a while until you can cultivate a responsible sexual relationship with anyone. Wait until you understand yourself better before engaging in sexual activity with others.

Consent and Respectful Behavior Around Girls and Others (Bullying, Eve-teasing, Name-calling, Verbal and Physical Abuse)

While playing, talking, or during any class activity, you may experience physical contact with someone. That is alright. If needed, a simple apology is an appropriate response to demonstrate that you are a caring human being. However, establishing physical contact forcefully or intentionally to express your sexual feelings is absolutely unacceptable. Do not use slang/abusive language to portray yourself as a strong man. Do not bully someone just because you are stronger or are in a supposedly superior position (for instance, you may be the class captain). Do not engage in eve-teasing or make inappropriate sexual comments. Do not threaten anyone. It shows that you don’t respect people and don’t care about their feelings. Do not take girls for granted. Respect them and you will have a beautiful friendship with them. If you get involved in arguments with someone, refrain from using abusive language and never get yourself into physically violent situations if you can help it.

Masturbation (Good or Bad)

As a teenager, you become curious about the changes in your body and masturbation is a normal part of this process of self-awareness. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, teenage masturbation is a normal activity and a natural extension of a child’s exploration of their body. Remember though, not to get obsessed with it. If your daily activities and studies are on track, there is nothing to worry about, but if you feel distracted all the time because of sexual feelings or get too involved in pornography, then talk to your parents or an adult whom you can trust. Also, you can consult a psychologist if you need professional help.
Author: Gyanam Saikia
Illustrator: Priyanka Tampi