Got breast buds at your house? Then you’ve probably got a period headed your way in about a year.
This information is often surprising to parents – probably because we don’t remember our own breast buds particularly well and haven’t managed to figure out what the first sign of puberty is.
For girls it’s breast buds and for boys it’s testicle enlargement – how I’m going to be able to check that one out is a bit of a mystery to me – but I suspect I’ll figure it out.
With breast buds and enlarged testicles comes a certain amount of craziness. Or maybe I should say crazy-making, because once those puberty hormones kick in, so does another round of brain development.
The long and short of it is this: the prefrontal cortex, that would be the part of the brain that handles impulse control, emotional regulation, “if…then” thinking, gets pruned and tuned up.
What this means to you is some crazy-seeming behavior. Irrational outbursts, poor decision making – you were a teen – perhaps you recall this period of your life?
Here’s the poop – they can’t help it, this crazy behavior.
Here’s the other poop – you can control your behavior (in theory) so it’s your job not to match their nuttiness when they are pitching a fit. Not fair, I know, but one of our jobs as parents is to teach our kids how to behave and the best way to do this is by modeling appropriate behavior.
The reason this is on my mind is because I’m reading a great book on this topic called Primal Teen: What New Discoveries about the Teenage Brain Tell Us about Our Kids by Barbara Strauch.
It’s a delightful read and I highly recommend you read it before you have breast buds (or enlarged testicles) at your house.