What Are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical substances secreted into the bloodstream by endocrine glands and transported to other parts of the body where they exert particular effects.
Change in hormonal balance is one of the events in the life of the adolescent (teenager) which mark the actual beginning of puberty. Other events include skeletal growth, genital growth, pubic hair, breast development, voice change, growth spurt, menarche (onset of menstruation in girls, the first ejaculation natural emission, wet dreams in boys.)
Puberty in a relatively abrupt and qualitatively different set of physical changes that normally occur at the beginning of teen years. It is the stage of human development when the body becomes capable of reproduction.
Testosterone is a type of sex hormone associated in boys with the development of genitals, an increase in height, and a change in voice. Estradiol is also a sex hormone associated in girls with breast, uterine and skeletal development. All of these portend the capacity for reproduction through sexual activities.
What Aspects Of Teenagers Lives Do Hormones Affect the most?
We need to emphasize that the hormones in question here, are the sex hormones. Therefore, we can also title this talk “Teenage sexuality”.
As earlier said hormonal changes affects teenagers first & foremost in the area of physical development. Another aspect of teens lives affected by the sex hormones is their socio – emotional development. This is characterised by the development of a sense of identity which includes gender- role identity. It also includes the formation of their own set of values which has implications for their individualization (i.e. breaking away from childhood dependence on parents.) The adolescent is also very preoccupied with himself or herself as he or she is which makes their body image very important to them at this age. This is also linked to their attention getting behaviour as they often feel all eyes are on them, especially when they discover the slightest blemish on them.
Also, teenagers cannot do without the company of others, especially friends. Friendship and relationship are of paramount importance to the average teenager. They also have a sense of being unique. This makes them feel that no one can understand how they really feel.
It should however be noted that development is not exactly uniform in all adolescents. While some are early maturers, others are late maturers. In any case, both early and late maturing have their effects – both positive and negative, on teenagers.
The Truth About Sex and Sexuality
Sexuality is the business of being a male or female person. Sex is not sexuality, sex is not dirty. It is not man’s idea but God’s. Gen1:27 says “so God created man in his own image… male and female created he them”. Sex drive or sexual urges or feelings are not wrong. It is what you do with the feelings that could be wrong or right. 1Tim 4:4 says “Everything God created is good…”
Why should parents be interested in learning about teen hormones/sexuality?
Teenagers are adults in training. It is only an adult who can train someone else to become an adult. Parents need all the information about teenage sexuality so as:
- To be able to guide young people to understand themselves as being male or female, their physical, emotional and social development;
- To provide them information that will help them develop correct values and attitudes towards sex in other to be able to make informed decisions and cultivate healthy and responsible relationships with persons of the opposite sex.
- To guide them to adopt the sexual value of abstinence as their own; not just thrusted on them.
- A lot of young people’s involvement in sexual activities could be prevented if only parents play their part.
- The effects/consequences of premarital sex are so many and so far reaching that we cannot afford to ignore them.
- God’s standard on the issue of sex can’t be lowered. He didn’t do it for David, close as he was to God’s heart.
So what can parents do?
- Realise it is your responsibility to give teens correct information and guidance about sex rather than leave it to friends, the media or the school alone.
- Learn ways of communicating with your children/teens about sex and be available to answer their questions on the subject.
- Don’t give your children/teens the impression that sex is a dirty or secret thing.
- Learn from God’s words what sex is really about. In Gen 2:24 “One flesh” here in physical terms talks about sex, i.e. physical unity or oneness which then spreads to other areas… for better for worse.
- Teach them God’s purpose for sex i.e. procreation, mutual affect, comfort, emotional healing, fulfilment- all in a committed marriage relationship.
- Help them understand changes in their bodies as adolescents and the implication of their sexuality.
- Don’t just tell them like we were told while growing up “don’t let a boy touch you”. Explain to them.
- Boys should be sexually chaste too. God’s standard are not for girls alone
- Understand the reasons young people are getting into sex e.g. – need for acceptance & affirmation, need for intimacy, feeling unloved by parents, pressure from friends, wanting to have boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Meet these needs by being close to them (being their friends), loving them unconditionally, being available.
- Let them be free enough with you. Discuss problems they are having in this and other areas of their lives.
- Help them to know God early, to love and fear (respect) him and to always seek to please him.
- Don’t expose them to situations that will make them vulnerable e.g. leaving them with people of the opposite sex. Make them aware of their vulnerability.
- Supervise their activities as much as possible.
- Make God’s word interesting & acceptable to them.
- Remember, our children shall be taught of the lord and great shall be their peace.