Our whole life represents a constant changeWe find new opportunities, we learn lessons, we gain knowledge, we lose interest in old things and we grow.
Every day we grow a little more, all thanks to the experiences we have, and why? Because it is according to our experiences that we perceive and make sense of our surroundings, both positively and negatively.
However, a factor that also affects this is what happens within ourselves, what do we mean by that? To the internal changes that occur with age that affect us physically, mentally and emotionally. These changes help us to shape our personality and belief system to become whole people in the near future.
- You may be interested in: “The 8 types of character a person can have”.
These changes occur mostly during the stage of adolescence.These changes occur mostly during adolescence, because in this stage a series of triggers occur that can overwhelm young people if they do not have a firm guide. Therefore, in this article we present the differences that occur during adolescence in women and men.
What is adolescence?
It is a natural period that occurs in the life of every person, which comprises significant changes in the psychological, emotional and physical spheres that mark the end of childhood and the transition to adulthood.
These changes in turn serve to begin to shape the belief system and the perception of the world of people, which begins to distance itself from what has been learned at home, through questioning, analysis and experiential interpretations that result in an adaptation to the birth of one’s own opinions.
This occurs just during puberty and consists of 3 phases: early adolescence, middle adolescence and late adolescence.In these phases, important transformations occur in the young person’s life, which will also lead to the discovery of his or her own identity, personal abilities, passions in life, autonomy and the awakening of his or her sexual world.
Stages of adolescence
There are two phases or stages in adolescence, which mark the beginning and the end of adolescence, between the ages of 10 and 13. Find out below what they are and what characteristics they comprise.
It is the main stage or phase of adolescence, it can be easily recognized because it begins right during puberty, that is, when the person reaches his or her reproductive capacity. However, there are cases, especially in women, where the first menstruation takes place in the late teenage years.
1.1. Body changes
It is the most drastic and observable change during this stage, boys begin to grow in height, while girls perceive changes in their bodies and may have their first menstruation. Also, pubic hair begins to grow, acne appears on the face and body odor increases.
1.2. Need for privacy
Due to these changes, people begin to realize that they are leaving the infantile stage behind and an overwhelming need for privacy, independence and autonomy awakens in them. Therefore, limits must be established.
1.3. Confusion and sexual curiosity
At this stage, sexual interest begins to awaken in young people, so it is normal that they perform self-exploration practices or seek to satisfy their attractions for the opposite sex or, on the contrary, they are interested in people of the same sex. However, they may also be confused about their own sexual identity, due to nonconformities, insecurities or discomfort with their own figure.
1.4. Radical ideas
The mixture of sexual awakening, bodily changes and the need for independence can cause oppositionist or ‘rebellious’ attitudes in young people. As a result, they enter into constant arguments with parents and authority figures to impose their own opinions.
2. Middle adolescence
In this phase the changes that have been triggered in early adolescence begin to settle down but do not end, the ages in this phase are from 14 to 17 years old.
2.1. Physical changes follow
Some women do not experience their first menstruation until this phase, where they continue to observe changes in their bodies such as breast growth and widening of the hips or hormonal problems. Men begin to gain muscle mass and height, as well as a darker tone in their voice.
2.2. Romantic interest
Sexual desire and curiosity for satisfaction are still present, but these begin to be eclipsed by the romantic interest that arises in young people, which affects the way they relate intimately in the future. Beginning with the attraction of people of the opposite sex or of the same sex (although this may still be in the discovery and acceptance stage).
2.3. Responsibility vs. rebelliousness
Discussions continue with authority figures for imposing their own opinions and for claiming their independence, but at the same time conflicts begin to arise with academic responsibilities and school performance, for doing so at the young people’s own pace.
2.4. Social pressure
Interpersonal relationships are very important and significant during adolescence, friends become siblings and accomplices, with whom incredible experiences are lived. But there is also the social pressure to fit in and be accepted by a specific group or by the rest of the people.
3. Late adolescence
This is the last period of adolescence and the beginning of young adulthood. Although there are discussions about the time it lasts from 18 to 21 or even 25 years of age.
3.1. Completion of physical changes
The physical changes settle at 21 years of age, the full size and the complete aesthetic figure is already reached. Although now the care that must be taken to maintain adequate physical health begins.
3.2. Emotional tranquility
It is during the stage of late adolescence that one’s own opinions and perception of the world are finally established. Personal tastes are consolidated and emotional conflicts begin to be balanced, especially those related to self-esteem, self-confidence and adaptability.
3.3. Interest in personal growth
Young people become interested in their professional future and their role in the world, so they begin to be vocationally oriented towards a university career or a working profession. They even place it above other personal interests and adapt their lifestyles to it.
3.4. Stable relationships
Another characteristic at this stage is that young people begin to look for more stable and lasting love relationships, with someone they can grow together in the future. Or on the other hand, a person who shares their same beliefs about relationships and seeks their satisfaction.
Differences between men and women in adolescence.
You’ve already known a bit about the general changes that occur during the adolescent phases but…. what particular characteristics differentiate boys and girls during this stage of life? Find out below.
This is perhaps the most notable difference between males and females during the three phases of adolescence.
While women observe changes in body shape, in terms of widening of the hips, increase in breast size, thickening of the thighs and arms or other changes that are directly related to the female figure. But this change is also directly related to the preparation for fertilization in adulthood.
On the other hand, men experience a “growth spurt”, i.e. they gain height even suddenly. They may even gain muscle mass that they can shape by exercising, they have an increased appetite, where they may eat up to double portions. This is because men at this stage can burn calories quickly, thanks to their increased metabolism.
2. Emotional maturation
According to studies, men have an emotional maturation delay of two years compared to women. Therefore, it is normal for girls during adolescence to be more calm, focused and empathetic. While men are more impulsive, relaxed and reserved.
This is because the male brain is not fully developed, not because of a malformation but because it seems to take longer. On the contrary, the female brain settles and adapts to the environment more quickly.
This is why boys during adolescence may seem distant or arrogant, only interested in themselves and in satisfying their own needs. Whereas girls are more sensitive and expressive, seek to help others and have more stable relationships. Of course, this is not a fixed law, since emotional development can be worked on during childhood through parental guidance.
3. Particular interests
It is perhaps another notable gap between women and men during adolescence, since boys are interested in more active, dynamic activities that test them and fill them with confidence. But girls seem to be more focused on friendships, self-care and education.
This is because, during adolescence, males have testosterone release releases and adrenaline secretion in higher amounts. This makes them go in search of risky situations to enjoy the energy experienced during risk.
On the other hand, women tend to be more emotional both because of their brain development and the incidence of female hormones during this stage. These have a more sensitive effect on them and they are more inclined towards activities that reinforce their confidence and performance.
4. Obedience vs. rebelliousness
Who do you think is more rebellious, boys or girls? It is generally believed that boys have a higher rate of rebellious acts against authority figures and the system to which they are exposed. However, females also have a significant participation in these rebellious acts, only they seem to be a bit more discreet in their field of action.
Although, these rebellious tendencies do not usually last for long, as it is only a way for adolescents to express their desire for expression and independence. They seek to have their voices heard and, above all, respected. Once they find that place, they come to an agreement with their environment (social, family and academic) and get their way in following the rules.
5. Expression and communication
There are studies that show that women during adolescence tend to communicate better than men, both in the field of oratory and in the expression of their feelings.
This is because girls have a better understanding of nonverbal language, finding the right moment to express themselves and putting together a good speech in their mind. Elements that men do not yet fully develop at this stage, so they can look a little clumsy or slow, which frustrates them.
This is why it is important to teach emotional expression and communication from childhood, so that the change during adolescence is not so abrupt or unpleasant.
6. Hormonal effects
Both men and women suffer from hormonal changes, due to the awakening of male and female hormones in the body. Which act to shape the body and finish constituting them internally. Therefore, it can be said that it is thanks to these hormones that women are women and men are men.
6.1. Female hormones
Estrogen and progesterone take over during puberty and all phases of adolescence. They are responsible for all the physical changes in women, emotional sensitivity, feminine character, sexual libido, metabolism and mood changes that manifest during the menstrual cycle. Although there are women who do not experience their influence in such a marked way, for example, they do not suffer from mood changes during menstruation or their bodies are not defined with such voluptuousness.
6.2. Male hormones
The male hormone par excellence is testosterone and, as in women, these are responsible for the changes experienced by men in adolescence, such as sexual awakening, increased muscle tone, the appearance of facial hair, darkening of the voice, increased metabolism and a taste for risky behavior. Similarly, there are men who do not experience such exact changes, for example, the growth spurt is not as high or they do not have facial hair.
As you could see, adolescence is a delicate stage of great transformations, so it is advisable to always provide support to young people, even if it is in a distant and silent way. Setting limits, listening to them, respecting them and serving as a guide.