Puberty and the period of adolescence that follows it mark what are probably the most awkward of our developmental transitions. It’s a time we remember most vividly, and sometimes cringe about years later. As well as the raging hormones, growth spurts and other physical changes, adolescents also need to navigate a bumpy social landscape where peer pressure reigns supreme.
Adolescence is when we start to work out who we are as we muddle our way through to adulthood. But for some, it’s a time when we can lose our way, sometimes with consequences that stay with us for many years, or even the rest of our lives.
What is it that makes puberty so disruptive? What’s going on biologically and emotionally when puberty hits early? And what are the consequences for well-being — both during adolescence and into the future?