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Puberty is a significant period of change and transition from childhood to adulthood. It is a process driven by hormonal changes that lead to physical and emotional maturation, ultimately allowing an individual to reproduce. This period is characterized by an increased awareness of oneself and the formation of identity. 

In girls, puberty typically begins between the ages of 10 and 11, marked by the development of pubic hair. Growth rate increases rapidly, peaking at around 12 years of age. The first menstrual period, or menarche, typically occurs around the age of 13, approximately 2.3 years after the onset of breast development, and roughly 1 year after peak growth rate. Girls typically reach 95% of their final height by the time of their first period. The pelvis continues to grow and shape in a feminine direction during this time, and subcutaneous fat increases with a typically female distribution. Ovulation occurs in approximately 40-45% of girls in the first year after their first period, and 25% in the second year.

In boys, puberty begins with an increase in the size of the testicles, typically starting shortly after the age of 12. Pubic hair appears shortly thereafter, and the growth spurt begins later than in girls. The age of peak growth for boys is typically between 13 and 14 years. Voice mutation occurs around age 14, and beard growth usually begins after the age of 15. A deeper voice signals a slowing of growth.

Precocious puberty occurs when any manifestation of puberty occurs more than 2.5 standard deviations earlier than the mean value of the population norm. This is typically defined as before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys. Delayed puberty is defined as the onset of secondary sexual characteristics after age 13 in girls (with first menstruation after age 16) or after age 14 in boys.

According to Erikson, adolescence is a period of searching for personal and social identity. Adolescents often experience emotional instability due to hormonal activity, and engage in experimentation with sexuality, social norms, and addictive substances. They may also prefer intense experiences such as loud music or fast driving. Adolescents are seeking independence in decision-making, but may still rely heavily on parents in the social sphere.

But I would like to quote Mark Eben, who described the "purpose" of puberty most beautifully: 

"Perhaps puberty is one of the tools that nature takes care of the human race so that it does not become extinct. Because a person would probably never willingly leave the safety of his own family, where he is cared for by loving parents, and parents would find it hard to accept that the adorable and the problem-free child suddenly leaves. But then comes the redemptive puberty, and the adorable child becomes an insufferable individual who despises his parents, their music, their clothes, their lifestyle, so that in the end, when he slams the door and leaves, the parents somehow survive .
And what's interesting is that right outside, that unbearable individual is waiting for another unbearable individual, but of the opposite sex, who also slammed a door somewhere a while ago, and the two unbearable people will feel such an incredible affection for each other that they will connect their lives and become the wonderful loving parents, from whom no child would leave, if not for puberty. I think it's very reasonable, and what nature does, it does well

Image by Rachel Forrez

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PhDr. Marja Volemanová, PhD.

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