Everybody has them. They often control the inner flow of our bodily functions. There are everyday hormones, growth hormones, and sex hormones. Hormones also contribute to the seasons of our lives. Coming of age, teenage hormones often get a bad rap. In fact, adolescent growth and sex hormones are awesome! They pave the way to adulthood. They usher in the developmental life stage of creating an individual identity.
For girls, the obvious hormone invasion is menarche, that magical moment when menstrual flow begins and physically a girl becomes a woman. For boys, the event is more gradual, cracking of the voice as it deepens, beard and other hair growth. Hormones are also about attitude. Getting cocky, sassy, challenging authority, finding and testing boundaries.
The other life stage that is hormone-laden is menopause, in the 45-55 age range for women. The best cognitive reframe I've heard for the hot flashes women experience in menopause is describing them as "power surges." Male menopause doesn't have the obvious flag, but nonetheless is characterized by industry, expansiveness, finding life meaning. This can result in dramatic directional changes in career, relationship, and values.
When adolescent hormones and adult mid-life hormones are all in the mix in a family, hold on. In Chapter Six of Teachable Moments: Building Blocks of Christian Parenting, I explain how hormones will wreak havoc in families. The answer, however, is not to avoid them. Rather, try embracing them. Plan for them. Talk about all the changes. Use active listening to understand the feelings behind the actions and respond in ways that respect boundaries and enhance the family experience. Hormones. Ugh! but they don't have to be.
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