At what age do I stop growing up?

Puberty: When the head and body grow up

It is there all of a sudden, turns your head and makes the stress at home and at school grow just as much as the beard and bosom - puberty. Read everything about the craziest phase of life

It sounds quite harmless in the biology book:

"Puberty," it says, "is a developmental phase in which the genital organs develop further until sexual maturity occurs. Puberty normally takes place between the ages of 10 and 17." But in real life, there is puberty ...

"... really exhausting. You are extremely bitchy. With every little thing, I'm immediately on 180." Karina (14)

"I don't feel like always listening to what others say. I just want to find out for myself what is best for me." Florence (14)

"Everything grows. Maybe that alone makes you feel more grown up." Jonas (15)

Emotional chaos, anger with parents or at school and a body that is somehow falling apart: puberty, that much is certain, turns body and soul into major construction sites. In no other phase of life does a person change as quickly and as much as in puberty. How does this happen?

The starting signal for puberty is given by the hypothalamus

The hypothalamus, a part of the brain the size of a thumbnail, commands the pituitary gland, a neighboring gland, to release hormones. These messenger substances whiz through the whole body via the bloodstream and signal the muscle or bone cells one thing above all else: "Multiply!" Between the ages of twelve and 14, girls and boys shoot up to ten centimeters - every year. And gain up to eight kilos of body weight in the process. This pleases some more and others less:

"It wasn't really that important to me in the past. But now I have a lot more problems with my figure, I'm more dissatisfied with myself." Alisa (15)

"I think it's good to grow. I've already seen that with my big brother. So there were no surprises." Niklas (15)

Not just arms and legs - the larynx also enlarges in boys, and so suddenly their voice goes crazy: it tilts and scratches, changes its pitch as it pleases. And then the hair: it sprouts in both sexes under the armpits and between the legs, in the pubic area. The boys also have a delicate fluff growing over their upper lip: their first beard. Eventually the body moves one step further from childhood.

"I was happy about it when I had my period for the first time because you just realize that you are really becoming a woman now." Lotta (14)

"I had my first ejaculation, and then my father approached me about it. That was not a problem for me." Jonas (15)

This is how the body changes in boys

Between the ages of twelve and 16, body size 1 increases by up to ten centimeters per year. The number of muscle cells doubles - shoulders and chest 2 become visibly wider. At the same time, male sex hormones such as testosterone allow testicles and penis 3 to grow. Boys now have their first ejaculation. At around 15 years of age, the testosterone initiates the voice break: the larynx and vocal cords grow, the voice 4 becomes deeper. The pubic and body hair 5 sprout: not until the crotch, about two years later under the arms, but also on the chest, on the arms and legs. The beard 6 initially only grows above the upper lip, followed by the chin, neck and cheeks.

This is how the body changes in girls

Between the ages of ten and 14, girls gain up to nine centimeters in height 1 per year. Additional fat on the stomach, hips and thighs ensures the typically feminine curves. From the age of eleven, estrogens - female sex hormones - tell breast 2 to grow. The same applies to the genital organs: the vagina 3 enlarges, the uterine lining is formed. If a girl's body is big enough to carry a child, the first ovulation and the first menstrual period follow. Most of the time this happens between the ages of twelve and 14. The first pubic and body hairs sprout a little earlier 4.

With sexual maturity, a previously unknown tingling sensation creeps into the stomach.

"It used to be: 'Iiiihhh, boys!‘ And now there is a lot more attraction. You look for the opposite sex and you want a real relationship. " Lotta (14)

Boys hang around together and girls on the phone for hours until their ears are warm and their brains are all confused because of all the questions: What connects you with the person on the other end of the line? Just crush or actually first love? And when are you ready for the big step: the first time?

"With me that would only be possible after a long time in the relationship. And I have to be able to trust my partner. Not that he runs to his friends and says how it was." Lotta (14)

"I tried to explain to my mother that I plan to have sex soon. And she said I was way too young for that." Niklas (15)

The first time

For the “first time” there is no magic formula, no right or wrong. What matters is that you don't do anything against your own will or that of the other. Do not put your partner and especially yourself under pressure. Some want to sleep in a relationship with the other after a short time, some take a while.

If you decide to take the big step, make sure you have a pleasant atmosphere. Because if the parents could burst in at any moment or the cell phone keeps ringing, nobody can really let go. Foreplay is also important: With tender kisses and caresses all over your body, you increase your sexual arousal. In girls, the vagina becomes moist, in boys the penis becomes stiff.

Despite all the excitement and the many new experiences, don't forget to use contraception - with a condom or the pill. It is best to talk to your parents about it beforehand. Because, of course, girls can also get pregnant during their first sex. Some people feel pain when the penis enters the vagina, others feel almost no pain. Boys often ejaculate quickly the first time. Nobody has to be ashamed of it. After all, other things that you have never tried before do not work out perfectly right away. It is: the first time.

"You often overreact. Small things suddenly make you so mad that you act totally stupid." Jonas (15)

"And if anyone thinks they have to give orders, then you immediately refuse. You don't want to accept that on principle." Lotta (14)

Do not allow yourself to be dictated to anything: Many may find it difficult to do this, but often they cannot do otherwise. Because only when they quarrel with their parents and break away from their views can they find their own.

"Sure, you try extreme things. There are people who only walk around in black with rivets. They want to provoke. Especially when parents don't like them wearing such clothes." Paul (14)

There is a good reason for this sudden change of heart and the 1000 thoughts: the brain is also being thoroughly rebuilt. The work in the part of the thinking apparatus that allows us to act sensibly takes a particularly long time. This "prefrontal cortex", directly behind the forehead, is practically blocked. All information has to be redirected - to the so-called almond kernel of all places. This is the area of ​​the brain that controls gut decisions, i.e. rash reactions. And which ultimately also ensures that there are more and more cracks during puberty.

Chaos in the head! Why the brain goes crazy

The brain resembles a big building site during puberty. Little-used nerve connections are cut, and important connections to "information highways" are expanded. In this way, the brain completely rearranges itself, becomes more efficient and faster. The prefrontal cortex 1 lets us act sensibly and deliberately - actually. Not so in puberty: the renovation work takes the longest there, and all information must take the diversion via the almond kernel 2. It controls gut decisions - and ensures that you explode during puberty over every little thing.

Others need an even bigger kick: take a bike down a flight of stairs or drink enough beer until they see twice at some point. The brains of boys and girls no longer perceive feelings and experiences as strongly during puberty as they did in childhood. Back then, jumping off the three-meter board was enough to make you feel brave, now the demands are higher and the willingness to take real risks is increasing. In no other phase of life are there more accidents than in puberty.