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Do You Have Growing Pains?
People seldom have the muscular aches and pains nowadays that used to be known as growing pains. It is claimed by some that they were caused by nutritional deficiencies and not by rapid growth at all. Ever since you took your first tumbles learning to walk, however, you have been having another type of “growing pains,” and no one yet has discovered the “vitamin” guaranteed to prevent them.
During each period of your life you have had to do a great deal of growing to be ready for the responsibilities and privileges of the next stage. During infancy you had to learn to walk, to talk, to feed yourself, put your clothes on, take care of some of your own needs, and adjust to the routines and requirements of society. During childhood, you had to master the other arts of communication, reading and writing. Your own little world of home and neighborhood expanded rapidly as you began to learn some things about the entire earth and its inhabitants. You also got a good start in learning how to satisfy your own requirements and desires and at the same time get along without too much interference and friction with others.
All your life you have probably been looking forward to being more grown up, and you have seen only the advantages of the period ahead, and yet as the years have gone by and you have become older, you have learned that at each age there were also adjustments to be made that were often difficult and sometimes rather painful.
There are some quite universal ones that go along with your teen years and you can understand them better if you first think a little about what “growing” you are to do during these years. Most of you are about as tall and large physically as you will be as adults. In what other ways will you grow?
If you look ahead you will realize that in a few years you will reach an age that is recognized legally as meaning being grown up. In the eyes of the law, you will be old enough to act on your own decisions, to hold property, to vote, to marry, and all of the other things that go with adulthood. A little later your generation will begin to replace your parents and older brothers and sisters in positions of responsibility in community life and business. In a few years many of you will be ready to marry and establish homes of your own, and you should then be prepared to give to your children the same kind of loving care and careful guidance that has been yours in your parents’ homes. Up until now, someone else has been responsible for you. Your parents have provided for your needs and made many of the decisions concerning your life, for you. What growth must you now make in the next few years to e ready for those responsibilities and the opportunities of adulthood?
Here are five ways you will need to grow:
1. Attain physical maturity.
2. Learn to understand and feel congenial with members of the opposite sex and to participate successfully in the social relationships of your age group.
3. Make decisions about and begin preparation for your vocational life.
4. Develop some emotional independence from home and parents in order to be able to leave home for school, work, or marriage.
5. Develop your own personal codes and standards as a guide for making decisions. Develop ability and willingness to take the responsibility for and the consequences of your own behavior.
Now it will help to look at these one at a time and see some of the problems involved in each.
What Physical Growth Takes Place During Adolescent Years?
While you may add or lose some weight and your figure will change somewhat as you acquire more maturity, your general structural growth, size and length of bones, and height, is usually completed during your teens. Your body loses the slim, straight lines of childhood and acquires the contours of womanhood. The reproductive system develops, and your body must adjust to new functions and the influences of new glandular secretions.
This physical growth and the essentially feminine qualities that naturally develop as a result of it add so much in charm and attractiveness to your personality that it is out of wholehearted admiration that adults so often use the phrase, “blossoming into womanhood” in reference to you.
But there is the other side of the picture, too. Here are just a few of the “problems.”
Marilyn had been an outstanding student all through junior high school and had been able to get her lessons and still have time for enough piano practice to develop outstanding ability. she was often asked to play on programs at school, in her own ward, and other wards. In addition, she often played the accompaniment for her mother’s singing on programs. She was a popular girl, always willing to do her share, and was frequently chosen for leadership positions.
During her sophomore year her school work began to slump, and the teachers, who couldn’t understand it, tried to appeal to her on the basis of her former record. She was unhappy about her low marks and began to worry a great deal about her work. She became nervous and irritable, grouchy around home, and even her friends began to talk about how sensitive she was. Her young brother complained that no one could live with her any more.
Do you recognize this growing pain? Have you ever had any of the symptoms? Was Marilyn’s “personality” at fault?
All Marilyn needed was more rest, to keep up with the demands of her growing body and extremely busy and active life. How to get it with everyone wanting her to do things and creating pressure on her was a problem large enough to need the cooperation of parents and teachers and friends, but she also must recognize the need in order to help herself.
Still another kind of growing pain may grow out of conflict between nutritional needs and social desires.
It seemed to Joyce that every bite of sweet she ever ate added to her weight. If she ever indulged in a milkshake with the crowd, she thought she had to pass up her mother’s tempting desserts for a week.
Anne’s mother was always scolding her about not eating enough. “You can’t leave this house without some breakfast. You’re skin and bones now, and then you talk about dieting. Whatever is the matter with girls these days that they want to look like walking skeletons?”
Adjusting to a New Type of Social Relationship with Boys
You have had some quite uncomplimentary opinions about the boys you have known and expressed them freely enough, but you are growing up, and so are they. You have more interests in common now.
Some girls begin dating much earlier than others, but for most girls there is a period of several years when dating is just for fun and to broaden one’s acquaintance and understanding of boys, with no thought of marriage.
Most girls adjust very well to dating and learn to make friendships with boys as naturally and easily as they have done with girls. But for some girls this area of growth is quite painful.
One of the minor kinds of growing pain connected with this is the teasing most girls have to endure. Especially if you have been very emphatic in your criticism of boys and then suddenly begin broadcasting your interest in them in public, you can expect to be told about it. But even if you are quite discreet you’re apt to have a few embarrassing experiences such as having the neighbor youngsters start up a chant of “Sally’s in love” the very first time a boy you want to impress carries your books home from school for you.
Learn to take teasing with good grace. Although it is sometimes unkind, it usually is meant only in fun, and the more violently you react the more fun it becomes for the other person. Be careful that you don’t give people too much to talk about, and then there can’t be anything said which will be very harmful to you.
Most girls have a few painful moments of another kind – embarrassment over their own blunders, over doing or saying the wrong things at the wrong time.
Find out all you can about the correct etiquette for the social situations you are apt to meet, and then learn from your experience and you won’t have too much to regret.
The really serious growing pains in this area – the kind from which girls may never recover – are developed by those who don’t learn how to take dating in their stride and keep it in its proper place int heir lives. They let their first experience with it throw them completely off balance. Some girls who were sweet, who had high standards and ideals, who were good students, who had every qualification for a promising future have “met their waterloo” in their own inability to make a good adjustment to dating. In a very short time some girls have ruined their reputations and their chances for a really good marriage by their own behavior.
The girl who is growing up well in this regard soon realizes that dating is important but it is still only one of many important phases of living. She decides what fraction of her time she can spare for dating without sacrificing other values. She may have some disagreement with her parents but doesn’t have any serious conflict because she wants their help and affection. She soon develops judgment about the character and personality of boys and chooses her friends on this basis instead of superficial advantages such as looks, clothes, car, or money.
The girl who doesn’t grow up as quickly as is desirable in her dating relationships but gets stuck too long on a very immature level may be recognized by any of the following symptoms. She may let dating be the most important or maybe even the only important interest in her life. She wants to go out every chance she gets regardless of whether she gets the rest she needs or is able to keep up with her studies. She is less discriminating in her choice of boy friends. Most any boy will do and she defensively labels as narrow-minded or intolerant anyone who criticizes her date. Her judgment about character and behavior fails to develop. Her former standards lose their importance to her, and she makes her choices in terms of what would be fun or adventurous or would please her friends right now. Her parents have more reason to be worried than parents of a more mature girl and so may try harder to control her. Because of her immaturity she will make more of an issue of her right to independence than the girl who shows she is growing up and so doesn’t have to declare it. She is apt to resist any restrictions more resentfully. So instead of an occasional difference of opinion there may be bitter quarreling with her parents.
It’s easy to see where an unsuccessful adjustment to dating can lead, so every girl does need to understand the problem and do whatever she can to get off to a good start in this phase of growing up.
What Preparation Are You Planning for Your Vocational Life?
This problem has different implications for boys, since they are expected to provide the economic support for a family. For the great majority of girls, their vocation throughout most of their lives will be homemaking. But to be an efficient homemaker requires some preparation.
It is true that modern equipment and labor-saving devices, packaged foods and ready-made clothes, all contribute to making some aspects of the homemaker’s job easier, but at the same time the complexities of modern life make successful management and child guidance more of a challenge.
Don’t think that homemaking skills are no longer important or that they can all be acquired after marriage. The happiness in any family is still closely related to them other’s efficiency and managerial ability. So it is a good idea to take advantage of whatever opportunities you have at school or through 4H and other club programs, and do some practicing at home to increase your homemaking skills and abilities.
It is an asset for any girl to acquire, in addition, some wage-earning ability and to have some experience working at a job.
Debbie has worked in a store for two summers now, and she feels that if she is old enough to earn money, she certainly has a right to spend it as she pleases. Because she has made some purchases her parents think were very foolish, they feel they should give her some direction, and they are urging her to save more of her salary to go to college.
Elaine’s father thinks she should take more responsibility in the home. He says that it would be good training for her as well as relieve her mother. He suggests that they increase her allowance, conditional on her taking over specific duties. She doesn’t think the things suggested are very inspiring or that she needs any more training in washing dishes, dusting, and such, and she also claims that she would have to give up any fun or social life because this would take so much of her time.
Questions such as an allowance or not, and, if so, how much; whether or not you should make some financial contribution out of your earnings; what and how much of the housework you should do, may cause you some growing pains. Satisfactory answers have to be found in each family in terms of circumstances. But if you want to prove to your parents that you are growing up, be sure you act your age in matters of responsibility about work and money management.
Growing Up in Emotional Independence
This process started when you first left your home for part of the day at a time to play in the neighborhood or attend school. It means learning to get enough satisfaction out of other relationships that you won’t feel too lonesome and lost when you are away from your own family, particularly your parents.
This does not mean any decrease in affection or the breaking of the close personal relationships and emotional bonds that have developed in your home through the years. On the contrary, in the years ahead as you have similar experiences and acquire more maturity, your love and appreciation of your parents and family is apt to increase.
An interesting fact that has been discovered through studies of successful marriages is that the stronger the home ties and the greater the affection you feel for your parents, the better your chances are for a happy marriage and a happy home of your own. this affection, however, must not require that you actually stay near the people you love all of the time.
It is the way of this world that young birds must eventually leave the nest, and if the break comes too suddenly without some gradual weaning, you may suffer so greatly from homesickness that you may feel that all of the supports have suddenly been taken from under you.
Marcia had planned for years to go to college, but she quit after the second quarter and went home. She was miserably homesick and unable to adjust to the new situation. She couldn’t do well in her studies. She couldn’t make new friends, and she felt entirely lost without her mothers’ help in making her decisions.
it is a good idea to go away from home now and then for a visit to test your ability to get along. if you go a ay for longer periods for work or school, your parents are wise in their desire to arrange for you to live where there are capable and willing people to substitute for them somewhat in looking after you and giving you the help and understanding and encouragement you may need at times.
A few growing pains in this area now will probably save you greater aches later.
What do you think it means to take the responsibility for your own actions and accept the consequences of your own decisions?
It’s one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world for you to make an important decision for yourself and have it turn out well, but one kind of growing pain is caused by having to take the consequences of a wrong decision. You are fortunate if the little ones you have of this type serve as warning so you never have to have really bad ones.
Kathy tried to be patient about explaining to her mother that galoshes just simply didn’t go with a formal dress and party slippers, no matter how wet and cold it was. A few nights later when Kathy was very miserable with a cold, it was comforting but embarrassing to have her mother fix her hot lemonade and tuck her into bed as lovingly as if she hadn’t warned her. She still had to miss two days of school and some very special things.
You might still be very willing to accept the advice and abide by the decisions of your parents or teachers but you are growing up and they can’t be with you always. It isn’t a good idea to be too dependent on the opinions of your friends as a substitute either, for sometimes people with very poor judgment will try to influence you.
No matter what we read or have been told, it is only what we ourselves accept and make part of us that guides our actions when we are on our own.
So you do need to be sure you have a sound philosophy and set of standards to guide you as you insist on the privilege of making more and more decisions for yourself.
What are some of the other responsibilities you are now assuming for yourself?
Have you had experience in managing some money of your own and making it cover certain of your needs? Do you select your own clothes? Do you take the responsibility for waking and getting up in time to get to school or do you have to be called? Do you keep your own clothes in repair and take care of your own room or the room you share? Do you feel that since you share your whole house, some of the upkeep really should be your responsibility?
Your Increasing Desire for Independence is Apt to Create Some Friction Between You and Adults,
Especially Your Parents. This will Be Less Painful if You Understand It.
The urge to grow is strong in every living thing. Of course you want to grow up, and it is natural to resent restraint that you feel interferes or gets in your way,. On the other hand, you like to cling to the comfort and security you have felt throughout your childhood. Sometimes you act more grown-up than on other occasions. Sometimes you feel more grown-up than at other times. That is natural. It isn’t surprising either that sometimes the ways in which you feel most grown-up, and the issues you feel most capable of deciding are not the ones your parents feel you are ready to decide.
Your parents are willing to turn the reins over to you, but they are so accustomed to feeling responsible for you and are so concerned about your welfare and happiness that they are reluctant, just as you yourself will some day be, to make their child stand on her own feet until they are sure she is safe and is able to get along well without their constant guidance. During the period when you are practicing taking over, and they are gradually letting you go, it is the most natural thing in the world that there will occasionally be some friction and misunderstandings.
Late hours is a common bone of contention.
Jill insisted it was time to go home and broke up the party, but not without some of the crowd teasing her about needing so much sleep. She worried about it after she got home and wondered if they would invite her again. Even after all that, she came home later than her parents had requested, and there was a stormy session at the breakfast table. When she burst into tears because it seemed she couldn’t please anybody, her ten-year-old brother had to remark, “Jill’s certainly getting to be a cry-baby lately. if she were an Indian, they would call her rain-in-the-face!”
It just isn’t possible for members of two generations to see one another’s point of view exactly. Your parents have been your age, and you have never been their age yet, so that gives them an advantage. But someday you will be in their place, and no matter how much you resolve to remember how you feel and be very understanding of a daughter, by the time you have one, her problems will be different, and your point of view will be that of a parent and not of a young girl.
Clothes, money, use of the car, places you go, people you go with, the time you get home, are all apt to be issues at one time or another, but there are a few things worth remembering that may help you in meeting them.
1. Your parents are just as concerned about how to solve these problems satisfactorily as you are.
2. You aren’t the only one whose family insists on some rules. Your friends’ parents are trying to help them in about the same ways your parents are trying to guide you.
3. Whatever restraints and restrictions your parents impose are because of their love for you and certainly not merely to make your life more difficult. No matter what happens you can count on their being right back of you, anxious to help and rejoicing in your achievements and growth.
4. An understanding and workable plan can usually be worked out if you will talk things over at times when you and your parents are not all emotional and upset about some particular situation.
5. A little friction is not too serious if you will remember that not approving a thing someone does is not a sign of not liking the person. If your parents take you to task now and then, it certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t love you any more. We object to a baby’s crying, but we never cease to love the baby. Your occasional resentment does not mean the end of your affection for your family either.
6. think of your parents as people, not property. Sure, they’re yours, “but that doesn’t mean that you own them.” They don’t exist exclusively to make life run more smoothly for their children. While their family is undoubtedly their greatest interest, they have needs of their own and dreams and ambitions of their own. They need unfailing affection and understanding and unselfishness and some help from you for their happiness just as you need these things from them.
7. Express your affection and appreciation freely. The “painful periods” needn’t last long. Let them know it when you feel happy again about an issue you may have discussed with some resentment. Confide in them. Let them in on your life. You’ll be surprised at how that will increase their confidence in you.
8. Have as much fun as possible with your parents. Mother-daughter, father-daughter parties furnish delightful opportunities. In addition, do things together, just you and your parents, or you and your chum and her parents. You’ll find it adds wonderfully to your understanding of one another.
9. Remember that our Father in heaven himself has given us the commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” and if you keep this in your heart, it will help you to avoid saying or doing anything to cause you real regret later.
10. Another thing you can count on is that the growing pains in this area will most likely be cured with time, and in a short while you will forget the little frictions and be forever grateful that your parents guarded and guided you so carefully.