Puberty’s Effect On The Family

Dear Dr. Bill,

My 10-year-old son is starting into puberty and has become really unhappy about everything.  It seems like he’s always arguing with someone — my wife and me, his siblings, friends, teachers, you name it.  He went from a generally happy child who used to laugh all the time to a fairly miserable kid.  What should we do?


Dear Rick,

When a child enters puberty, the physical, emotional, and relational changes can be stressful-not only for the boy or girl, but for their entire family.  Also, because your son is entering puberty fairly early for a male, this can make the changes even more challenging.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, boys start puberty anywhere from 10-14 years of age, with most completing the process maturity by 15 to 16.

Boys who start the process very early may feel a sense of shame or embarrassment, as their bodies are showing obvious signs of adulthood while all of their peers still look like 10-year-old boys.  Those who enter puberty late in the game also face adjustment issues.  For these kids, all of their friends have begun to look like young men, but their bodies are still immature.  They can begin to dread going to P.E. class and the boys’ locker room.

You can help your son through this adjustment process in two ways.  First, provide him with plenty of medically accurate information so that he will understand what is happening with his body and that this time of change is only temporary.  Assure him that even though he may feel like he’s going crazy, he’s not!

Secondly, provide him with plenty of love, support, and encouragement.  Extend an extra measure of grace to him as he experiences emotional ups and downs and give him space when he needs it.  At the same time, let him know you won’t tolerate aggressive, destructive, or disrespectful behavior in your home.

My friend Dr. Walt Larimore has written an excellent book on this. It’s entitled “God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen.”  You learn more at

Thanks for writing, Rick.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

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Do You Trust God When Times Get Tough?

Do you trust God when times get tough?  A new survey has found that Christians who are growing in their spiritual maturity are more likely to trust God—even in difficult circumstances.

According to Baptist Press, “Exercising Faith” is one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians. The attributes are part of the Transformational Discipleship study conducted by LifeWay Research.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay, says “It is easy to say God has a purpose for everything in life, but it requires faith to enjoy seeing His plan unfold in difficult times.”

The survey shows the longer someone has trusted Christ as their Savior, the better their responses are for exercising faith. Being involved in a Bible study group, praying for Christians and non-Christians, and witnessing to nonbelievers also make a positive impact.

The survey also revealed those stronger in their faith are less prone to doubt God’s involvement, even in unexplainable circumstances. Just 9 percent agreed with the statement: “When things happen in my life I can’t explain, I typically doubt God is involved.” Eighty percent disagreed with that statement.

Ed Stetzer from Lifeway “Exercising Christian faith is more than believing God exists; it is believing in God’s promised presence, provision, and compassion for us.”

“It is exhibited in a life that depends on Jesus Christ for salvation and is filled with the expectation of His daily activity.”

You can learn more about the transformational discipleship research at LifeWay Research.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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More Facebook Friends Means More Stress

Could your Facebook friends be stressing you out? Maybe so. According to a new study, the more Facebook friends you have, the more stressed you may be.

CBS News reports on a new study done at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. It indicates that you if have a large variety of friends on Facebook, you may feel more anxious.

The researchers say that stress can increase when a person participates in behavior that may not be approved by their peers on Facebook, such as swearing, recklessness, drinking and smoking.

The situation may be exacerbated by the growing number of people joining Facebook. Back in the early days, members mainly consisted of college students. But now, folks of a wide variety of ages and background are on the social networking site.

Ben Marder, a fellow at The University of Edinburgh and the author of the report, says “Facebook used to be like a great party for all your friends where you could dance, drink and flirt. But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines,”

You know, that makes perfect sense. If posting about activities that some might consider immoral or inappropriate, you might not want your supervisor or your Mom reading all about it.

By the way, Facebook’s minimum age limit is currently 13-years old. In August, the social network reported its oldest user was a 101-year-old woman. Average users can fall anywhere in that spectrum.

You can find more information about the study on the University of Edinburgh’s website.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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