The Hormonal Teenager Myth

People talking about the raging hormones of teens is so prevalent that few people even decide to look around and decide whether or not this idea is even true. It is true that teens experience elevated hormonal levels for the sake of the growth process. However, the extent to which this translates into their behavior is significantly more controversial.

There are few records of the concept of a hormonal teenager from history, since it seems to be a very recent idea. The entire concept of adolescence itself only dates back to the very early twentieth century. Humanity hasn’t really been going through this life stage very long, and we are still ironing out the bugs and trying to understand it.

Teenagers often make poor decisions because their brains have not finished developing, especially the parts of their brains that control decisions. It is true that this aspect of their development is biological, and there is little that parents can do about it other than trying to educate our teens. However, dismissing a good portion of their behavior as ‘hormonal’ does them a disservice, especially because it is probably false.

Similar accusations have been made against women of all ages, and they were always wrong. In many cases, the women in question were simply dissatisfied with their lot in life and acting out. Your teen is frustrated with having to live under your authority, and is acting out in order to achieve some measure of control and independence.

Naturally, teenagers are not going to organize and start a new movement like women and other oppressed groups did. They are being managed, but ideally, they are not being controlled. However, many of them do not have the perspective to truly know the difference. This is ignorance, but it is ignorance related to a lack of experience, and not to hormones.

Teens are certainly not going to respond well to accusations of being hormonal. This idea probably has little biological merit, and parents should be sure to know when they are using it to completely dismiss the feelings of their kids. Feelings are always valid. The way they are expressed may not be, but that is a problem to address and not dismiss because it is supposedly related to hormones.