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Puberty - 3. Phase (16 - 18 years)

Physical Changes

In the third phase of puberty, the physical changes are integrated. They harmonize themselves - the body grows together to form a harmonious overall picture. This manifests itself as follows:

For boys and young men, the muscles become strong and their facial hair unfolds to full bloom. The penis has reached its full size in this phase and the growth of body hair is completed. The proportions of the body correspond to those of an adult male and the facial hair changes from its first down to its final appearance. The sweat glands all over the body are fully developed, even the perspiration is normalized so that the young people no longer sweats excessively, as in the previous developmental stages.

In girls, the breasts are fully developed. Even the uterus and vulva are fully developed at this stage. The girl has become a woman and is ready to birth children. The proportions of the body are harmonized, with the typically female "X-stature" - narrow waist, wider hips with a corresponding upper body. Compared to the first grow spurt, now the arms have an appropriate length to the rest of the body. While the menstrual cycle was unreliable during the first two stages of puberty, now it is stabilized and the cycle, therefore, will be regular.

Mental changes

During this third stage of puberty, the young person experiences a newfound self-esteem. However, it must be said, that this self-esteem sometimes aims right over the top. It seems the pendulum oscillates right to the other side. The young person now shows signs of overconfidence and a certain megalomania. Characteristic also is the exaggerated display of their bodies; both in boys and in girls. At this stage, girls are dressed particularly provocative and flaunt their physical attributes. Boys also pay considerable attention to their bodies to define who they are. With fitting clothing, they are trying to emphasize their physical characteristics. Their thinking seems to be somewhat self-centered but is mainly used for finding meaning, which plays a significant role during this phase. Young people are now able to integrate their past to gain a new ideology.

Changes in their social behaviour

In the third stage of puberty, the change in the social conduct of the young person is marked by an orientation towards the future. For the first time, the growing youth makes plans for his life respectively; he starts thinking of his career. Thereby he begins more and more letting go of the parental model and requirements. This process of letting go also affects the issue of living together. During this phase, it is not uncommon for young people wishing to live in a communal apartment or with other people, enjoying a somewhat unusual lifestyle. Sects or extremist groups (the search for community, peers or people to share ideas) become attractive during this phase. The third stage of puberty is also political. The teen starts to develop his political view regardless of the opinion of his parents. As a matter of fact, sometimes they form the opposite opinion to that of their caregivers deliberately. The same applies to religion. Ideas and models the child once took on subconsciously, are examined to arrive at an own conscious decision, which can be quite different now.

Next chapter: typical behaviour of boys at puberty

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