Living with 8 year old boy hormones

Yes you read it correctly I am writing about living with 8 year old boy hormones….  Who knew that I would have to start contending with hormones when my biggest boy was only just about to turn 8.  This was a parenting memo I didn’t get.  Perhaps I skipped that page in the manual… 

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I totally thought that there was a good couple of years left of my lovely, rational little boy before puberty came to wreck it all for a while, but no apparently this malarkey starts before all the physical changes and it is a tricky time for us all living with 8 year old boy hormones!

8 year old hormones

What has been happening?

For the past couple of months my usually kind, loving and generally well behaved little boy has become unbelievably angry and emotional.  The slightest thing can set him off even me asking him to put his shoes on which last weekend prompted him to lie on the floor sobbing…  To start with I put this down to a growth spurt as he does tend to act out when he is growing and doesn’t sleep well so gets grumpy, but then it just carried on and it wasn’t all the time so one minute I would have my lovely little one wanting to cuddle on the sofa and next this angry brute throwing his (rather little) weight around. 

I started to think there must be something wrong and wondered if there was an issue at school that he wasn’t telling me about, but no his teacher hasn’t seen any change in his behaviour.  In fact he was given a certificate for being such a good friend to his classmates.

At home it was a different story with him losing his temper with his brother and sisters regularly.  I tried talking to him to see if I could help as I do appreciate that our house is chaos and having three little siblings must be a lot to deal with, but he just kept saying no he was fine and then the next minute he would be so we carried on.  He and I spent a good bit of time talking together about feelings and looking at books about stress etc… to help him explore what was making him be so very emotional, but he just kept saying he didn’t know why he was getting cross or upset.

Then one day he told me he hated me and that I was the worst mummy in the world.  I think I asked him to come to the table for dinner….  I was upset and so was he.  He looked horrified as he said it and then cried and cried saying that he didn’t mean it.  I also noticed that he was waking in the night and coming to my bed.  He said he needed to have more cuddles and just seemed to want to be with me.  It was very sweet, but just a bit odd so I was getting concerned again that something was wrong.

Around that time I saw posts on instagram from Mom of 2 little girls who also has an almost eight year old (girl) and she was experiencing similar emotional issues with her little one. She has written a great post about her experiences and those of others which yours truly also threw my two pennies worth in on. I also chatted to other mums at school and whilst not all of them had been seeing any issues with their little people enough of them were for me to start wondering if this was just a normal phase for almost 8 year olds.  So off I headed to Dr Google!

Research

It seems that I am not going crazy and fortunately my little boy probably isn’t just turning into a nightmare it probably genuinely is his hormones and changes starting to happen.  Scientists have discovered an earlier hormone surge that happens prior to puberty around 8 years old.  It is called Adrenarche or Adrenal Puberty and doesn’t encompass any physical change, but does impact their emotions and relationships.

Back in 2005 Australian scientists were looking into this adrenal hormone change in a join project between the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Royal Children’s Hospital which studied the development of children from year 3 onward.  The study has found evidence to suggest that those who enter adrenarche early have significantly different brain patterns from those who don’t.  I am no expert, but I can certainly see how this could put pressure on those playground relationships.  According to the study boys are more likely to have behavioural issues as a result of this phase.  You can read a great article about it in the Sydney Morning Herald Puberty Hormones in Primary School Boys

The article caught my eye as it starts with the following sentence

That literally sums up my lovely little boy at the moment.

How I am dealing with it?

Well first I had a bit of a tear about the fact that he is growing up (that is just par for the course for me.  I mourn every time I notice that they are getting big ;))  I then started to think about how I could help him.  I mean clearly if his emotions are being driven by hormones it is hard to control it, but I still feel like he has to learn to manage those feelings.

Understanding

We started by talking about what hormones were and that they might be making him feel this way.  He asked lots of questions so I think he found it helpful to understand as he certainly seemed confused by his emotional outbursts or sobbing fits.

I also felt like I could be more patient with him now that I understood what could be driving the behaviour, but this doesn’t mean we are going entirely softly softly.  We can’t simply tolerate him being disrespectful to me or unkind to his siblings so there still must be consequences like losing that all important time on electronic devices.  I am just trying to implement it without any further upset or heartache.  He has to understand that we can’t all run around having tantrums every 5 mins (I am still a work in progress on this front so I would rather he nailed that now).

Meditation

I have long used children’s meditation tracks to help relax the kids before bed or in lieu of a nap when they just need some quiet time, but I have started doing this more with my eldest.  So if he is having a bit of a mood swing then I ask him to go to his room and put on his meditation track.  I often go and sit with him as they are lovely taking you through journeys on hot air balloons or to the beach – so relaxing.  They definitely help to calm him down and clear his mind


Reminding

I remind him when he gets cross about the hormones and try to give him a cuddle so he knows he is loved whilst he grows through his emotional moment.

Sleep

We have also pushed his bed time back a bit.  He was getting an extra 30 mins staying up each evening, but now since this has started he looks so tired that we have gone back to the earlier time so that we maximise the amount of sleep he is getting.  I don’t know if it helps, but I know I am impossible to live with when I am tired. Imagine my poor long suffering husband as I have essentially been tired since 2011!

I honestly don’t know if I am dealing with this the right way, but as with any parent you can only do what you think is right.  Hopefully by being supportive and yet firm I can teach him that we need to talk about our feelings and find ways to let out emotions that don’t involve shouting and hollering or kicking our little brother…  If you have any tips for how I can help him through this I would absolutely love to hear any ideas especially if you have just been through parenting a child in year 3 or 4.  I am not an expert I am just another mummy trying to do her best so all suggestions are gratefully received.

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25 thoughts on “Living with 8 year old boy hormones

  1. My husband taught third grade for over twenty years, and this must account for some of his observations! Michele Morin recently posted...A Melody Above the Noise of Your GriefMy Profile
    1. It is for sure a tricky time #DreamTeam
  2. thank you for some great advice here. i had no idea really of this. my boy is 9 and i feel like we've been dealing with this for a year and a half. i will do some more reading and then sit him down like you did and just talk to him, help him to understand. thank you. i am at breaking point lately x #dreamteam
    1. Oh gosh I’ll never make it if it goes on for that long My son definitely seemed to benefit from having it explained but he is still having explosive moments. He sobbed this morning when I said it was time to go as he didn’t want to stop reading his book.... ‍♀️
  3. Empathy is the biggest factor here, realising that he cant control it aNd doesnt eVen understand what The deal is. It seems to me you have this in spades. It is a difficult situation though.
    1. I’m trying but must admit it is tough when he is screaming at me!
  4. I love the idea of kids meditation tracks & must look this up further. my dear friend sadly passed recently leaving behind 2 young boys who are terribly afraid of the dark and generally just won't sleep. This may be helpful for them too. #dreamteam Isabel recently posted...Is plastic recycling really greenwashing?My Profile
    1. That is sad to read. I hope that it does help them to get some rest.
  5. Sending this post along to my DIL. My grandson is almost 8. He has been going through some of the same changes. Laurie recently posted...Justice: Using the Weights in Our BagMy Profile
    1. Hope it is useful for her. I definitely felt more in control and able to respond once I felt like I knew why...
  6. This was an interesting read, as I never would have guessed that these sorts of things started that young. Guess its been a few years since I was an 8 year old boy myself. My daughter turns 8 next month. I wonder if i should expect the same #dreamteam
    1. Have a read of the mom of 2 little girls post as she has been seeing the same type of thing but from what I read girls start later. Thanks for being on the #DreamTeam
  7. THIS IS THE THIRD POST I'VE READ IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS ABOUT EIGHT YEAR OLD'S HORMONES - I'M NOW SCARED - VERY SCARED! I HOPE IT ALL CALMS DOWN SOON AND YOU ALL MAKE IT THROUGH RELATIVELY UNSCATHED! #DREAMTEAM
    1. Oh no sorry for scaring you! To be honest I am a bit scared too :) Thanks for being on the #DreamTeam
  8. What a good idea to give him some time to meditate and reflect. As a mum of both boys and girls it will pass, it just seems like an age whilst waiting for the moods to shift. sending hugs #dreamteam
    1. Awh thanks Charlotte. I feel the mood lifting now so fingers crossed for a period of calm #DreamTeam
  9. Sending hugs and luck... I hadn't realised that the hormones could kick in at 8 years old. It's funny how they can play havoc with feelings in such an unexpected way. Being sensitive but firm seems like a good way forwards.You got this! #dreamteam xx Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted...Inspire Me Guest Series – An Interview With The Desperate HousewifeMy Profile
    1. I know - who knew!! Hormones are a pain.... #DreamTeam
  10. WELL IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE THIS VERY WELL COVERED. YOU ARE ALL OVER IT AND DOING A GREAT JOB OF TRYING TO HELP HIM THROUGH THIS ROUGH PERIOD OF GROWTH. I HAVEN'T BEEN THROUGH IT YET AS MY OLDEST DAUGHTER IS JUST ABOUT TO TURN FIVE BUT FROM READING YOUR POST AND CARLY'S FROM MOM OF 2 LITTLE GIRLS IT HAS GIVEN ME A GREAT INSIGHT INTO WHAT IS COMING #DREAMTEAM Tracey Carr recently posted...Daddies and their daughters: a masterclass in manipulationMy Profile
    1. Awh thanks. I am trying and fortunately he seems to be calming down now so hopefully a period of peace is coming. #DreamTeam
  11. Wow, I had no idea the changes start so young, but it makes sense that the hormones come well before physical changes can show up. It sounds like you are doing everything possible to ease this transition, sleep definitely should help - I am an uncontrollable monster when I am tired. #DreamTeam
    1. Sleep is for sure helping and he seems to be easing up a bit now so hopefully we are in a calm section #DreamTeam
  12. Yikes! They get Hormones at 8? Dreading it already! #dreamteam
  13. I've got a nearly 8.5 year old and thankfully we've not got to this yet. Although last year we did have a few teary and sensitive moments about seemingly silly things - like running off crying when he didn't want something put in front of him for tea. He'd just go and hide under a blanket. At the moment, he's on a fairly even keel. I don't remember my brother going through anything like this at the same age though, so it'll be interesting to see how it all unfolds as he gets nearer to 9. I need to find some good simple puberty books that don't include too much 'finding' themselves as I find some of the books out there seem way too advanced for what he would be needing at this age.
    1. It is that over sensitivity about silly things that we see a lot... I haven't looked into any books yet, but I think I will probably start talking to him more about what is to come in a year or so. At the moment I mostly just answer questions if he has any and try to explain why he may be feeling all the emotions that we have been seeing.

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