This Halloween season, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde might not be just a costume! You might notice smells, excess hair, a tendency toward drama, and even behavior altering rage. This very change snuck up on our family. It struck with deodorant and went downhill from there. We have ushered in the age of hormones.

I’ve been hearing it come up around me more and more as my friends’ kids grow but didn’t think of the universality of the phenomenon until a post on Facebook read:

[My son] is a mess. What’s happened? He’s only 9. How early do hormones kick in?

It might not surprise you to learn that there were a ton of comments. So, I decide to do a little research of my own and sat down with parents from all different situations and family sizes to find out what moms are saying:

  • 8 ½ year old girl, middle child of 3: 8 ½ year old girl, middle child of 3: Well, we needed deodorant at the end of second grade.  This summer, though, she completely lost her mind. The whole time she had such attitude and would lose it for no reason. We went on vacation and she obsessed over little things until they took over everything. If we could do or buy what she wanted, she melted down!
  • 9 year old twin girls, the oldest of 3: One of them is still completely a little girl. She’s got no smell, no extra hair, and no noticeable behavioral stuff. But her sister, who is usually the good child became a different person this summer.  She’s got hair and smells. But what really tips the scales is her attitude! She moans and cries every morning and doesn’t want to go to school. At one point, she sat on the couch bawling. When asked what was wrong, she answered, “I don’t know!”
  • 9 ½ year old boy, the oldest of 4: He smelled at 7 but lately he’s had insane mood swings and crying. He’s driving me nuts with the drama.
  • Almost 10 year old girl, youngest of 3: Well, she’s had PMS forever but we haven’t  noticed a smell or hair.
  • 10 ½ year old girl, oldest of 3: That’s the age we noticed the at-school clique politics really kicked into high gear. She started having trouble with friends because they were all turning on each other.
  • 10 year old boy, oldest of 3: He was almost 9 and everything changed. Hygiene became a huge issue. We had to experiment with deodorant types to see which would work best. He wanted to be the “cool kid” so he would leave school to go home and change into name brand clothes which also brought on the lying.
  • 11 year old girl, oldest of 2: The smell started about a year ago but we’ve needed to be more diligent about it lately. She’s even started taking it to school. Her attitude has always been an issue but lately it’s become so much more volatile. Anything, or nothing, will set her off! Plus, we’ve noticed armpit hair and had to buy her a training bra to wear under thin clothes.
  • 10 year old girl, middle of 3: She’s so small, she hasn’t really had any changes but wants a bra because several other girls got one. We bought it for her. The last thing she needs is to feel out of place about that!
  • 9 year old boy, youngest of 2: He’s always loved girls but now he’s pickier about clothes and we had to get him deodorant.

It sounds like, for the most part, when your child hits about 9 or 10, you can expect a few changes. When I tried to follow-up my questions with how parents dealt with these new behaviors, almost to a person, they sighed, rolled their eyes, and said something along the lines of “Just do your best to stay patient and not kill them.” Which, I suppose is better than Mark Twain’s suggestion, “When a boy turns 13, seal him in a barrel and feed him through a knot hole. When he turns 16, plug up the hole.”