Puberty is something we all go through at different times of our life. It’s the natural process of growth that everyone undergoes when they come into their teen years. This is a stage of life where a child goes through a series of changes within the body (physical, emotional and hormonal), and in the end, be able to achieve a body capable of reproduction. Each child is different and therefore, the time of puberty is different. Girls often experience puberty between 8 and 13 years, while boys often experience it later around age 9 to 16 years old.
Many parents want to know what to tell their child and when to talk to them about this exciting stage in their child’s life. I started discussing this with my children when they were around 8 years old to keep them prepared when it happens. When talking about puberty with your child, always be frank and open to anything they want to discuss. There are always words you can leave out, but never lie to your child. You can start by discussing personal experiences as to when you began these same exact changes and go into some detail. Try to answer any questions your child has and make sure your child understands without any confusion. Let them know that everyone goes through this stage and that this is an exciting milestone in their development.
How Can You Support Your Daughter’s Puberty Phase?
- Explain to your child what puberty is and what it entails as far as the changes the body goes through, such as height, weight, breast size, body hair growth, etc. Make sure she is maintaining a well-balanced diet.
- Explain to her what to expect, how to deal with her period, what menstruation means and how frequent it happens.
- Discuss with her that there could be a chance that her period is irregular. Let her know what to do and that it’s okay.
- Instruct your daughter on how to properly use a tampon or pads, whichever she chooses.
- Keep track of the changes in your daughter. If she hasn’t menstruated by 16 or 17, consult a physician.
How Can You Support Your Son’s Puberty Phase?
- Explain that the changes he will go through are natural and not to be afraid of changes. Ensure him that everyone goes through it and that there’s nothing to be worried about.
- Describe what to expect as far as facial hair growth, body hair appearing all over, voice dropping, etc.
- Discuss the details of hormonal changes and how they might affect his moods and emotions, all while drawing connections to your own experiences to repeat the notion that it is not abnormal what is happening to them.
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