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Going Through Puberty

You may have been dreading its start, but it's here! According to the National Institutes of Health, puberty typically begins between the ages of 10 to 14 for girls and between 12 and 16 for boys.

Puberty is a time when young teens and tweens go through many changes, including physical, mental, social, and even emotional changes.

Puberty in Girls and Boys

Going through puberty is a fact of life. There is no way around it, and you wouldn't want your child to avoid going through this period of growth. In addition to hormonal changes, there are also going to be other visible and not so visible changes taking place. Changes may include (depending on your tween's gender) breast development, the appearance of pubic and underarm hair, acne, menstruation, enlarging of the penis, facial hair, a deepening of the voice, and muscle growth. While boys and girls are affected differently during puberty, both will come out of this stage of development closer to their adult selves.

Navigating Puberty

But, how do parents and teens navigate the rocky waters of puberty and stay sane? Try these tips:

  • Create an open door policy with your tween, so she knows she can discuss changes with you. Explain what is happening to her body, answer questions, and make sure she understands what is happening.
  • Get your tween the supplies she may need once this developmental stage begins. Deodorant, razors, and tampons may be necessary. You will also need to show your child how to use these items. As embarassing as this may seem, keep the talk light or even enlist the help of an older sibling, and you'll both get through it.
  • Assure your tween that the changes taking place are normal and that things like acne will not be around forever.
  • Consider using behavior or chore charts to get everything done. During puberty your tween will be going through a lot of changes, making it seem impossible to get her to complete tasks and chores on time.
  • Try to discuss issues with her. If our child is over-developing (such as in the case of large breasts) or developing at a slower rate than normal, she may be concerned or even embarrassed. If the issue is a real cause for concern (such as delayed menstruation), speak with the family doctor.

Thank goodness, we go through puberty only once. There are a lot of changes taking place, but it means that your child is on the road to adulthood. The best thing you can do is to be supportive, be patient, and help her through this challenging period of her life. Before you know it, your child will be grown, and you'll both laugh about those teen years.