Puberty. When you first hear this term, problems with acne and lessons about menstrual cycles are often the first things that come to mind. If there is one thing that gets the worst reputation regarding child development, it is this. From the media to the world of fiction writing, puberty is a scary story for children. It does not have to be that way. Talking to your child about this time can make all the difference. While it starts as an unknown, new knowledge can shed light on it that they need.
Talking About Puberty With Your Child
Puberty is a necessary part of growing up. While there are some difficulties, most of the fear comes from not knowing what to expect. At Carithers Pediatric Group, we know this can be challenging for parents and children alike. That is why we are here to help you learn the best way to confront this time with your child.
Explain What To Expect
There are many changes a child can expect. The number of possibilities to process can be overwhelming between boys and girls. KidsHealth explains the different experiences that occur during puberty:
- Girls become more rounded, primarily in the hips and legs
- Girl’s breasts begin to grow
- Girls and boys start to grow public hair and underarm hair
- Sweat production increases
- Acne can begin to appear
- Growth spurts occur
- Boys’ penises and testicles grow
- Boys’ voices change
- Boys begin to grow facial hair
- Girls start their menstrual cycle
While each of these is possible in a child’s journey through puberty, each situation is different. This is one of the most important points to clarify with your child. Their friends and classmates may be experiencing changes at a different rate than them.
Suggest Helpful Resources
While your knowledge is valuable, children can also learn much from other resources. To start, your child’s healthcare provider can give them insight and information about what they are going through. Whether a phone call or their annual visit, your child can find comfort in talking to a medical professional.
Aside from talking to a medical professional, there are plenty of written resources. From picture books to medically sourced literature, these can give your child something to read rather than talking to someone about it in person or over the phone.
Be A Person To Talk To
There are times when you will have to start the conversation about puberty. However, sometimes the important thing is to be someone to talk to when the child needs it. Your child’s safety and happiness are the main priority. Give them space to ask questions and keep the conversation open-ended, so that they can come back to you at any time. You’ll find that some children are very inquisitive and others are uninterested or even a little anxious and need a slow approach. The goal is for you to be their source of information rather than their peers. We are happy to join in this conversation with you at their well visits.
Respect Their Privacy
During puberty, there may be changes and feelings that your child may not want to discuss. While the most important lessons are worth the conversation no matter what, your child may be craving privacy during this time. Their body is altered in ways they had not experienced before, and that can be something they feel the need to work through on their own.
Let’s leave the fears of puberty in the past and make children feel more confident about their body’s changes. It is a unique experience that everyone encounters. Is your child starting to experience the changes of puberty? Carithers Pediatric Group is here as a resource for you and your child. Check out our website or give us a call for more information.