Puberty is an exciting and frightening time for a child, when they begin to leave behind childhood and move towards being an adult.
Here are some things you should know to help your child—and yourself—through this important time of transition.
Puberty begins between ages 8 and 11 for girls, and between ages 10 and 16 in boys. At that time, their bodies begin to produce the hormones that will cause them to become sexually mature.
These hormones are primarily estrogen and progesterone in girls, and testosterone in boys. Secondary sexual characteristics begin to develop.
Girls develop budding breasts and pubic hair and menstruation cycle begins. Boys develop deeper voices, pubic hair and additional facial and body hair.
Not only do these increased hormones cause sexual maturity, they also cause your child to become more emotional. Teenagers are often impulsive as their brains rush to mature as quickly as their bodies.
Sexual curiosity is common during puberty. Children are curious about their own bodies as well as those of their friends and classmates.
It is important that you set aside any discomfort you may have and talk to your child about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Even if you promote abstinence, studies show your child is less likely to become pregnant or develop a sexually transmitted disease if you provide information about contraception.
The most important thing you can do to help your child through puberty is to stay involved in their life and continue to work on having a close relationship with them. Together you can weather these difficult years.