The onset of puberty can be very thrilling and exciting for parents as well as for young people, but it can be a scary and difficult time to deal with.
Puberty is a natural process of growth that everyone undergoes when they reach their teen years.
Puberty is the stage of life where the youngster goes through a series of bodily changes (physical, hormonal and emotional), from that of a child to that of an adult, to achieve a body capable of reproduction.
The stage usually occurs when the hormones of pituitary gland, the part of the brain, acts on the ovaries or testes to initiate sexual changes in the body.
Children generally enter the puberty stage between the ages of 8 to 16 years, girls within 8 to13 years and boys 9 to 16 years.
As the exact age of puberty onset for a child can vary a little depending on several factors, being a parent, it is a good idea to start talking about puberty to your child as early as possible. But, while talking about puberty to your child
- Always be frank and open
- Discuss by sharing your personal experiences
- Ensure that your child understands your concept without any confusion
- Be patient and a good listener
- Clarify your child’s questions clearly
- Make clear that puberty is the main and exciting milestone in the development process
Apart from talking to your child about puberty, teach them how to deal with the puberty stage.
How parents can support children to deal with puberty stage?
- Explain your child that puberty is the time for all changes in the body, such as height, weight, breast, mustache etc. So, ask him/her to maintain a well-balanced diet for proper body appearance.
- If your child is a girl, then prepare her for the first period by talking about what is menstruation, how frequent periods will be, what to expect, how to deal with it.
- Discuss about the possibility of having irregular periods, what to do, and how often they happen.
- Instruct your child how to make use of a pad or tampon and what to do with the used one.
- Suggest her to carry a pad in the bag/ purse to avoid unexpected periods. Make her understand the need for hygiene to change pads/tampons on a regular basis and explain what happens when tampons are used overnight.
- Make it clear for your child that a slight difference in breast sizes is common for every girl, but it is unnoticeable to others. To minimize the difference, ask her to wear a bra. It is good to use a soft bra, like a sports bra, to start with.
- Keep track of the changes in your child. If the child has not menstruated by the time the young girl is16 or 17, immediately consult your doctor.
- If your child is a boy, then make it clear for him that the size of testes usually differs. Also explain that the left testes will usually be lower than the right.
- Reassure your child that sexual activities are not dependent on the size of penis.
- If your boy is worried that the testes or penis size is very small, make him aware of the facts by consulting a doctor.