Children today are exposed to so much information about sex and relationships through TV and the Internet that they are already familiar with some advanced ideas by the time they reach puberty. However, talking about puberty issues remains an important task for parents, as not all the information a child receives comes from reliable sources.
The most important thing is to find the right moment
Ideally, parents would have started talking to their children about the body’s changes as it grows. Since his early years, your child has been asking you questions. And most of your conversations have probably stemmed from these questions.
It’s important to answer your children’s questions about puberty by being honest and open, but you shouldn’t wait for your child to necessarily start a conversation. By the time your child is 8 years old, he should already know the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty. It might seem like an early age to learn about “grown-up” topics, but keep the following in mind: some girls are already wearing a sports bra by age 8, and some boys start getting facial hair just a few years later.
With girls, parents must discuss menstruation before they have their period. If they don’t know what is happening to them, they may be frightened by seeing the blood and its origins. Most girls have their first period at 12 or 13, although some get it at 8, and others do not have it until 17.
In general, boys begin to enter puberty a little later than girls, usually at 10 or 11. But they could begin to develop sexually or have their first ejaculation without looking older or without first developing facial hair.
Similarly, it is helpful for adults to anticipate changes, such as moving or changing jobs before they happen; your child should know about puberty in advance.
Many children receive sex education at school. However, classes are often divided, and girls learn about everything related to menstruation and sports bra, while boys learn about erections and voice changes. It is important that girls also learn about the changes that boys go through and learn about the changes that affect girls. So talk to your child’s teacher about their teaching plan to find out what gaps to fill. You can help start the conversation by coordinating your talks with these lessons from school.
What to say
Puberty brings so many changes that it is easy for your child to feel insecure. On many occasions, adolescents will be insecure about their appearance during puberty. Still, it can be helpful to know that everyone has been through the same thing and that there is a large normal variation when these changes occur. Acne, mood swings, growth waves, and hormonal changes – all of this is part of growth, and they all go through it, although not at the same rate.
Girls can start puberty as early as second or third grade, and it can be a bit upsetting if your daughter is the first to wear a sports bra. She may feel lonely or weird, or like all eyes are on her in the school locker room.
In boys, some visible changes are the change of the voice and the appearance of facial hair, and as with girls, if your son is among the first to go through these changes, he might feel uncomfortable or the target of stares from his classmates.