Their hormones are raging, breast buds have erupted, voices are cracking and they’re getting hair there – your child is going through puberty. Ah, puberty. Who can’t remember feeling painfully self-conscious and thinking that your parents just couldn’t possibly understand?
It may have been awhile, but we understand. Puberty, when children’s bodies develop into adult ones, happens differently for everyone. Some girls begin puberty at age 9, and boys at 10. Others may not start until 13 or 14 years old.
Navigating through this time with your child can be tricky and confusing for children. It’s embarrassing for child and mom and dad. As a parent, it can help to tell your child that puberty is a normal part of growing up that we all go through. You should also share the facts of puberty to help them understand their changing bodies. You can even talk about your experiences as a child.
Because children at this age are often mortified by their parents – even more so when they bring up body parts – it’s up to you to initiate the conversation. Your kid may be too shy or humiliated to bring it up.
Talk to your kids early, preferably around age 8. They may have already heard about puberty and sex from unreliable sources. It’s your job to set them straight and give them the information they need.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ healthychildren.org has a helpful link your child can read: