Puberty begins approximately between the ages of 10-12 or earlier, but is easier to define it as the time during which the sexual organs of boys and girls mature and reproduction becomes possible. Puberty usually takes 4 years but can also extend up to five or six years. Regardless of the time it takes, having the puberty talk with your child is important. Children are exposed to an onslaught of information and adult content through books, movies, television and from their friends, and trying to protect their childhood or innocence only leads to a delay in the talk. No parent wants to have to discuss puberty problems when the child is faced with their first menstrual period or wet dream and is completely distraught.
To make sure that you are able to guide them through the turbulent phase ofpuberty problems, you have to establish an open, sensitive communication style with them. Handling children who are going through puberty is a delicate task. Most teens pretend they know everything, and cover up insecurity or embarrassment with a cocky or defensive exterior. Parents will have to find ways to communicate puberty information without hurting feelings or without the child feeling like he or she has no privacy.
Puberty Problems and Emotions
While all adults know the changes they went through during puberty, it is a good idea to go through a few books or do some research online. This not only helps to refresh adult memories about teenage worries or concerns, it also provides ways to discuss puberty information. For single parents who need to have the puberty talk with their child of the opposite sex, this is vital to understanding their puberty problems.
Most children experiencing puberty problems are embarrassed about the physical changes. Girls with developing breasts or boys with voices that are breaking are likely to be teased by their peer groups, especially if they are amongst the earliest to develop. The growth of pubic hair or beards can cause shame or shyness too. Teens with acne, excessive perspiration or oily skin or hair could be embarrassed by the changes.
Communicating Puberty Information
- Having the puberty talk with your child, regardless of age, should be during a time when the child is free from distraction and stress. For many children, discussing awkward issues while performing a repetitive task such as peeling potatoes or washing dishes makes it easier as they don’t have to look directly at the parent or caregiver.
- Start off with a brief discussion of the puberty information, just touching upon all points. Children will want to think about facts they learn and come back later to discuss them further.
- Encourage children to talk about themselves, instead of immediately telling them what they should expect. No child experiences puberty problems exactly the same way, even within the same family, and they will have questions or concerns of their own.
- In addition to talking to children, provide reading material for them to go through. Keeping a few books with puberty information in the child’s bedroom can take care of the questions that your child is curious about but is afraid to ask.
It is also important that parents provide some puberty information about the changes happening to the opposite sex. Teenagers are naturally curious about the changes within themselves and others, as well as sexually curious. Explaining puberty information to your child can help your child become more aware, more sensitive, and more cautious.
- Puberty – Keep Kids Healthy