Going through puberty can be a difficult time for both teens and parents. There are many physical, emotional and psychological changes that occur and as a parent it is normal to feel unsure about how to best support your child through this time.
The best and most important thing you can do to help your child through this time is to reassure them. Let them know these changes are normal and it is ok to feel a bit lost. Make it known that you are a trusted person they can come to if they have any questions, doubts or worries.
Some families may struggle with the changes of puberty however others simply don’t. Puberty can be an exciting and special time. As a parent, you are in the best position to help your child as you have expert knowledge on the experience of puberty and you also know your child, what may help their experience and ease their mind.
Puberty is a time when role-modelling body acceptance is extremely important as a parent. It is normal behaviour for your child to compare their body to those of their friends or what they see on social media. Many teens can easily feel worried about their own development, body shape and size. The best thing to do can be to listen non-judgementally, show them that you understand and explain that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Modelling a healthy lifestyle and encouraging conversations around changes will help your child through the process of puberty.
What to expect during puberty…
As we touched on before, there are many changes when teens go through puberty. These are physical, sexual, social and emotional. Puberty begins when changes in your child’s brain cause sex hormones to be released in the:
The duration of puberty is determined by genetic, nutritional and social factors. Puberty can last anywhere from 18 months up to 5 years.
During puberty, your child may experience:
During puberty, girls will experience:
Getting her first period and how to be prepared…
There is a likelihood that your daughter could get her period at school or when she isn’t at home so make sure to talk to her and prepare her with period products that are safe and easy to use. It is important for her to understand what a period is, how it affects her body and how to use products to control the bleeding. It is likely she will have questions about what products to use, how to use them and where to dispose of them. It is valuable to make sure she understands these processes, so that she feels prepared and comfortable when her period comes rather than feeling lost or unsure.
Additionally, when your daughter gets her first period, it means her body is ovulating (releasing eggs) and therefore, she is able to get pregnant. Make sure to talk to your daughter about sex and pregnancy prevention so that she is aware about ovulation and her menstrual cycle.
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Medical Disclaimer: Articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. Ask a medical professional if you have any health-related questions or concerns.
Better Health Channel. (2021). Parenting children through puberty and adolescence.https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Parenting-children-through-puberty
McCoy, K. (2010). A Teen’s guide to her first period. https://www.everydayhealth.com/pms/a-teens-guide-to-her-first-period.aspx
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