Is the “P” word being discussed in your household?

Puberty is the time when your child’s body begins to develop as she changes from a child into an adult. Remember when your child was a baby and how fast he seemed to grow? Puberty is actually the only other time your child’s body will grow as quickly.

The best way to deal with the changes that come with puberty is to know what to expect!

Usually, puberty starts between ages 8 and 13 in girls and ages 9 and 15 in boys. This is a wide range and explains why some children develop faster than others.

Changes to expect in boys:

  • Hair growth under the arms and in the pubic area. Eventually, hair will begin to grow on the face.
  • Growth spurt. It may seem like one part of his body, especially the feet, grow faster than everything else.
  • Body shape changes. His shoulders will grow wider and the body more muscular.
  • His voice will “crack” and eventually become deeper.
  • Penile changes and nocturnal emissions
  • Skin changes. His skin will become oilier and pimples may develop on the face, upper back or upper chest.
  • Body odor. Puberty stimulates hormones and glands in the skin, especially the sweat glands under the arm. 
  • Emotional changes. He may feel overly sensitive, get easily upset or feel anxious about how his body is changing. He may lose his temper more often with friends and family.

Changes to expect in girls:

  • Hair growth under the arms and in the pubic area
  • Growth spurt. Girls’ bodies usually become curvier during puberty. Hips become wider and breasts begin to develop.
  • Menstrual cycle. Usually, a girl will have her first period about two years after the breasts begin to develop.
  • Skin changes. Her skin will become oilier and pimples may develop on the face, upper back or upper chest.
  • Emotional changes. She may feel overly sensitive, get easily upset or feel anxious about how her body is changing. She may lose her temper more often with friends and family.

Click here for tips on personal hygiene during puberty.

If you would like information or book suggestions on puberty sent to you via email or mail, contact our Family Resource Center. The Family Resource Center is 100-percent funded by generous donations to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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Expert Advice