Puberty

Puberty

Puberty affects children between the ages of 11 and 14. The changes can be drastic and all at once, changing your physical growth, cognitive development, emotional and social skills, as well as sensory and motor development. Rapid changes often occur earlier in girl than in boys but both genders will go through physical and emotional changes that segue childhood into adulthood. If often is a difficult time of transition for the adolescent as well as the parents, but strong family support will reaffirm your childs sense of self.

Recently Answered

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    AScripps Health answered

    Puberty marks a new era of health concerns. Parents can expect their kids to want some independence and to expect private time with the pediatrician. Honesty is especially important during these years, as annual checkups begin to include new screens for reproductive and sexual health issues, alcohol and drug use.

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    ARovenia Brock, PhD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Early puberty is a burden that can make the normal developmental and social challenges of growing up even more difficult. Girls who are still little more than children have no idea how to respond to the kind of attention they receive when their bodies grow up before they do. Being a child in a woman's body can cause acute psychological problems, including depression. I don't have to tell you the havoc depression can wreak on our lives -- and we're adults. Depressed children tend to become loners, spending more sedentary time in front of the TV or playing video games. It becomes a vicious cycle.

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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    A girl can start using tampons at any age once she starts menstruating and is comfortable inserting one. In fact, for girls who play sports, tampons are often the best option.

    If your daughter wants to start using tampons, tell her to use the lowest absorbency she can based on her menstrual flow (many companies make junior tampons) and to change her tampon every four to eight hours. The Food and Drug Administration also recommends alternating between pads and tampons and not using tampons between periods. This is to reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome, a rare disease caused by bacteria that produce symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and sore throat; it can be fatal.
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    AJodie Shield, Healthcare, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    Obese children tend to begin puberty earlier than healthy weight children. This may predispose them to physical and psychological changes that they are intellectually not ready to handle. Also, kids who enter puberty early tend to not grow as tall as their peers who enter puberty at a later age.
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    ARealAge answered

    When it comes to puberty, the absolute worst thing that can happen to a child is to be uninformed. A girl who hasn’t been taught about menstruation, for example, may believe there is something seriously wrong with her when it does occur. And that’s just the beginning. It’s an understatement to say that puberty is an overwhelming time for adolescents: Their bodies are changing and growing hair in places they’ve never imagined, their voices may be squeaking and growing deeper, and their skin -- well, that’s a whole story of it’s own!

    Rather than sitting your child down to have a one-time, complete and unabridged lecture, begin at an early age to establish an ongoing dialogue about puberty. The more comfortable you seem when you discuss the subject, the more at ease he or she will feel about it, too. While books on the subject shouldn’t serve as a substitute for honest communication between parent and child, reading them with your young child can help you both ease your way into further conversations. Older children, on the other hand, may be more comfortable reading about puberty on their own and coming to you with additional questions.

    From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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    ARealAge answered

    If your child is early or late, your doctor might run blood tests to check on hormone and thyroid levels or X-ray the wrist to see if bone growth is normal. If those tests don’t turn up any clues, your doctor may suggest further testing, which may include chromosome testing or possibly a CT or MRI scan of the head to rule out a tumor. Other imaging testing may be needed to evaluate the ovaries and testes. If your child has late puberty, your doctor may suggest seeing a pediatric endocrinologist who specializes in growth and hormonal disorders for further evaluation. But most of the time, no cause is found and no treatment is needed.

    From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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    ARealAge answered

    Girls are considered delayed if they don’t develop breasts by age fifteen or haven’t started menstruating by sixteen (or within five years of developing breasts). Boys are considered delayed if there is no testicle development by fourteen and if development of the male organs isn’t complete within five years after the onset of puberty.

    From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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    ARealAge answered

    When puberty is well ahead of schedule -- termed early puberty, premature puberty, or precocious puberty -- it’s usually not medically worrisome, but it needs to be checked out. Body fat can sometimes affect when puberty begins, so if your child is overweight, puberty may be earlier. Premature puberty is more common in girls, who can start developing breasts and pubic hair before seven or eight. In boys, premature puberty can cause a deeper voice, growth spurts, and acne before nine. If your child may be experiencing early puberty, talk to your doctor about evaluation and testing. While it certainly doesn’t mean there’s a medical problem, it’s a good idea to be sure.

    From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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    AMarcus K. Blackburn, MD, Pediatrics, answered on behalf of Intermountain Healthcare
    Some of the earliest signs of puberty are going to be development of that normal kind of scent in the armpits and sweating, along with hair development both in the armpits and the genital region. Then of course you will have things that are less specific like acne, or for girls, the start of menstruation—these are signs that you are well into puberty by then. Kids will often go through growth spurts as they start through puberty, but usually it's those other signs, hair and sweating, that give it away.
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    ARealAge answered

    The first thing you need to know is that puberty -- that time when girls and boys develop secondary sex characteristics and fertility and start becoming young women and men -- arrives on a different schedule for every child. At the same time, puberty is occurring earlier in general, so don’t be alarmed if you notice changes at a younger age than you experienced. Typically, puberty starts in boys between ten and sixteen. Yes, girls start earlier, which is why they’re often uncomfortably taller than boys in junior high. Puberty can last a few years or several, so don’t expect this ride to be short.

    From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.