When should I begin talking about puberty issues with my child?

Whether you realize it or not, you have the tools to talk to your child about puberty. After all, though it might have been a long time ago, you went through puberty, too!Begin by letting your child know that her body will be going through changes as she experiences puberty. Ideally, you will want to bring puberty up casually rather than having a formal discussion. You can use teachable moments such as a recent growth spurt, crush, voice change, or the sudden need for deodorant, pimple medication, or shaving cream as a starting point. Then, share your experiences with puberty, who you felt comfortable talking with, how you felt as your body changed, what you wish you knew that no one told you, and more.It is important to emphasize that everybody experiences these changes at their own pace. Find out what your child is learning in school, what she knows, and what she might fear or need more information about. It is also a good time for you to brush up on the facts. You can prep beforehand, or research topics together. Most of all, let your child know that you are a trusted and comfortable source for her sexuality (and other) questions and concerns.
Michele Borba
It isn’t just puberty that is hitting our kids earlier. Studies show that drinking, sexual promiscuity, engaging in oral sex, depression, eating disorders, stress, peer pressure, puberty, and even acne are all hitting our kids three to four years earlier than when we were growing up. So don’t deny your child’s fast-forward culture and wait to discuss those “grown up” subjects you planned for the teen years. If you’re not talking about these tougher issues believe me your child’s friends most likely are. Be the one who provides accurate facts that are laced with your moral beliefs and your values.

Also make sure your child’s doctor is someone your daughter or son feels comfortable speaking to as well. Puberty is striking kids at younger ages and your child does needs to feel comfortable speaking to someone—if not you–about menstruation or wet dreams.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.