Helping Children Through Puberty – Tips

Helping Children Through Puberty – Tips – tips to help your children deal with puberty. First of all, parents need to recognize the signs of puberty.

Sometimes it is difficult for parents to watch their sons and daughters grow up. Our time with them is so short and we are not always ready for the changes that occur as they mature. Of all the stages of development, puberty is one of the hardest for most parents. It is a time of change that not only affects the child in ways that they can see physically and feel emotionally, it also affects parents in a way that opens our eyes to our children moving from sweet, loving children to the sometimes argumentative, strong-willed adolescents.

We realize that our babies really are growing up. Families may start to experience some tension during this time that was never present before. Straight talk and an open line of communication can really help both the child and the parents as they explore the many changes that come about with the joys and responsibilities of puberty.

Helping Children Through Puberty – Tips

First of all, parents need to recognize the signs of puberty.

There are many subtle changes that occur as young boys and girls start to mature. These changes do not happen overnight, however, sometimes it may seem as though they do. Adolescence, or puberty, is a time of growth and change that occurs over a ten year period, usually between the ages 9 and 20. Each child will start puberty at a time that is right for them. There is no right or wrong age to start puberty. Parents may notice changes in their child such as an increase in height, weight and genital size. The child entering puberty will show signs of increased body hair in the pubic area, under the arms and on the face and chest for boys. Hair on the legs may increase as well. Hormonal changes may bring on the development of acne and body odor. New emotions may surface from day to day and hour to hour. Girls may start to experience some vaginal discharge as well.

The importance of teaching children about their bodies and the changes that will occur is something that parents need to feel comfortable talking about. Adolescents need to feel comfortable with their bodies and know that it is okay to seek and get answers to their many questions. As a parent, it is important to have correct information and to feel comfortable as the primary health educator of the family.

Open communication is the key to a healthy relationship with your adolescent. It is important to respect each other, listen to what is being said and try to remember what it was like to be their age. Teens and adults need to understand that there may be times when you absolutely do not agree on something and that is okay as long as you treat each other with respect. Adolescents do not always want to be lectured to; sometimes they just want their parents to listen to them. Parents of adolescents need to realize that their child may not be ready to talk to them at a time that is convenient for them but the child may open up at 11pm when you are getting ready for bed. Take advantage of that willingness to talk and listen to them. You would be amazed at what you will hear and the child will know that they can come to you and you will listen! Remember too that it is important to keep your child’s confidences. If they tell you something in confidence, unless it is something that could be unsafe or dangerous, you must keep that confidence. This fosters a trust that they can talk to you about anything and know that it will be kept safe.

Finally, your adolescent may seem like they do not want you around and that they do not need you but most times that is just a front. Most teens are struggling with fitting in with their peers and breaking away from their parents. It is especially important to show them that you love them but you may need to change how you do it. Instead of hugs and kisses as they enter school, you may want to attend their sporting events and save the hugs and kisses for before bed when no one is around. Take an active part in their lives but let them start to become independent. Make it a habit to know where they are, who they are with and what they are doing. Allow them to have their friends over so that you can get to know them. Tell your teen that you love them and tell them often. They need to hear this even if they act like they don’t care.

For information and registration please call Crittenton Hospital Medical Center’s Community Health & Education Department at 248-652-5269.

These helping children through puberty tips have been provided by Crittenton Hospital for Oakland County Moms. Originally posted February in 2010.

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