We thought it would never arrive. No way- how can my child already be growing up?! Some pimples, facial hair poking through, or her chest filling out are all the tale-tale signs of puberty? How do we approach these very sensitive areas with our tweens? After all, this age alone has challenges as they change in mood and interests. Puberty is an unknown and with all unknowns comes a little anxiety, some fear, and just uncomfortable feelings.

Pace:  Kids at different times – at their own pace according to their bodies. But typically boys are a bit later than girls- 9-15 and girls 8-14. Again there is no set time. Of course it makes them ill at ease. Some later than others or earlier than their peers makes for anxiety in some form. What is our experience? How can we BEST be equipped to help our tween?

Be On top: How can we best educate ourselves before our tweens comes with their questions? How can we explain in their language what IS puberty? What are the signs and what do boys and girls experience during this change?

Growing up: Change does not need to be upsetting or something to fear. It’s all about becoming an adult.

Girls: Let’s remember back when we went through puberty. Girls will begin to get a figure – wider hips, their chest will become womanly- breasts will grow, they will get their period and what is all that about? They will get a vaginal discharge as well. Why? How does that work into being an adult? Sweating will begin to take on an odor. How best can we deal with that biggie?  And what is all the pubic hair and under arm hair all about? These are the big changes with many big questions from our daughters which will soon be on her lips!

Boys: One minute life is calm and routine but then one day our son awakens and his voice goes into a strange pitch and it goes and comes. What in the world is this? How can we best explain to him why this is happening? Hormones and more hormones are all awakening. Their growing pains they have had off and on for years are now being seen as he suddenly shoots taller. His facial hair and underarm, genital and leg hair are all appearing. The hormones are causing all this change. Their testicles are dropping and they will begin to get an erection at anytime. Night times are “wet dreams.” Yikes and what is this ‘wet’ that appears? Their muscles begin to develop depending on how active they are and heredity influences. The how, what, and why’s of all these need to be addressed. We need just be ready and at ease as they come to us with their perfectly normal questions.

There are a number of reputable sites and books online:

http://tweenparenting.about.com/od/physicalemotionalgrowth/qt/PubertySignsBoy.htm

http://teens.webmd.com/girls/facts-about-puberty-girls

http://kidshealth.org/kid/grow/body_stuff/puberty.html

http://www.amazon.com/Puberty-Survival-Guide-Girls-Ashby/dp/0595342205#_

http://www.amazon.com/American-Medical-Association-Guide-Becoming/dp/0787983438/ref=pd_sim_b_6/176-9873864-0987456