Similar to talking to your children about sex, the conversation surrounding puberty must be an ongoing one, led by the parent. With easy access to a world of information and misinformation (online), your child deserves to know the facts from the fiction.
It’s natural for this to be an uncomfortable discussion, but there is nothing more comforting to a child than having an approachable, non-intimidating parent.
1. Be open and honest. Don’t wait for your children to come to you with questions. Talk to them about their changing bodies before they experience the changes.
2. Toddlers ask questions, so talk them through the changes they experience.
3. Children (around the age of 8) should be aware of the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty.
4. The average age for puberty to start is around 11 for boys and 10 for girls.
5. Puberty doesn’t usually come earlier than the age of 7-8 for girls and age 9 for boys. If it does come earlier than this, then it is referred to as precocious puberty and may be a sign of a health issue that requires the attention of a qualified medical professional.
6. Talk to your girls about menstruation before they get their period. Waiting till after can cause emotional distress and confusion.
7. Let your boys understand that they are beginning to develop sexually and talk to them about their first ejaculation.
8. Boys should be taught about the changes young girls go through and the same applies vice-versa.
9. Reassure your children that the changes they are going to experience are normal and that they mustn’t feel insecure and alone.
10. Let them know that the timing of these changes varies from person to person. The last thing you want is your child to feel awkward if they’re experiencing puberty before their peers.
11. Brush up on the basics. Don’t walk into a conversation without all the facts. Here are some of the changes your children can expect to experience:
Our guide outlines the facts based on research from several online and offline resources. If you are in doubt or worried about your child for any reason, consult with a qualified and certified mental health professional or medical doctor.
Reviewed by: Dr. Melanie Schlatter
Date reviewed: 14th November, 2018