How should you support your teen who went through puberty early?

Children's bodies change as they grow, and they should know what to expect. Talking to children early so the changes don't come as a surprise is the foundation for sex education. Parents are the most reliable source of information for children, and the physical and emotional changes brought on by puberty can be very confusing, especially if your teen is going through early puberty. The average age for puberty is about 10 for girls and 12 for boys, but some children may show signs of puberty at the age of 8 or 9. Any earlier than that is considered early puberty, or precocious puberty. It is important for parents to realize the physical, emotional and even social implications of going through puberty at an early age, to help their child deal with these changes.

Children have to know that the changes they are experiencing are normal, even if they started before anyone else. They need to know that they are okay, and learn to accept the changes in their body even at a young age, when they may feel embarrassed. Parents should be aware of mood changes in their children, or any indication that they are being teased. A supportive environment for teens who go through puberty early will keep them from focusing on their sexual development and developing low self-esteem or depression. Appearance should not be the main issue; as the parent, you should focus on your child's achievements in school and encourage participation in extracurricular activities.

Although in most cases there is no medical reason for early puberty, sometimes it may signal an underlying health problem. If the physical signs of puberty are evident at an extremely early age, parents should consult their doctor.




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