You’ve gone through the ups and downs of puberty. Now, your tween will be going through the transition of being a child to a teen. Of course, you’d expect this to be a hell of a ride – not for your tween alone, but for parents and the whole family.
While you are aware that the puberty phase does have an ending, your tween is currently in it and she won’t realize that the trials confronting her are only short-term, which will most probably create more serious problems for her. But you can help her through this confusing and daunting stage of her life, with just a little time of your day, some patience and empathy, and a whole lot of love for your tween.
However, before we go right to it, let’s understand puberty better.
Puberty is a transformation that everyday undergoes. It is a period of change where the child’s body changes to that of an adult. The increased hormones will result in various growth processes in girls and boys and may potentially cause chaos within a teen’s personal emotions, including their skin and body. The transformation is completed in a maximum of four years, and every child will develop and transition at different speeds than their friends.
It is not uncommon for kids to compare themselves to those who are also going through the same phase as them, and sometimes they may be frustrated that some of their peers are maturing early or late compared to them.
Puberty in Boys
Families will most likely see the signs of puberty in boys when they are 11 or 12 years old. At this age, their voice deepens and their muscles grow. You’ll also notice that hair from male sex organs and armpits are starting to grow, including physical growth in the organ and the testicles as well. Other physical signs will also include body odor, growth spurts, and acne.
Puberty in Girls
For girls, puberty comes earlier, perhaps by 8 or 9, which is not extraordinary at all, and menstruation may start when they are 11 or 12 years old. Like the boys, girls also present with physical signs such as breast development, pubic and underarm hair growth, body odor, menstruation, growth spurts, and facial acne.
There are girls who show signs of maturity before they reach 8, which is an abnormal condition known as precocious puberty. This is definitely treatable and should be assessed by a pediatrician.
Helping your Tween Survive Puberty
The initial step to take in helping your tween go through the ups and downs of this confusing stage is to prepare her for the foreseeable changes. Teens have sex education classes that will definitely touch on the topic of puberty and will answer almost all of your child’s curious and personal queries. If not, assure your tween that you are there to answer them and not hesitate to ask you.
One day, your daughter will have to know the directions of using a tampon or a pad, or your tween son must know how to deal with the annoying growth spurts or how to shave. Make sure you provide them with the tools that they need to achieve what must be done.
Your tween might also require information about personal hygiene, so help her learn the proper way to clean her body while in the shower, how to use a deodorant, and other hygiene practices. If you’re not very comfortable teaching her, assign someone who can, probably her older sibling, a cousin, or a close friend. If you don’t have any of these resources, you can always find a great online site that can provide her with personal hygiene information and tools.
Tweens frequently experience erratic mood changes and other emotional flare-ups, so be patient with your child. She must learn to be aware of her own behaviors that are not appropriate, and at the same time, you’ll have to know when it is fine to let her vent and release her frustrations, irritability, and other emotions.
By now, you know almost everything about your child’s personality so it would be wise to trust your intuition when you decide on how you will deal with her. Help her deal with her erratic emotions as well. Often, time alone with your tween can really help, or some exercise like walks or runs could do wonders. When you give her positive distractions, you are giving your tween time to let her think about what she’s going through and then try to fix her problem internally.
Pay Attention to the Physical Transition
Your tween is developing and growing and you should pay attention to the physical changes that come with it. Depending on what kind of day it is, your child may either be scared or excited about these changes. Don’t ever ignore these feelings. Your tween may be worried about pimples, painful breasts, and voice changes, among other changes. Offer help and support to your tween and as a parent or family member, assure her that you understand what she’s going through. Acne is particularly worrisome for tweens so make sure that you address the issue. If possible, talk to your tween’s pediatrician for professional advice on how to manage it medically.
The teenage and adolescence phases, which make up the puberty period, are generally stressful, despite possible positive situations. As parents, you must make sure that your tween has an outlet for her anxieties and worries. Sports, exercise, and other fun activities are great ways to distract her from puberty issues and provide her a means to move forward. Ultimately, commit to making time with your tween as a parent or as a family member.