By Analissa Louden

A lot of parents fear this stage of their children’s life, but everyone is going to go through it, so you better be prepared, and the parent isn’t the only one who needs to be prepared. You also want your child to know what puberty is and what changes are going to be occurring. Children who don’t know will often feel ashamed and insecure about their bodies. Therefore, make sure to prepare them, but when do you do this?

Starting at an early age

You may be shocked, but it’s smart to start talking to your child about puberty when they’re as old as 6 or 7. Girls will start puberty somewhere between 8 and 12 years old, while boys are between 9 and 13 years old. Yet, studies have shown that children nowadays can be even younger, not to mention that there will always be a classmate that starts puberty early, and it can confuse your child if they don’t know what’s going on.

How to know your child is starting puberty

The first way to find out when your child is starting puberty is important to be aware of the stages so you can talk to them about it and of course it’s important for your children to know which changes they’ll be feeling first. For boys, it’s the increasing in size of the testes and body odor. For girls it’s breast budding, height increasing, pubic hairs and body odor as well.

What to talk about to your child

The first thing you want to tell your children about is the changes they’ll be noticing in their body, and focusing on the part that is completely normal, but that not everyone is the same. You want to explain to your boy about erections and wet dreams while you need to talk to your girl about menstruation. Body hair and the growth of certain body parts should also be mentioned, so the child knows that is going on.

Hopefully you’ve already talked to your children about sexual intercourse, but if you haven’t then this is definitely the time. Answer all the questions they have and try to talk about sex as a pleasurable experience, not something as a scary act to stay away from or to be scared of or to be ashamed of. The truth is that children with little to no knowledge on sex are the first to try it out, and not always safe.

Besides the physical aspects of puberty there is the emotional part. Children will be experiencing mood swings, identity crises and possibly feelings of insecurity. Your children need to know that this is okay and normal, and that they can always talk to you about it.

Finally, the way they behave socially will change, and you need to talk to them about this. Children will start developing crushes and want to hang out with both boys and girls. You could explain them a little bit about dating, to what extent it is possible and appropriate at that age. And once again, make sure to let them know that they can always talk to you.

When you talk to your children about all these matters then they will be as prepared for puberty as anyone could ever be. This will make them feel more confident during their puberty, which is a gift from heaven, as shame and insecurity can be a huge part of puberty, and not a fun part. Also, you will want to do this together with the other parent of the child or your partner, to make sure you are both on the same page regarding this situation to confirm your delivery and the message are consistent.

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Written by Cathy Griffin.
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