Family - 3 girls of different ages with mum

What is Puberty?
Apart from the first year of life the most growing that your children do happens during puberty.  Puberty is the period in children's lives when they experience physical changes by which their bodies eventually become adult bodies that are capable of reproducing. This can happen as early as 9 or 10 in some females and as early as 10 or 11 in some males so it is important you speak your child or young person from an early age to prepare them. The changes both girls and boys experience are listed below:


Increase in the production of the hormone Oestrogen
Increase in the production of the hormone testosterone
May develop acne
May develop acne
Perspiration may increase which may cause body odour
Perspiration may increase which may cause body odour
Hair will grow on the body
Hair will grow on the body
Body will grow taller
Body will grow taller
Hips broaden
Shoulders and chest broaden
Breasts develop
Testes and scrotal sac develop
Pubic hair develops
Pubic hair develops
Underarm and leg hair grows
Penis grows
Menstruation begins
Voice deepens
Wet dreams may occur
Underarm, leg hair, chest hair and facial hair grows


Emotional Changes
Children will experience a range of feelings during puberty. As hormones trigger physical changes they also affect how the individual feels. Children may have mood swings, feel uncertain, feel overly-sensitive, feel conscious about themselves, have problems with their identities and peer pressure. Some children may experience mood swings with some feeling confident and positive about what they are becoming to feeling nervous and withdrawn about the changes that are occurring. An increased interest in their appearance is often coupled with the development of romantic feelings towards their peers. Whilst every child is an individual it is important to reassure your child that what they are experiencing is totally normal.   

Social Changes
During puberty many young people seek increased independence. They tend to shift from spending time with their family to spending more time with their friends and peers. Although this can be difficult for the parent to accept it is crucial the lines of communication remain open. This ensures the child can remain socially and emotionally connected to their family whilst at the same time exploring their individual identities, friendships and relationships.
Puberty is a time of huge change in a child's life where many physical, social and emotional changes occur. It is a time when new feelings are experienced and where the child may start to explore their own sexuality. All of this is quite normal.
More information and advice on puberty can be found here



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