As kids approach puberty, it can be a very confusing time for tweens, nevermind us, parents. We all just want our kids to stay little forever, right?
Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. And parents will need to prepare their children by talking about all the changes that will occur over the coming years, and what to expect. If this is new territory, worry not, we have you covered. Here are our top tips on how to talk to your tween about puberty:
Been there, done that
First and foremost, think back to when you were a child and how your parents told you. Was it awkward? Were you embarrassed? Try to make it as normal as possible and not just one big conversation that will never be mentioned, or spoke about again. By having an open household, your child is more likely to reach out to you if they ever have any questions.
When to start
How and when to talk to your child about puberty is totally up to you. It is recommended, however, for you talk to your child through the physical stages before it actually happens. This will ensure that they know what is happening to their body, and to be prepared. It is also essential to talk about periods before your daughter gets them, which is usually around two years from the onset of puberty.
Talk about all changes
When parents talk about puberty, they tend to only talk about the physical changes that happen, but it is equally as important to talk about the emotional changes that occur. Mood swings are real, and they might be feeling self-conscious as they try to discover who they are and where they fit in the world. It's an important topic when talking about puberty with your child.
Keep it super simple
If it's your first conversation about puberty with your child, try to keep it short and sweet. Don't overwhelm them with too much information. Talking about puberty doesn't have to be a single sit down chat where you tell them everything. Instead, have brief discussions over a long period of time. It can be weeks, months, or even years.
Be open and honest
Be available to your child and answer any questions they may have. Don't worry if you don't know the factual answer - you can always look it up together. Children are exposed to a lot of misinformation, especially among their peers. Debunk any crap they may have been fed and use it as an opportunity to talk about the changes of both sexes.
Need to know
For girls they will become more rounded, breasts will start to grow, they will get pubic hair, and of course, they will menstruate. For boys, their testicles and penis will grow larger, their voice will become deeper, facial and pubic hair will grow, and they might ejaculate in their sleep, known as a wet dream. Both girls and boys will have a growth spurt, sweat more, and in some cases, they will get acne.
Another important topic to discuss during puberty is talking about consent, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and of course, safe sex.