Mention the word “puberty” and most parents cringe.
Mention the word “puberty” and most parents cringe. Most parents remember their own parents cringing! We get it, it's not easy talking to your “babies” about adult topics. But with many children showing body changes earlier than ever, some as young as 7/8 years old it’s so important for us parents to be ready to talk about puberty. With so much information so readily available online it is important your child hears the correct information from a source they can trust.
Here are some helpful tips when the time comes:
- Make the first move. Don’t wait for your child to come to you- that may never happen. Assure your child they can come to you and talk about this sensitive topic. Experts say by 8 years old children should know the emotional and physical changes associated with puberty.
- Talk, talk, talk. Be as open and honest with your child as you can. There are ways to talk to children of all ages about puberty so just adapt what you say to as much as you feel your child is ready for. Don’t ever lie, some parts of it can be held back a little but never lie. They need to be able to trust you. By talking to your child about puberty, you’re also letting them know they can turn to you for support, guidance, and information.
- For girls, it is very important for parents to talk to their daughters about menstruation before they actually get their first period. It can be a very frightening experience for a girl even when prepared. Most girls get their first period around 12/13. But this is 2/3 years after they have started puberty.
- Timing for boys. On average boys go through puberty a little later than girls at around 11/12. But it is just as important for boys to know the changes that will be happening within their bodies too.
- Be Prepared. It may be overwhelming for your child to hear all this new information, so it is important for the parent to remain calm. It can help if you’re confident on the subject. So, before you talk to your child and answer any questions they may have to make sure your own questions have been answered. If you’re not entirely comfortable talking about puberty, practice what you want to say first so when the time comes you will be confident speaking with your child.