Coming into the age of puberty is, without a doubt, one of the most awkward, anxiety-inducing and stressful times in both a child and parent’s life. However, learning to navigate the unique road of a child’s changing body is imperative for their future health and sexual experiences. While you may be nervous approaching your young one about their upcoming change, here are some strategies, ideas and tips to make the conversation a breeze.
If you can remember back to your teenage years, you may remember learning about changes in sexual biology from friends, television shows and your school’s educational programs. Your child is learning about his or her body from all these places, too. The best resource should be their parents and pediatrician. Here are some ideas to entertain when approaching your child:
Normalize periods, menstruation and discussions about reproductive health.
If your child is male, discuss the role of testosterone in their body.
Expect bouts of emotional instability, anger, sadness and erratic behavior.
Discuss biological health and safe-sex practices.
Encourage the use of hygienic products.
Remember, puberty is a moment in a child’s life when they feel the most insecure, so, as a parent, you must encourage them to express their hardships and feelings. With young women, their bodies can fluctuate quite drastically in a short time. Occurrences such as widening of the hips, breast development and hair growth can be topics to explore with them as the months and weeks progress.
Similarly, boys begin to develop a deeper voice as their testosterone levels start to rise. Unlike their female counterparts, boys tend to transition into puberty a little later than girls. During this period, we must encourage young men to be understanding, complimentary and open-minded when dealing with the changes of the opposite sex.
The underlying components behind proper education during your child’s developmental phase are communication and understanding. Avoid critical phrases or judgemental tones when discussing dilemmas your child may be facing in school and their personal lives. In conjunction with this, don’t be afraid to educate your child on sex-safe practices, such as the use of condoms and protective products. By keeping these topics and strategies in mind when entering puberty, you can help give your child a less stressful transition into adult-hood.