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How To Outwit Your Teenager

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Is Your Child Struggling With Puberty?

April 23rd, 2009 · 3 Comments


Have you noticed that some of your teenager’s friends have raced ahead in their physical development? Is your daughter’s best friend suddenly wearing a D-cup while your daughter is still in her training bra? Has your son’s voice only just started to break while his mates are already shaving regularly?

The problem with puberty is that it doesn’t have a strict schedule. It affects every child differently, some as early as nine years old and some very late into their teens. The biggest issue with that is that it’s so damn obvious – especially to our teenagers. And for most teenagers, fitting in is high on their list of priorities.

I always thought that later was better than early because I was a relatively late developer and saw how difficult puberty was for some of my girlfriends who were hit with it in primary school. But then it depends on the situation and group of friends. Most of my friends went through puberty at the same time as me. We grew taller together, started shaving our legs the same summer and bought our first bra within weeks of each other.

The daughter of a friend is in her first year of high school and suffering badly. All of her friends have raced ahead in their physical development – for girls it’s really obvious. She is still small in stature and flat-chested. The rest have larger breasts than many adult women and now also tower over her. She went from being a leader of her group to feeling completely out of the circle. And her body is the traitor.

My son appeared to go through puberty at about the same pace as most of his friends, and that’s probably the best you can hope for. They shot up in height within about six months of each other and their voices started to break at roughly the same time. All of them look as though they have small caterpillars nestling on their upper lip, which means shaving is just around the corner. If it happens in synch, then the process is much simpler. My son appears to have embraced his physical development. As he says, “well it’s happening to everyone, isn’t it?”

But what if it doesn’t appear to be happening to your child – yet, as in my friend’s daughter’s case? What can you do to prop up their self-esteem and unnatural concerns?

The Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service website has some good advice for how parents can support their teenagers during the puberty years.

Advice for how parents can support girls includes:
# “If her period does not start when her friends are starting, reassure her that it will happen. Some girls like to wear a bra before they need one to feel part of the group. A soft bra, like a sports bra, can be good to start with.”
# “Consult a doctor if she has not had a period by the time she is 16 or 17, or if periods stop after they have started.”

Advice for how parents can support boys includes:
# “Reassure the boy, if he is concerned because he is very thin and tall, that he will probably gain weight as he gets older.”
# “If a boy is worried about the size of his penis, reassure him that sexual functioning does not depend on penile size, and that erect penises are usually very similar in size.”

Puberty’s a minefield, but one that they shouldn’t have to navigate alone.


Tags: Body Image · Puberty · Self-esteem

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Go HERE // Jul 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Inspiring story there. What happened after?

  • 2 Sundance // Oct 4, 2012 at 10:44 am

    That’s a sensible answer to a chlalenging question

  • 3 Oscar // Jan 6, 2015 at 12:51 am

    GD Star Ratingloading…I think that 14 year old girl was the youngest teen mom i’ve ever seen..yeah, its a big big big mskiate, but it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person..i wish all 3 of them the best.GD Star Ratingloading…

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