Communicating Concepts

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  Communicating with Preteens

Start Early to Develop Communication
      Our kids are exposed to an excessive amount of mis-information about sex and relationships on TV, Internet, and "R" rated movies. By the time they approach puberty our children typically have been exposed to adult sexual themes. Yet, too many parents are still uncomfortable talking about the issues of puberty with their children. They delegate the parent's job to the school and complain because they are uncomfortable discussing the curriculum when they ask for help with their homework.

      Don't wait for your child to come to you with questions about his or her changing body as that day may never arrive, especially if your child doesn't know it's OK talk to you about this sensitive topic.

      Ideally, as a parent, you've already started talking to your preschool child about sex since they were a toddler, Kids have questions and most of your discussions probably come about as the result of your child's inquiries which will become more specific as they grow older.  Don't allow them to receive this important information from their buddies.

      It's important to answer these questions about puberty honestly and openly — but don't always wait for your child to initiate a discussion. By the time kids are 8 years old, they should know what physical and emotional/personality changes are associated with puberty. That may seem young, but consider this: some girls are wearing training bras by then and some boys' voices begin to change just a few years later.

The Timing With Boys and Girls
      It is vital that parents of girls talk about menstruation before they actually get their first period. If a pre pubescence girl is unaware of what's happening, they can be frightened by the appearance and location of the blood. Most girls get their first period when they're 12 or 13 years old, which is about two or two and a half years after beginning puberty. There are some girls who get their periods as early as age 9 and others get it as late as age 16.

Note: Participation in excessive physical activities of sports, ballet, etc. may cause delayed development in girls.

      On average, boys begin going through puberty a little later than girls, usually around age 11 or 12. But they may begin to develop sexually or have their first ejaculation without looking older, developing facial hair or their voice changing.

Note: Most males experience delayed growth spurts until age 14 unless they are engaged in intensive body building, weight lifting, and a diet whose goal is to "bulk" up the athletes
weight for sports like football.

      It is what kids don't know about their developing bodies that can be destructive. Kids should know what to expect about puberty before they begin to personally experience the changes in their bodies.

      Most kids have sex education courses at public and private schools. Often, though, the lessons are segregated, and the girls hear primarily about menstruation and training bras while the boys hear about erections and changing voices. It's important that girls learn about the changes boys go through and boys learn about those affecting girls, so check with teachers about their lesson plans so you know what gaps need to be filled. It's a good idea to review the lessons with your child, since kids often still have questions about certain topics.

References:

Pediatric Health and Injury Issues

Psychological Problems and Solutions

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The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:


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