Communicating Concepts

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The Puberty Talk

Have you had discussions with your child about what happens during puberty?
       It is the responsibility of the parents to prepare them for the physical changes that are associated with puberty. Puberty usually starts some time between age 8 and 13 in girls and 9 and 14 in guys. Some children may start puberty a bit earlier or later. There is discussion that intense participation in sports may delay puberty in girls.

       There is far too much of information about sex and relationships that is acquired from TV, movies, magazines, and popular songs.

       The site Teens Health provides an excellent list of articles that covers various subjects associated with puberty:

Peer Discussion with Sexual Themes
       Both boys and girls have discussions about the opposite sex that usually start prior to their own physical body changes. Frequently the information is not factually correct. Children at this age can become very sensitive about these changes and do not want to shower after participating in gym classes or sports practices.

       Universal access to the Internet is fast becoming a reality so it is natural to assume that by the time they approach puberty, they may have explored internet sites to formulate ideas about sex and personal relationships. Most schools have sex education classes, but discussing the issues of puberty still is the most important responsibility for parents to insure information comes from a reliable source.

       Beginning as a toddler, kids ask lots of questions. Most of your discussions probably have started as a result of your child's inquiries.  Parents should use these opportunities to start talking to your child about the changes their bodies will go through as they grow. 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 senses you are uncomfortable with topics dealing with sex.

       Be honest and foresight in how you answer your child's questions about puberty honestly and openly. Don't wait for your child to initiate a discussion. By the time kids are 8 years old, they should know what physical and emotional changes are associated with puberty. If that seems young, consider that some girls are wearing training bras by then and some boys' voices begin to change just a few years later.

Kids should know about puberty before they begin to experience changes in their bodies.
       It is critical that parents of girls talk about menstruation before their actually gets their first period. Girls can be frightened by the sight and location of blood if they are unaware of what is occurring. 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 they begin puberty. However,  some girls get their periods as early as age 9 while others get it as late as age 16.

       Generally boys begin to experience puberty a little later than girls, usually around age 11 or 12. However, they may begin to develop sexually or have their first ejaculation without developing facial or pubic hair first.

       The sex education at schools are often segregated, and the girls hear primarily about menstruation and training bras while the boys hear about erections and changing voices. Educators consider it is important for boys and girls learn about the changes each other will go through. It's a good idea to review the curriculum for the sex education classes with your child. Many kids will still have questions about certain topics, especially ones they were uncomfortable able discussing in class in front of their peers.

Suggested Readings:

Talking to Your Child About Puberty  Talking to kids about puberty is an important job for parents, especially because kids often hear about sex and relationships from unreliable sources.

Understanding Puberty  Stages of Puberty; For a Boy; For a Girl; Common Puberty Concerns.

Your Preteen and Puberty  Your preteen will try new things and want even more independence. She will ... Try to start talking about puberty before your child experiences it.

Answer - Books for Parents and Their Preteens Ages 9-13  Talking to Your Kids about Sex: A Go Parents! Guide.

Talking to Kids about Puberty - KidsGrowth It is less embarrassing for both the parent and the child when the facts are printed on a page. A list of recommended books suitable for various ages of children provide great icebreakers as a starting point for discussing different topics in the books.

Puberty - Kids' Health Center - EverydayHealth.com  Feb. 4, 2009 ... Just when you think you have your children figured out, they approach puberty. Learn more about what to expect when they begin to start puberty.

Study: More U.S. girls starting puberty early - CNN.com Aug. 10, 2010 ... Girls in the United States are entering puberty at earlier ages than they have in the past, a new study reports.

Girls puberty  What are the Stages of Puberty for Girls? 

Boys Puberty Feb. 20, 2008 ... This body development is called puberty. At the start of puberty you will notice hair growing around your penis, under your arms, and on your ace, chest, and legs. Your testicles and penis are also growing. You may develop acne (pimples). Later in puberty, you will begin to grow taller and your voice will start to change and get lower.

References:

Relationships

Developing Personality Traits and Character Traits

Resources:

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:

Effect Of Puberty on Adolescents
The Puberty Talk
Teenage Athletes & Puberty
PDF  Puberty
PDF  What Happens During Puberty
PDF  Puberty Information Resources
PDF  Puberty & Sports in Female Adolescents
PDF  Female Gymnasts: Training & Growth

All materials are copy protected. 

The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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