Most would agree that the teen years are the best years of our lives. Though we were lacking in financial independence, it is during these years that we got to fearlessly face the world around us and discovered our true identity. However, the onset of our teenage years isn’t remembered as fondly. Remember that awkward stage between childhood and young adulthood? Perhaps, you’ve chosen to forget those embarrassing prepubescent years. Alas, if you now have kids of your own, these cannot be kept hidden in the depths of your memory. They must be unearthed for you to be able to help your own kids adjust to the many changes they will undergo as they enter their teens.
Children’s bodies will change in different ways and at different times. Most often, physical changes occur between 10 and 12 years old but may start as early as 8 years old or as late as 13 years old. In both genders, changes in body shape and height occur along with growth of pubic and body hair. Some unfortunate ones also have to deal with acne. There are changes though which are unique to each gender.
Physical Changes in Girls
Among the physical changes unique to girls are breast development and the start of menstruation. Their bodies start getting a womanly shape – curvier and with wider hips. As their hips widen and breasts develop, they might feel that they are getting fat and try to lose weight so it’s important for you to explain to them these changes beforehand. As early as 8, orient them in the changes that their body would undergo. You really wouldn’t want them to freak out once they see that first vaginal secretion or blood from menstruation.
Physical Changes in Boys
In boys, the journey to adulthood is heralded by a change in their voice, a growth of their penis and testicles, and involuntary erections with ejaculation. Their Adam’s apple becomes more prominent as their voices turn squeaky then deep. Their penis gets longer and wider while their testicles get larger. Sometimes, their breasts may look like they’re also developing but this goes away at the end of puberty. Erections are quite normal at this stage and are not associated with lewd thoughts. These erections are often embarrassing to young boys so you must assure them that this is perfectly normal.
Along with these physical changes, your children will also have to deal with emotional and psychological changes. It is very important that you as a parent be there to guide them during this stage. Hormonal changes also bring about mood changes and their feelings get all mixed up. As your child goes through this overly self-conscious stage, shower them with admiration and appreciation to boost their self-esteem. Most importantly, encourage them to enjoy this stage of their life to the fullest.