Puberty is the time in a child’s life where the body starts to mature, moving them closer to adulthood. Hormone levels in the body control when puberty will occur and how long it will last. Puberty ages can run in the family, yet other factors can figure into the exact age as well.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone control when puberty will begin in girls. This usually happens between the ages of 8 and 15, but keep in mind that there is no set age and puberty can begin earlier or later. Girls will notice breast development approximately 2 years before their first menstrual cycle begins.
The hormone testosterone controls when puberty will begin in boys. This generally happens between the ages of 10 and 14 years old, yet again, keep in mind that all children develop at their body’s own speed and these ages are merely a guideline. The first sign of puberty in boys is a growth in testicle size.
Signs of Puberty:
There are many signs of puberty in both boys and girls, and many are the same in both genders. Moodiness, increased hair growth, body growth (growing taller, increased muscles, breast growth in girls), increased appetite, oily skin & acne will happen in both boys and girls. The onset of a menstrual cycle is the final sign of puberty for girls.
Factors For Early Puberty:
Early, or premature, puberty can have many causes. Genetics is the most common reason for early puberty. However, there are time when early puberty is brought on by abnormal hormone levels or a brain injury or tumor. It’s always a good idea to inform your family doctor about your child’s early puberty. In addition, late puberty should also be reported as it could be caused by inadequate hormone levels, which can be treated with medication.
Help your child understand that puberty is a normal process of growth. You’ve been through it, try to remember how you felt. Without puberty there would be no adults. Some people go through puberty faster than others, with it lasting 2 to 3 years. And others will mature at a slower rate with puberty lasting 4 to 5 years. There’s no right or wrong age, or length of time when it comes to puberty. It will happen when it happens and your body will mature at its own rate of speed.
There are a lot of good books on the market for explaining puberty to children on their level. There are many other books on the same subject–some are geared toward the child and some are to be read by the parents. Choose a book that conveys what you want to say to your child, or that you think would ease your child’s fears about puberty and growing up. “The Care and Keeping of You:The Body Book For Girls” by Valorie Schaefer is a useful source of information for girls on puberty, bodily hygiene and their emotional changes. A good book for boys is “What’s Going on Down There?: Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask” by Karen Gravelle.