Beginning Puberty & Growing Up
There comes a time in all of our lives where we finally hit the puberty stage. Watching your child reach puberty can be bittersweet. It’s clear that your baby is no longer a baby, and it’s thrilling to watch your baby become an adult. Puberty is the beginning stage of your child’s physical maturity. If your child is beginning puberty and you have questions about how to support his wellness during this time, call Dr. Moemeka, your Coppell pediatrician, today.
At age 11, Dr. Moemeka will start talking to you about allowing your child to speak with her alone. As your child’s body is changing, there may be some things that he needs to talk about or ask without the pressure of having her parents in the room. While you do not need to consent to allowing your child to speak with Dr. Moemeka alone until she is 13, we do encourage it.
What is puberty?
During puberty, our bodies go through many changes that indicate sexual maturity and prepare us for adulthood. As a school-age kid, this can be stressful and confusing. Your child may experience a whirlwind of emotions and physical changes that can seem overwhelming and confusing and downright hard to keep track of. Well, you’ve been there.
Puberty is different for everyone. According to Child Development Institute, girls can start puberty between the ages of 8 and 13, and boys generally start between 10 and 14. It’s a process that will take place over the course of several years, but watching your child become an adult is a beautiful experience.
How does the body work?
Puberty has a way of changing everything. Your child will have hair growing everywhere, acne may make its grand entrance, and the sexual organs will start behaving, well, like sexual organs. He will even start to smell different as he develops distinct odors produced by glands in his skin. While many experiences are universal, males and females undergo different changes in their bodies during puberty.
Puberty is controlled by natural hormones in the body. For boys, puberty is a signal to the testicles that its time to start creating testosterone, the hormone that causes most of the changes that a boy will experience during puberty.
Eventually, boys will also start to grow facial, body, and pubic hair. They will also notice that their voices are beginning to crack and become deeper over time.
Females tend to start puberty before males. In girls, the hormones target the ovaries, signaling them to start creating estrogen. These hormones prepare a girl’s body to start her period and reach sexual maturity.
During puberty, girls will start to grow hair under their arms as well as the pubic area. As they grow, the hair becomes longer and thicker. Girls’ bodies also usually become curvier and their breasts begin to develop.
How will my child feel?
Hormones not only create changes in the body, but they also affect how your child feels. During puberty, your child may feel like he’s on a roller coaster. No need to worry. This is totally normal!
He may experience the following:
- Lack of confidence in his new body
- Feelings of awkwardness or confusion
- Increase tension amongst his friend group
- Feelings of anger or increased irritability
Sometimes these changes can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remind him that he’s not alone. Like other kids beginning puberty, he’s going through a period of important change in his life. If you or your child have questions or concerns, Dr. Moemeka is here to guide you through this change!
Taking care of yourself during puberty
Get Enough Sleep
Your child’s changing body needs sleep and a lot of it! Puberty is exhausting, so getting at least 9 hours of sleep each night is important to your child’s health. Sleeping in isn’t a sign of laziness. He needs all the rest they can get.
Food and Exercise
If your child is experiencing frequent hunger during puberty, don’t worry. It’s completely normal! Eating a balanced diet as well as staying active and moving his body is important to his overall health—especially during this time.
Some ways your child can stay active are:
- Getting outside and taking a walk
- Use the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator
- Walk the dog
- Go swimming, biking, or running
- Get involved in school sports
If your child is beginning puberty, come talk to Dr. Moemeka to get your questions answered! Call Mark9 Pediatrics today at (972) 325-2005 today or request an appointment online to reserve your appointment.