Puberty: Everything You Need to Know!
18 January 2024
Puberty is a time of significant physical and hormonal changes that affect both boys and girls. While it is a natural and necessary part of growing up, it can also be a confusing and challenging time for both parents and children.
In this blog post, Dr Ch’ng Tong Wooi will provide you with everything you need to know about puberty, including when it typically starts, signs of puberty, and the consequences of early puberty.
When Does Puberty Start?
Puberty is a natural stage of development that marks the transition from childhood to adolescence. It is a period of rapid physical growth and hormonal changes that prepares the body for adulthood.
The onset of puberty varies for boys and girls but generally occurs between the ages of 8-13 for girls and 9-14 for boys.
Signs of Puberty
The signs of puberty can vary depending on whether you're a boy or a girl. For girls, the first sign of puberty is typically breast development, followed by the onset of menstruation. Other signs of puberty in girls may include the growth of pubic and underarm hair, the widening of the hips, and the onset of acne.
For boys, the first sign of puberty is usually testicle and scrotum enlargement, followed by the growth of pubic and underarm hair. Other signs of puberty in boys may include the deepening of the voice, the growth of facial and body hair, and the onset of acne.
Consequences of Early Puberty
While it's not uncommon for some children to start puberty earlier than others, early puberty can have some significant consequences.
For girls, early puberty can lead to a shorter stature and a decreased adult height. For boys, it can cause accelerated growth, which may result in a shorter adult height.
Early puberty can also cause emotional and social issues, as children may feel out of place among their peers.
Concerns about Delayed Puberty
Delayed puberty, on the other hand, can also be a cause for concern among parents. If a child hasn't started puberty by the age of 14 for boys and 13 for girls, it is advisable to seek medical attention.
Delayed puberty can be caused by a range of factors, including genetics, nutrition, and underlying medical conditions. Dr Ch’ng suggests that parents should monitor their child's growth and seek medical attention if necessary.
What Can You Do to Support Your Child?
Puberty can be a challenging time for children, and it is essential for parents to offer support and guidance during this stage of development. As a parent, there are several things you can do to help your child through the puberty process.
Here are some ways that parents can support their children through puberty:
- Start the Conversation Early It is important to start talking to children about puberty before it happens. This can help them understand what to expect and make the transition smoother. Use age-appropriate language and be open to answering any questions they may have.
- Be Available and Approachable Children going through puberty may have a lot of questions and concerns. Make sure you are available to listen to their worries and offer support. Let them know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns.
- Provide Accurate Information It is important to provide children with accurate information about puberty. There are many myths and misconceptions about puberty, and it is essential to correct any misinformation. Provide them with information about physical changes, hormonal changes, and emotional changes.
- Support Healthy Habits Puberty is a time when healthy habits are especially important. Encourage children to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep. This can help support their physical and emotional well-being during this time of change.
- Seek Professional Help If you have concerns about your child's development during puberty, seek professional help. A paediatrician can offer you guidance and support during this time.
Puberty is a natural and necessary part of growing up, but it can also be a challenging time for both parents and children. By understanding what to expect and taking steps to support your child's physical and emotional health, you can help them navigate this transition with confidence and ease.
If you have concerns about your child's puberty development, schedule an appointment to consult with paediatricians for guidance and support. https://www.sunwaymedical.com/en/speciality/paediatrics-surgeryBack