As a parent, you know that your child is always going through different phases in their life. As soon as you think you have a handle on the phase they’re currently in, something changes and you have to reevaluate what you thought you knew.
One change that comes for all teens and parents is the onset of puberty. In some families, puberty can be something embarrassing to talk about, which can often leave the teen going through puberty feeling confused or overwhelmed. So to help ensure that this doesn’t happen to your child, here are three tips for speaking with your tween about entering puberty.
Start The Conversation Early
While you might think of puberty not really hitting until your child is in their teens, Joan Lowell, a contributor to LifeHack.org, reminds us that most schools have “the puberty talk” with students in 5th grade. Now, if you want your child to know more than what they’re going to get briefly told while in class, you might want to start your conversation with them even earlier than this.
By bringing up puberty before it happens, you can prepare your tween for the changes that will inevitably take place. Ideally, these conversations should happen multiple times over multiple ages, giving your tween time to process what they’ve learned, ask additional questions, and mentally prepare for what’s to come in the near future.
Brush Up On What To Teach Them
Before you really start into having conversations about puberty, you might first create a vague plan for what you’ll address with your tween. Bodies change differently for boys and girls, so the information you give will vary based on the gender of your child.
According to Dr. Steven Dowshen, a contributor to KidsHealth.org, you should share with your tween about how their body will change, getting rounder and fuller for girls while most boys will start to grow taller and see changes with their genitals and their voices. You should also discuss hygiene issues, like how new hair will grow in various places and how to use a safety razor for hair removal. Girls should also be told about menstruation while boys should be informed about things like wet dreams.
Make It A Positive Experience
All of these new things happen to and inside of your tween’s body can be kind of scary and overwhelming, especially if your tween is one of the first or last of their peers to experience it. So to take some of the pressure off, Jennifer O’Donnell, a contributor to Very Well Family, suggests that you do your best to make this a positive experience for your tween.
Try to speak about all these changes in a positive light and share how these changes also bring about things like more responsibilities or privileges and growing up in a good way.
If you have a child that’s nearing the age of puberty, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you prepare to speak with your tween about the coming changes they’ll experience.