When your daughter who used to like playing with Barbies starts to slam doors and spend most of her time glued to her smart phone, it is likely that puberty is about to arrive. Typically, puberty starts at the age of 9–14 years. For some teens, the transformation happen suddenly overnight while others enter into , without any major turmoil. For the teen, this period of life can be excitingbut it can also raise a number of questions to which you as an adult should answer in an encouraging and loving manner.
You should start the discussions about topics related to puberty, such as menstruation, hair growth, and sexuality, well in advance and at the time when the parent-child relationship is still straightforward and it still feels natural to talk about any subject. Puberty and the related changes should be talked about in a positive sense, even if the truth can sometimes be very different. A teen going through the ups and downs of puberty needs supportive comments about her appearance as she is in the process of establishing her self-image. Complimenting and encouraging your child is an excellent way to boost her self-esteem in the midst of the transformation. You should remind your child that every teen develops at their own pace, and children of the same age go through the changes at different times.
Talk about the physical changes openly and using your own experiences as an example. Don’t be embarrassed to talk about these subjects, but use these discussions as a chance to reminiscence your own puberty. How did your first period feel like? How did you feel when you bought your first bra? How did the first crush make you feel?
You should discuss with the teen what it means when the body starts to mature into a body of an adult. Tell your child that the arrival of the period means that she can become pregnant. Adulthood means more responsibilities but also more liberties and new opportunities. Intimidation and threats are not the most effective means of communication; you should talk about these issues with your teen openly, while fully respecting the innocence and inexperience of your child.
Along with puberty usually comes emotional turmoil which can sometimes even take comic turns. Communication, love and boundaries – remember these three principles and the teen years can result in an even closer relationship between you and your child in the future.