Changes Associated with Puberty
Puberty generally occurs during pre-adolescence and is a time of significant physical and psychological changes in your child. These transformations are completely normal, all children go through it, and it is a natural part of transitioning into adulthood.
- Acne (some may have very little while others may have a lot)
- Voice changes
- Muscle growth and hair growth on the face, legs, armpits, and torso
- Widening of the hips
- Hair growth
- First period
- First ejaculation
- Breast growth, which can cause mild pain
- Increase or decrease in self-confidence
- Changes in relationships with others as changes in interests and needs evolve
What Should I Expect as a Parent?
In addition to the physical changes associated with puberty, the pre-adolescent phase, which is when puberty normally begins, is also when your young adult may start to have new needs. At this age they may:
- Express a greater desire for privacy. Modesty may become more important.
- Have an increasing number of questions about sexuality and related emotions (i.e. the difference between friendship and love).
- They both want their privacy but also need you as their parent to continue to provide them with reassurances.
The time when your child is experiencing puberty-related changes is also a time that pre-adolescents may also feel discomfort and embarrassment. We can give them advice and information so that they know we are open to talking about it, but more often than not, it is a time when they want and need increasing levels of autonomy. Your teen may appear to be resistant to all your suggestions, but often they will still listen to and register your advice. Don’t hesitate to offer help or recommend places where they can look things up privately (i.e. the Tel-jeunes website or books about puberty). It is important to strike a balance between offering help and allowing them to discover things at their own speed.