Puberty is a time of adjustment. Your child’s body will go through many physical, emotional, and social changes. Read on to gain a better understanding of the changes your child will be going through during this important developmental period so you can explain everything to them with dignity and respect.
Respect the Process
Helping your child through puberty requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to learn. Your child will need ongoing support and discussions about puberty. It’s important to recognize everyone’s puberty journey is different, and they may reach milestones at different times.
You should also be open to their questions and concerns. Respecting the process means acknowledging they may have different experiences and perspectives from yours and may need support as they grow and change.
Use Correct Terms
Using correct terms is an important part of teaching your child about puberty, as it helps them develop a clear and accurate understanding of their body and its functions. This includes using proper medical terminology for reproductive anatomy and discussing menstruation and sexual health without euphemisms or slang.
In addition to promoting accurate understanding, using correct terms can have important practical benefits, such as helping your child prevent or resolve specific issues. For example, according to The Good Body, using physical therapy to address issues such as pelvic pain and incontinence can reduce the overall cost of patient care by 72%.
Similarly, it’s important to emphasize that any child assigned female at birth and of reproductive age can seek care from a gynecologist. This includes those who are just starting puberty as well as adults. Using correct terms and emphasizing the importance of seeking medical care for reproductive health concerns can help your child feel empowered to take control of their health and well-being as she grows and develops.
Be Honest About What’s to Come
One important aspect of teaching your child about puberty is being honest about what to expect as she goes through this stage of development. As part of this conversation, it can be helpful to let them know gynecologists are doctors specializing in women’s reproductive health and can provide care for girls and women at any age.
Beginning gynecological care between the ages of 13 and 15 is advocated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This initial visit may focus on education and counseling about reproductive health and may not include a pelvic exam or other invasive procedures. However, it can be a valuable opportunity for your child to ask questions, get information about contraception, and develop a relationship with a healthcare provider who can provide ongoing support as they mature.
Answer Them Questions
Answering your child’s questions about puberty is essential for helping them understand and navigate this stage of development. It’s crucial to foster an environment in which they feel comfortable asking questions and voicing concerns.
Be sure to inform your child that it’s okay to ask questions in school, too. Since 60% to 80% of private school teachers typically hold master’s degrees, your child’s health teacher will also be an important resource to utilize. Giving them many avenues to ask questions can help them feel more confident and informed about their body and its changes.
Teaching your child about puberty is essential to helping them navigate a tricky chapter of their life. It’s important to be open and honest and listen to your child’s questions and concerns, even if the topic is uncomfortable. Helping them through this difficult time can set them up for a lifetime of good health and well-being.