Tips for Talking to Your Tweens About Puberty

Mother and daughter conversing in living room

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Puberty can be a confusing time for a tween, and for parents. As a child changes, so does his mood, body, interests, and even family dynamics can change. While you may prefer that your child remain little forever, puberty is coming, and that means you have to prepare. Here's what parents should know before their child hits puberty. And don't worry, talking with your tween about puberty doesn't have to be uncomfortable, as long as you're prepared.

Puberty Basics You Should Know

Tweens change at their own pace, and that can make things awkward for those who enter puberty before or after their peers. Early puberty can have a significant impact on your child, and you need to know the challenges your child may face if puberty arrives sooner rather than later.

Discuss concerns with your pediatrician, so that you can help your tween handle harassment from peers, inappropriate behavior, and concerns your tween may have.

Girls typically begin experiencing the first signs of puberty between the ages of 8 and 12. Boys begin later, typically between the ages of 9 and 14.

Talking About Those Changes

Puberty is all about change, and to a tween, change can be pretty scary. Be sure you know what to expect, so you can prepare your child for the changes ahead and talk to him about puberty and its challenges and rewards. Keep in mind that some tweens adjust easily to change, while others find it stressful and depressing. Be prepared to have several discussions over the course of the puberty experience, rather than one long conversation. And make sure your tween knows that you are always available to talk about anything that might be bothering him or her.

Resources for Girls

There are a number of resources available to girls approaching puberty. Books and kits range from very informative to just covering the basics. Decide which approach is best for your tween, then shop around for one that works for her.

Resources for Boys

There just don't seem to be as many resources for boys entering puberty as there are for girls. But it only takes one good source to give your child the information, and confidence he needs.

Making it Positive

It's easy for tweens to only see the negatives about growing older, and changing. But puberty isn't all bad. Be sure you point out the positive aspects of change, growing up, taking on more responsibility, and learning more things.

Other Considerations

It can be uncomfortable and exciting to see your tween take an interest in the opposite sex, dating, and growing up. Life happens pretty quickly, so be sure you're prepared for the changes ahead, in order to discuss family values, expectations, responsibilities, and more.

Just for Girls

Girls often worry that they'll get their first period while they're away from home. Be sure you prepare your daughter for the experience ahead of time, in case you can't be there when the time comes.

By Jennifer O'Donnell
Jennifer O'Donnell holds a BA in English and has training in specific areas regarding tweens, covering parenting for over 8 years.