By Miracle Nwankwo
The puberty stage is very crucial in a child’s life and it may come with a bit of stress and confusion. This may be as a result of the growth that their bodies experience at the time. This stage can be very frightening if they have no one to talk or relate with. This is why, as a parent, you have to prepare them on time and be there for them when it finally comes knocking.
As a child, I knew a lot of my friends who changed from who they used to be immediately puberty set in. They suddenly became uncomfortable playing with other kids whose puberty were delayed. Most girls are often unprepared for puberty, so it takes them by storm and leaves them feeling differently about themselves. With the feeling of being different, they tend to withdraw from their peers and suddenly develop the culture of being by themselves. This is particularly true for girls whose parents were uninvolved in their growing experience and girls whose puberty began earlier than expected.
This lack of knowledge and preparedness suggests that more steps need to be taken to educate girls on the process of puberty and how to manage the changes taking place in their bodies. Parents must understand that puberty education is needed and it should be done early because the age of puberty development has been declining over the years.
According to Very Well Family, “Over the last 25 years, the age of puberty development has declined in the United States. In other words, girls are younger when they begin showing the first signs of puberty. In fact, for African-American girls especially, it is not uncommon to show the initial signs of development as early as age eight.”
Therefore starting early enough, explaining every detail without excluding any information will help your girl-child scale through the hurdles that comes with puberty.
Some experts have suggested age eight as a good time to start talking about puberty with your child. However, this may sound awkward to many parents who feel eight is too early to start the puberty talk. If you fall under this category of parents, bear in mind that some of your child’s friends may have started wearing training bras already or may have begun to experience hormonal changes (which occurs due to the activation of the hypothalamus, a regulator in the brain). Nonetheless, whether visible or invisible changes, the world is rapidly moving fast so do not entertain the idea that she is too young to grasp that understanding.
Receiving puberty education from a mother, early enough and with all the vital information required, is the best thing that can happen to a girl-child before her body begins to respond to puberty.
Irrespective of the medium you decide to use to communicate, ensure that you do not leave her scared or confused. She should be aware that her body will begin to undergo some changes, so that when the time comes, she is not taken unawares and disturbed.
Talking about puberty to your girl-child is an idea that every mother should begin to nurse as early as possible.
“Don’t wait for your child to come to you with questions about his or her changing body — that day may never arrive, especially if your child doesn’t know it’s OK to talk to you about this sensitive topic,” says kidshealth.org.
Be the first to introduce the conversation and do it with shrewdness and in love. Ensure to answer every question about puberty honestly and openly.
Mothers must understand that an early puberty education is like a shock absorber for a girl-child that helps her to manage the distress that comes with the stage. They must help their girls feel encouraged, informed, and confident about their changing bodies and their future reproductive health. This is a key step in building their confidence and self-esteem as well as helping them feel supported and prepared ahead of the development that is to come, and sometimes the confusing changes that are happening inside of them. Every girl-child deserves to know a lot about puberty early enough, and she should not be deprived of it.