When a young girl's body prepares her for puberty, many changes begin to take place 2. These changes signify the beginning of her journey into adulthood and being prepared for these changes will help make these transitions smoother and less stressful for both her and her parents. Knowing what to expect and having open lines of communication with her parents will ease her mind and help her remember that this a natural and ongoing process.
One of the first indicators of the onset of puberty is a change in body odor 2. Your sweet-smelling little girl suddenly needs deodorant or antiperspirant and a daily bath or shower becomes necessary for good hygiene. Reassure her that this is natural and that it can be easily and effectively dealt with by bathing regularly.
Breast buds will begin to develop. They begin as slight swellings under the nipples and both may not grow at the same pace. This may be frightening for a young girl at first. Reassure her that the growth will even out over a few months and that this is a common occurrence among girls her age. Purchasing training or regular bras can help her feel grown up and mature and provide support as her body continues to develop.
Height and Weight Increases
Her height and weight may increase dramatically. This is the only time in her life that she may grow even more than when she was an infant. Her hands and feet may feel overly large to her, but let her know that the rest of her body will catch up within a few years. Boys develop at a slower rate so she may be taller than most of the males her own age for a while.
Hair Growth and Acne
Fine hairs will begin to grow in her armpits and around her vaginal area. These will later become more coarse, abundant and curly as she moves further into puberty 2. She may also experience acne on her back or face as the hormone production ramps up in her body.
Impact of Hormones
Hormones, especially estrogen, will be released from the pituitary gland which may result in mood swings, depression, irritability and sensitivity. Let your pre-teen know that you are aware of the changes she is going through and that you understand that she may not feel like herself for a few months. Help her in controlling her emotions and sudden urges, all the while reassuring her that these are natural feelings and stages that every young woman goes through.
- Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence; Laura Sessions Stepp
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