How Can I Help My Daughter Get Through Puberty Despite Her Physical Development Being Ahead of Her Peers?
In particular, girls’ social and emotional well-being can be jeopardized if they begin puberty before their peers.
An essential part of the role of parents is to ensure that their children are well-informed while maintaining sensitivity and support.
My daughter has outgrown all of her peers in terms of physical maturity. I believe it’s time for her to start wearing a bra, but the few times I’ve mentioned it, she’s gone over the deep end. I have no idea what to do to help her understand her body’s early chances. Do you know of a simple solution?
Finally, your question captures the hope of all parents struggling with the complexities of parenting: “Is there a simple way to deal with this?” Unfortunately, puberty belongs in the ” complex ” category since it causes havoc on our children’s bodies, minds, and feelings. Approaches and tools exist that can at least make it simpler for you, and ultimately for her, to deal with the situation. Although I’ve met a lot of kids who can’t wait to grow up and go through puberty, I’m the only one who does!
As the question implies, this advice comes from the perspective of a cisgender mother. For transgender and nonbinary youth, puberty can be challenging. Contact your child’s gender-affirming pediatrician, your local Planned Parenthood, or a gender spectrum youth clinic in your area for information on how to support your LGBTQ+ child through puberty.
As you may expect, puberty begins earlier than you think.
We should recall that when we were their age, parents were surprised to learn that their children were entering puberty at such a tender age. For at least several decades, the average age at which puberty begins has decreased by three to four months per decade. Medical records suggest that the average age of first menstruation in girls was 14 to 15 years ago, 13 years ago, and closer to 12 years old today, all based on medical records. On the other hand, puberty can begin as early as three years before the onset of menstruation, with breast buds appearing on average at the age of nine. And that’s just the average, so there are many females that hit puberty even earlier than the average age of nine. The average age of breast buds in the 1960s was 13. (While measuring the onset of puberty in boys is more complex, evidence shows that it follows a similar pattern to that seen in females, with an average age of about 10-and-a-half and a downward trend over time.)
Assist Her in Obtaining Knowledge
Pushing you away is a normal part of development, but knowing what’s going on in her body is also critical for her well-being. It’s good to provide her with a few alternative options for getting to this data. First and foremost, you can let her know that you are available to discuss puberty and growing up with her, sharing your own experiences and assuring her that you will answer any questions she may have openly and without embarrassment. It’s So Amazing and The Ultimate Girls’ Body Book are two of the most popular books for girls her age, and you may buy them for her to read at her speed in solitude. Self-consciousness is a regular aspect of puberty; therefore, she may have to learn how to do this on her own for the time being. Having access to selected resources provided by you, rather than the wild world of the internet, is essential to her success.
A sexuality education curriculum called Our Whole Lives (OWL) might also be available in your area. Because puberty ultimately leads to sex, having a variety of materials at your disposal can be helpful. Even though this may be upsetting for both the child and the parent, research shows that youngsters whose parents freely discuss sex are more likely to make healthier choices (such as delaying sex and using protection when having sex).
Empathy is the best way to approach someone.
It is crucial for children in this pre-adolescent stage to feel like they belong, and being different from their peers puts their sense of belonging at risk. Despite the above statistics on puberty, your daughter will have a more difficult time socially and emotionally if she is the first in her group to experience these physical changes. There is no doubt that she is putting her feelings into words for you! Approaching her with an open mind and an eagerness to learn about her life can be beneficial. She may snap at you with “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!” if you try to tell her you to do. Show her how much you care by expressing your interest in her life and how much you want to help her.
How to Serve
A lot of reassurance is needed by girls who are maturing earlier than their peers. If you can relate to her feelings of self-consciousness, awkwardness, and strangeness, you might be able to persuade her to wear a bra. Consider the following options for how to approach this susceptible subject with your daughter to assist her in shifting from “ballistic” to receptive:
- Ask her why she hates wearing a bra at the correct time (typically in a car when you’re not staring at each other). What worries does she have? Understanding a person’s underlying issues and feelings will help you better empathize with them.
- Demonstrate your understanding of her point of view by expressing empathy and sharing personal experiences, such as when you first started wearing a bra.
- Explain why you think she should start wearing a bra. She’ll be more receptive to rationality if she first explores her feelings. You can also come from a place of supporting her, like the wish for her to be less self-conscious and more confident.
- Give her a few options to help her make a decision. How to make her feel special or at least less humiliated by her choice of bra could be some of the options you provide her as you wait for her to evaluate what you’ve talked about (e.g., online-only, picking one that feels most like a t-shirt).
Early puberty is associated with greater social and emotional issues for girls, but early puberty is associated with greater self-esteem and confidence for boys. (Thanks to gender stereotypes) Scientifically speaking, your daughter may be a “normal” age, but when it comes to peer pressure, statistical averages mean nothing to her. Even though there is no simple solution to this problem, having parents by her side to weather the storm of adolescence helps her more than she will ever confess. A reasonable expectation that she will survive Believe me when I say that I’m not the only one who thinks this.
Helpful related article: It’s All About Puberty, Late-onset of Puberty, 7 Best Books for Boys Who Are Experiencing Puberty