For many young people, the onset of puberty can be a stressful and perplexing period of time. The list is endless from embarrassing mishaps to hormonal changes, excessive hair growth, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The awkwardness of puberty is exacerbated for some people, though. That’s why its important that before puberty comes, parents learn how to prepare their girls for the change.
When it comes to females who begin puberty before the age of 12 and whose parents have limited comprehension of what they’re going through, this is especially true Negative experiences during a critical development period can result if this occurs.
According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers found that many girls and tweens are unprepared for menstruation, as well as changes in their bodies and reproductive health. Many girls reported receiving knowledge about puberty and menstruation from a single source, such as their mother, sister, or a teacher. However, they still thought the material was insufficient, erroneous, and supplied too late for their age group.
The advent of one’s first period can also cause some girls to feel frightened, traumatized, and humiliated. In most cases, these unpleasant emotions can be traced back to a lack of preparation for puberty. When they first started menstruating, many women had no idea what was happening with their bodies, let alone how to control blood flow.
The timing of puberty also influenced their experiences. To put it another way, the more painful the transition to puberty is, the sooner in life it occurs. Young women need to be better prepared for the physical changes that take place throughout puberty because they lack the necessary information.
Education on puberty should begin earlier rather than later.
In the United States, the average age of puberty has dropped by an entire decade in the last two decades. In other words, the age at which girls begin to show the first signs of puberty is getting younger and younger. As a matter of fact, for African-American females, the first symptoms of development can be seen as early as the age of eight.
When females reach puberty too early, this can lead to an increase in the number of girls who do not receive the proper education on the stages of puberty. Moreover, it has been found that women who begin menstruation at a younger age have more negative experiences.
On top of that, some young women report that their parents skip right through menstruation in favor of pregnancy prevention, failing to provide them with explanations of how their bodies are changing and advice on how to cope with these shifts.
Many women are left feeling bewildered and need more knowledge after being warned about the dangers of pregnancy. Because menstruation is part of every girl’s life, she should know what to expect, how to cope with the experience, and when to expect her next period in order to be fully prepared.
What Happens During the First Year of adolescence
The first changes in a girl’s body as she enters puberty are not visible to the naked eye. For example, the hypothalamus, a brain regulator, is activated, and this causes changes in hormones as one of the first effects. The ovaries are also undergoing modifications as the sex hormone is secreted. Moodiness, a rise in body odor, and vaginal discharge are all early indications of puberty.
The appearance of breast buds signals the impending arrival of puberty, which is generally accompanied by a rapid increase in height. Pubic hair grows typically in response to this. Caucasian girls were found to have 5% breast growth, while African American girls were found to have 15% breast development in a study of 8 and 9-year-olds. On the other hand, African American girls have pubic hair at an alarming 34% of the time between ages 8 and 9. A pediatrician should evaluate early breast growth if it occurs before the age of eight.
The Beginning of a School Year
Menarche, or the beginning of a woman’s menstrual cycle, occurs two to a half years following the appearance of the first breast buds. Menarche occurs on average at 12.77 years of age in the United States. Food inadequacies are generally blamed for lowering the age of menarche. Also, keep in mind that menarche might be delayed in under-weight girls or have little body fat. While many young women have regular menstrual periods, this is not the case for everyone. Their cycles may take up to 14 months to balance out.
See a doctor if your daughter’s periods are more than 28 days apart or if they last more than seven days. It’s also a good idea to discuss uncomfortable or unusually heavy bleeding throughout your period.
Early adolescence challenges
Having to deal with the physical and emotional changes that occur with puberty can be difficult for females who start puberty earlier than their peers. In reality, it’s frequently a source of annoyance, perplexity, and anxiety, among other things. Depression, alcohol misuse, and early sexual engagement are all increasing risks.
It’s more difficult for a young girl who is the first in her group to begin the process since she’s anxious to be accepted. The fact that she’s going through puberty earlier than her peers means she’s going through something unique. Numerous studies have shown that girls who develop early can have long-term mental health consequences. In addition to sadness, girls who experience puberty earlier are more likely to suffer from eating disorders and other disruptive behavioral disorders than girls their age. They are also more apprehensive and less self-assured than most of their classmates.
Whenever she appears older than she is.
The societal pressure these young girls are under is one of the most challenging aspects of maturing too early. They may appear adult, but their actions may not be. Adults and others unfamiliar with them or their age may form unfavorable impressions or assumptions due to this reality.
It doesn’t matter if they’re out trick-or-treating or shopping with their friends at the mall; strangers will make assumptions about their maturity level based on age and appearance. On the other hand, parents may give their children more leeway because they appear older. Exposure to older children and dangerous behavior can occur as a result.
Race is another element that affects early puberty. Researchers have found that, although African American girls are more likely to suffer the negative consequences of puberty earlier than girls of European heritage, they are less likely to do so.
Researchers advise parents not to freak out if your girl goes through puberty early. Although she is at a higher risk of sadness, anxiety, and other disorders, most young girls who mature early get through puberty without major problems. The most important thing is that kids have a robust support system at home and learn how to cope.
Approaching Your Daughter’s Changes in Size
Parents have an essential role when talking to their daughters about puberty. Moreover, this is a discussion that you should have before the adjustments begin. Sadly, many parents are ill-equipped to conduct this conversation, and they may feel awkward themselves.
It’s important that you don’t let your feelings get in the way of having this conversation. Speaking with your daughter about the changes she will go through can be a moment of connecting for both of you and an opportunity to lessen her anxiety and prepare her for what she will go through when she starts menstruating. To help you get started, here are a few ideas.
Initiate a Dialogue Early
Your daughter should be familiar with puberty’s physical changes by the time she turns eight years old. Remember that some of her pals may already be wearing training bras. You don’t have to go into a lengthy conversation, but make sure she understands that her body will soon begin to undergo some changes.
Discuss the topic of menstruation before she even begins her cycle.
Remember that females who aren’t aware that their body is changing may be scared if they see or hear about blood if you haven’t talked to them about it. Even though most girls don’t get their period until 12 or 13, some begin menstruating as early as 9. Those who wait until 16 to begin menstruation are said to be in the minority. If you can, get her ready ahead of time.
Give Your Daughter the Supplies She Will Require from You!
You’ll want to stock up on tampons and pads long before your daughter’s period begins. Make sure she understands how to use both and how often she will need to replace her pad or tampon. Please make sure she knows the dangers of using the same tampon repeatedly. Be aware that your daughter may begin her period while she is away from home. Make sure she has a pad in her backpack just in case you believe she’s going close.
Maintain a Sense of Humor
Most girls want to know what to do if they start their period in school; therefore, they’re looking for information like that. Moreover, they’ll be curious as to what to expect. Your first period will most likely be light and not heavy, so reassure them. It’s also likely unpredictable, so stock up on extra supplies just in case.
While discussing puberty, you can also talk about finding a bra that fits and shopping for something cute. As a result, you won’t be forced to sit on the edge of the bed and hold a conversation as much. As a final step, I’ll show her how to record her menstruation.
Don’t Make a Scene
Be careful not to exaggerate the significance of her upcoming menstrual cycle changes. Make sure she doesn’t get scared by the pain of cramps or mood changes she may encounter. Remind yourself that her body is going through a completely normal process and that you have nothing to be afraid of or disgusted by.
Affirmation Is Crucial
Many young women feel self-conscious about their changing bodies and perceived physical attributes. Assure them that their feelings and appearance are perfectly normal. Others may be concerned that their breasts aren’t developing quickly enough or that they aren’t large enough. Let them know that everyone grows at a different pace and that nothing is wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with their appearance.
Remember that your child’s curiosity will only grow as she gets older. Listen to her worries and be patient. When she asks a question you don’t know the answer to, try your best to investigate it together or chat to her doctor about it. The most important thing is not just to say, “I don’t know,” and walk away. You want to provide her with reliable information. She is left feeling irritated and tempted to seek advice from her peers, which isn’t always the best course of action.
The Bottom Line
We want all American girls to feel good about their evolving bodies and potential future reproductive health. It’s an important step in boosting their self-esteem and helping them cope with the new and sometimes puzzling developments that they’re experiencing.
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