When you have babies, it seems impossible that they'll one day be tweens and then teens and then young adults. Those early years feel like they drag on, but in the blink of an eye, they're over and your sweet little toddler who used to hold your hand to fall asleep is now asking for privacy when they change and wanting to do things without you. It's a brutal thing, motherhood. But as our kids get older, we have to prepare for new stages and challenges, and puberty is one of the hardest.
Our young girls and boys begin to change and develop and probably have a lot of questions and concerns. And we definitely have a lot of questions and concerns! When it comes to girls, it might be easier for us moms to recognize what's happening and help explain it. But it's been a while since we've all gone through this ourselves, so we could all probably use a refresher course. Here are some signs of puberty in girls, and how to talk them through this next stage of life.
When should you expect your daughter to start puberty?
For most girls, puberty starts between the ages of 8 and 13. It's usually over by around 14 years old. Of course, every girl will begin puberty at at different ages, and unfortunately there is no guaranteed age to count on. Some girls will start earlier (closer to 8), while others will start later.
What are the first signs of puberty?
Body changes are typically the first signs that a girl has started puberty. Growth spurts, which can include getting taller or gaining weight, are indicators that puberty is near. Your daughter may start to develop small breast buds and start growing body hair, including pubic hair and underarm hair.
Other physical signs of puberty.
In addition to developing breasts and growing body hair, girls entering puberty may start to develop stronger body odor, and some may start to see more acne on their faces and bodies. During puberty, the sweat glands become larger and more active, and the skin produces more oil.
A period usually arrives 2-3 years after the start of puberty.
Some girls will start their periods earlier, but most girls will have gotten their first period by the age of 14. The first couple of years, periods may be very irregular; it takes a couple of years for cycles to develop, so it may be some time before it can tracked regularly.
How can you talk about these changes?
It's important to tell your daughter is that all of these changes are completely normal. It can be a lot for a young girl to process, and it's not uncommon for them to struggle with their new bodies, new emotions, and all these hormones. Some girls may also feel discouraged that they aren't developing at the same pace as their friends, or embarrassed that they seem to be developing faster. Insure your daughter that every girl develops at her own pace, and it doesn't make her late or early. But most importantly, talk to her about feeling comfortable with her developing body, and help her find ways to accept the changes that are happening. Make sure she knows that she is not alone, that we all went through this, and it's a totally normal (and in some ways exciting) phase of life.