puberty in 12 yr son and 10 yr daughter....any opinions or advice???


Katherine - posted on 05/11/2011




What is puberty?
Puberty is the time in life when a young person starts to become sexually mature.

In girls, puberty usually starts around 11 years of age, but it may start as early as 6 or 7 years of age. In boys, puberty begins around 12 years as age, but may start as early as 9 years of age. Puberty is a process that goes on for several years. Most girls are physically mature by about 14 years of age. Boys mature at about 15 or 16.

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What are the first signs of puberty in boys and girls?
The first sign of puberty in most girls is breast development. The first sign of puberty in most boys is an increase in the size of the testicles.

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Does sexual development have a typical pattern?
Yes. In girls, breasts develop first. Then, hair starts growing in the pubic area. Next, hair starts growing in the armpits. In girls, acne usually starts around 13 years of age. Menstruation (the period) usually happens last.

In boys, the testicles and the penis get bigger first. Then hair grows in the pubic area and the armpits. A small amount of breast tissue might develop at this time. The voice becomes deeper. Muscles grow. Last, acne and facial hair show up.

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Does sexual development always follow the same pattern?
No. Some children can have different patterns. Some girls develop breasts at a very young age but have no other signs of sexual development. A few children have pubic and armpit hair long before they show other signs of sexual growth. These changes in pattern usually don't mean the child has a problem, but it's a good idea to visit your doctor to find out for sure.

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What is early puberty? What causes it?
Early puberty is sometimes called precocious or premature puberty. In most cases, early puberty is just a variation of normal puberty. In a few cases, there may be a medical reason for early puberty.

You may want to visit your doctor if a young girl develops breasts and pubic hair before 7 or 8 years of age.

You may want to visit your doctor if a young boy has an increase in testicle or penis size before 9 years of age.

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What is delayed puberty? What causes it?
Sometimes (but not always) a medical reason causes delayed puberty. For example, malnutrition (not eating enough of the right kinds of food) can cause delayed puberty.

Puberty may be late in girls who have the following signs:

No development of breast tissue by age 14
No periods for 5 years or more after the first appearance of breast tissue.

Puberty may be late in boys who have the following signs:

No testicle development by age 14
Development of the male organs isn't complete by 5 years after they first start to develop.

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Do early and late puberty run in families?
Both early and late puberty can run in families. There can be other causes, too.

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How will my doctor know what is causing the change in puberty pattern?
Your doctor will talk to you and your child. Then your child will have a physical exam. The doctor might suspect a cause for the puberty variation and order some tests. Sometimes the cause can't be found even after several tests.

These are some tests your doctor might order for your child:

Blood tests to check hormone levels
An X-ray of the wrist to see if bone growth is normal
A CT or MRI scan (special pictures) of the head to look for a tumor or brain injury
Chromosome (gene) studies

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Are early and late puberty treated?
In most children, no cause is found. It's just a variation of normal puberty. No treatment is needed. In some children, a medical cause is found and treated. For example, if the reason for late puberty is lack of hormones, hormone medication can help.

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What can I do to help my child?
The way children see their own body has a lot to do with their self-esteem. It's important to let children know they're OK the way they are and that you love them that way. You can let your child know that he or she is normal (when the tests are normal). You can tell your child that you'll help him or her with any problems (if the tests show a problem). If you need help or if you think your child may need counseling, talk to your family doctor.

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More Information

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Anorexia Nervosa
Communication and Your 13- to 18-year-old
Depression in Children and Teens
Teens and Emotional Health
Inhalant Abuse
Growth and Your 13- to 18-year-old
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Helping Your Teen With Homework
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What You Should Know About Steroids
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Adolescent Immunization Schedule
Tips for Parents: Weight and Eating Behavior Problems in Teens

Jodi - posted on 05/11/2011




Michelle, I used a book called "What's Happening to Me" by Alex Firth when I talked to my son. It was very helpful, and is specifically aimed at pre-teens. I am not sure if they have an equivalent for girls - I haven't crossed that bridge yet.

Jodi - posted on 05/11/2011




There are lots of good bookd out there that can help explain it all. But it you haven't had any talks with them yet about the facts of life, now would be a REALLY good time to get it done. Without any further info, I am not sure what you are looking for.


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Diana - posted on 08/24/2011




I bought 2 great books (used) from Amazon for my daughter (soon to get to have this discussion again with my younger daughter who is 9 & recently informed me that she knows everything and learned it from one of her friends at school.). The first is "The Feelings Book: The Care & Keeping of Your Emotions" (American Girl) by Dr. Lynda Madison, Norm Bendell. The other was "The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls" (American Girl) by Valorie Schaefer, Norm Bendell. I was looking for something that was very basic, not overly technical, and didn't contain all the graphic pictures that I found when I tried looking up some books at the library. I wasn't prepared to cover yet like precisely how babies are made with graphic medical descriptions complete with pictures of the boy & girl working parts & how it happens when she was only 10. I'd prefer to do my conversations in stages a little at a time so I don't overload them with information.

The first book was great and dealt with a lot of the mental changes that take place at puberty and less of the physical: mood swings, feeling sad, angry, annoyed, embarrassment, etc. The second book talked about the physical changes, but also highlighted on hygiene, like brushing your teeth, deoderant/body odor, and pimples. It talked about a lot of the concerns girls may have like bra sizes and the different stages of breast growth & development. It was factual without being overly clinical and had cartoon pictures rather than detailed medical pictures. It was perfect for her and was very non-traumatizing (for both of us). LOL.

She is very shy and at the meantion of "changes" would say, "Moooom! Stooooop! It's embarrassing & I don't want to talk about it." I took her aside when I got them & told her that I got them for her to look at and that I was keeping them in my room. I told her where there were & said that she was welcomed to look at them anytime she wanted without having to ask. I followed up with a talk about it one day when it was just the 2 of us in my room. We giggled about it, joked & commented about some of the embarrassing stuff in it, but it worked wonderfully because by giggling and acting like I was embarrassed to talk about it to it made it like we were conspiring to learn embarrassing stuff together.

I sure hope that they have similar books for boys because this one was perfect for girls from 9-14 who need to know the basic stuff without learning exactly how point A & slot B fit together to create a new item entirely. :) That's something that I would have prefer to lead up to gradually with just a little bit of info at a time. Imagine my horror when my younger, then-8-yr-old told me that her friend told her how babies are made AND WAS CORRECT. I had to pretend that I didn't know what she was talking about to get her to explain what she knew to me. She is so smart though. She knew I was messing with her and called me out on it. She said that I had to know or her & her sister wouldn't be there to talk about it in the first place! LOL. I told her that she was right, but I had to make sure that her information was correct and from now on she should come to me with any questions because not everyone gets the facts right whether it is because of an older brother, sister, or friend not knowing and making stuff up, or just getting their facts wrong, I would rather have them come to me with any questions no matter how embarrassing so they can get truthful answers regardless of our embarrasment. My younger one is going to give me a run for my money!

Michelle - posted on 05/12/2011




thanks all ...ive looked most of this up on the net i was just trying to see if theres other things out there and looks like the books are a good idea to explane it more too the kids thank you all :)

Michelle - posted on 05/11/2011




not quite sure lol its all new to me thats all and a single mom so its tough with son even theo i am open with him about everything

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