Why It’s Important to Have Conversations with Our Kids About Puberty Before It Has Started

Have you ever thought about bringing up conversations in your home about puberty even if your child has not started going through it yet? Many parents that I speak to each week wish that they had known about puberty way before it had started for them.

Puberty can seem like a distant event when your child is young, I get it, but laying the groundwork early can make a world of difference to self-esteem, their journey, preparedness, confidence and handling of the experiences that puberty brings. 

Recently I wrote a blog about when puberty should actually begin: What age is too young for puberty to start.

Here are 5 reasons why it's important to have many conversations about puberty from a young age and definitely before it has started:

Normalise the Experience

Normalising the concept of puberty early on helps kids understand the changes their bodies will undergo. Knowledge in advance helps them to feel normal and confident, whether they've begun puberty or not. Addressing puberty beforehand in a factual way can alleviate anxiety and confusion. Given that puberty starts earlier nowadays, early discussions are important (they will also see kids at school changing too). Chatting with younger children is easier, as they're curious, while older ones may feel embarrassed as they are often going through the changes. It's vital to provide comprehensive information to reduce stigma and discomfort.

Build Trust

Starting the conversation early shows your child that they can come to you with questions and concerns about their bodies. This builds trust and sets you up as a trusted, reliable source of information as they navigate adolescence. PUBERTY EDUCATION MAKES FOR A FLEXIBLE SPRINGBOARD FROM WHICH TO LEAD INTO OTHER TOPICS. HORMONAL CHANGES PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL, AND MENTAL ARE CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE IMPORTANT BUT ALSO LEAD TO OTHER ESSENTIAL SEXUAL HEALTH CONVERSATIONS LIKE CONSENT, SEX PORNOGRAPHY AND BODY SAFETY.

Foster Body Positivity

Teaching kids about puberty early allows you to instil positive attitudes towards their changing bodies. This can help combat negative body image issues that often arise during puberty.

Provide Accurate Information

By educating your child about puberty from an early age, you ensure that they receive accurate information from a trusted source. This prevents them from relying on misinformation from peers or the media. Get the right source of information because kids often hear about sex and relationships from unreliable sources.

Promote Healthy Habits

Discussing puberty provides an opportunity to talk about hygiene, self-care, feelings and emotional well-being. This sets the foundation for healthy habits that will benefit them throughout adolescence and beyond. UNDERSTANDING AROUND DIFFERENT PEOPLE’S BODIES REDUCES STIGMA AND INCREASES EMPATHY TOWARDS OTHERS. Teaching classes inclusively by not splitting them up by gender helps this and promotes inclusivity.

Final Words

Every child is unique, requiring tailored conversations about puberty. Consider factors such as intellectual intelligence, maturity, disability, personality and temperament, life experience, and birth order when initiating these discussions. Additionally, your own experiences, biases, and needs influence how you approach the topic with your child. Staying mindful of these factors can help with effective communication and understanding. 

If your child is going through puberty already, is it too late to talk about it? No way it’s never too early and it’s never too late. So let us empower our children to navigate this transitional period with confidence knowledge, and compassion for their bodies and those around them. 

I have so many books about puberty on my website. Here are just a few of them:

More Secret Girls' Business - Book review by Rowena Thomas | 'Amazing Me'

More Secret Girl's Business

'More Secret Girls Business' is the companion to 'Secret Girls’ Business' and is aimed at girls from 9 to 12  about the changes that happen during puberty. This book was first published in 2008.

Secret Boys' Business- Book review by Rowena Thomas | 'Amazing Me'Secret Boys' Business

Secret Boys' Business

It’s important to talk to about the changes that happen during puberty even before they start. That’s how this book can help.

The Girls' Guide To Growing Up - Book review by Rowena Thomas | 'Amazing Me'

My Body's Changing: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up

When young girls go through puberty, they usually describe it using the same words – awkward, embarrassing and confusing. With this book as a guide, girls aged 7 to 12 are provided with the the answers to most of the common questions about puberty and growing up.

The Boys' Guide to Growing Up - Book review by Rowena Thomas | 'Amazing Me'

My Body's Changing: : The Boys Guide to Growing Up

This book describes the  journey through puberty and guides pre-teeners on what to do and how to manage.

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Rowena

The facilitator of ‘Amazing Me’, Rowena is a primary trained school teacher, with more than 30 years of experience in sexuality education and a mum of three adult children.

Rowena understands the many complexities and challenges at different stages in a child’s life when talking about tough topics like sex and puberty.

She is passionate about what she does with the goal that open and positive conversations will be started and continued, that puberty is ‘normalised’, relationships enriched and strengthened and as a result, wise choices are made in the future.