Just when you think you have this whole mom thing down, you’re thrown a giant curve ball.
I’m talking about puberty.
If you’re like me, you have questions about the joys of puberty, like
- What are the stages of puberty in girls?
- How will I know my daughter is going through puberty?
- How long does puberty typically last?
- What do I do if early or late puberty hit?
As a mom, the topic of puberty has been in the forefront of my brain lately. Hopefully I can help shed some light on this stage of your daughter’s life so you can be prepared for what’s to come.
What Are the Stages of Puberty in Girls?
The development of breasts usually marks the beginning of puberty in girls, but all children develop at their own pace.
Your daughter might ask you if it’s okay to start shaving, which is typical for this stage in her life. The development of armpit and pubic hair can occur at any time during puberty, but it usually starts after the breasts begin to develop.
Height and Weight
Has your daughter recently had a growth spurt or put on a little weight? The onset of puberty is marked by an increase in growth hormones, which are the culprits behind the changes to her body. Once her endocrine system starts pumping out these extra hormones, changes can occur fast, so don’t be surprised if she complains of growing pains.
Your daughter will probably start her period toward the end of puberty, but some girls start earlier. No two young women are alike, and it’s impossible to predict when menstruation will begin, so it’s important to supply her with pads, tampons or anything else she might need ahead of time. If you haven’t already, talk with your daughter about what to expect with her first period. There are countless books and informational videos to assist you if you don’t know where to begin.
How Will I Know My Daughter is Going Through Puberty?
You might notice your daughter’s developing breasts or coarse armpit hair. Maybe you’ll take note of the fact that the pants you bought her two weeks ago no longer fit, or she’ll come to you complaining of pimples. All of these things are indicators that puberty is underway.
The influx of hormones combined with the pressure of dealing with teenage life can lead to some emotional ups and downs during puberty. Mood swings and changes in self-esteem and body image are common during puberty. You might think your daughter is an emotional yo-yo during these uncertain times, but her temperament will even out as her body gets hormone production back under control.
How Long Does Puberty Typically Last?
The average girl enters puberty between the ages of eight and 14, and puberty typically lasts two to five years for her. Clearly, there is a wide range of what’s considered “normal.” If you’re worried that your 12-year old daughter hasn’t started to develop breasts yet, her body may just need a little more time to mature. However, there are some instances were early or late development can be cause for concern.
What do I do if early or late puberty hit?
Talk to your daughter’s pediatrician if you have any concerns about her developmental timeline. Each girl reaches the stages of puberty at her own pace, but most follow a general schedule. If your daughter is early or late to start by at least a year, she may be experiencing
- Premature Pubertyor
- Delayed Puberty
These conditions often don’t come with any medical issues, but occasionally can cause impaired or accelerated future growth, so it’s important to speak with your child’s doctor to determine if there are any treatments or courses of action in your daughter’s case.
What To Do When Puberty Hits
Whether you have a daughter who is currently in the throes of puberty, or you’re still looking forward to the changes ahead, I hope you have the tools in your belt needed to recognize the signs and symptoms of puberty. Luckily, this awkward phase of her life doesn’t last forever, and I’m confident you can help steer her toward womanhood.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions, but the most important things to remember are:
- Talk to your daughter
Make sure she knows you’re on her side and will be there to guide her through this tumultuous time.
- Do your research
Make sure you have accurate and up-to-date information so that you can not only understand the process of puberty for yourself, but also answer any questions your daughter might have.
- Stay connected
You don’t have to navigate this topic alone. There is a wealth of information and support for parents of pubescent teenagers to help you.