Puberty is triggered by a small gland at the bottom of your brain called the pituitary gland. As this gland begins releasing hormones, your daughter will start seeing many changes in her body: both physically and emotionally. Puberty typically occurs between the ages of 9 – 14, although this can vary depending on weight, health, and other factors.
Breasts will start to develop, commonly referred to as “breast buds”. Small lumps of tissue begin forming under the nipples. This is the first sign that that puberty has begun. – It is common for breasts to grow at different rates, and they may become sensitive during development.
Talk to your daughter about bras, especially training bras, camis or sports bras. Picking out bras in your daughter’s favorite colors can be a fun mother-daughter bonding experience. Training bras may help her feel more comfortable in the class room if she is feeling self-conscious or experiencing tenderness. Usually by the age of 14, girls are ready for their first cup size bra.
If you have been tracking your daughter’s growth, get ready to see a large jump. During puberty most pre-teens will experience a growth spurt lasting up to 2-4 years. By the end of puberty, she should be close to her adult height. Fun fact: Girls hit their growth spurts earlier in puberty then boys do. Other body changes such as the widening of the hips and weight gain are also common during this growth spurt.
Hair starts showing up in places that never had hair before. Typically for girls, hair starts to thicken on the legs, grow under the armpits (so will the hormonal body odor, this may make a good time to discuss deodorant) and hair will start to grow around the pubic area. The Luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulates this onset of hair growth. With the hormones flaring, acne may also start to develop.
Make sure you talk openly with her, let her know that every girl gets hair in other places throughout puberty and that it is completely natural. If the hair starts to become out of control and is causing embarrassment in certain situations like the pool, talk to her and see if she is ready for hair removal products or techniques. For hormonal acne, purchase a mild acne face wash and have her add this to her normal grooming routine.
Periods normally begin during this age. Typical stomach cramps and headaches may be present before or during the menstrual cycle. The body also starts retaining water, which will likely cause some weight gain.
Have a period kit ready for your daughter to carry with her; this can include pads, panty liners, tampons, and fresh underwear. It is also a good idea to have a book or instructions handy to help demonstrate proper use of tampons and pads and how to properly dispose of them. If she is experiencing severe pain that simple ibuprofen cannot help, it may be wise to speak to a doctor.
Have a Happy Period day- treat her to an ice cream or a treat that she is craving to discuss any problems or concerns she may be having with her changes.
Alongside all of the physical changes, your daughter will also start going through some emotional changes. This is her body trying to balance all of these new hormones and as she develops mentally, she will start viewing things differently and having her own opinions about things. Here are some emotional changes you can expect to see during puberty:
- Peer pressure
- Mood swings
- Low Self Esteem
- Sexual interest
A few key things to remember: Answer your daughter’s questions honestly and openly, be a good listener and do some fun mother daughter bonding activities to make this transition easier for the both of you.
Puberty is a learning experience for the both of you. There are lots of resources to help in this transition. We have reached out to Dr. Trevicia Williams, she has a doctorate in psychology and is an expert on human behavior for parenting teens and mother daughter relationships. Dr. Trevicia hosts a mother daughter workshop in Dallas called ,”I love you but I cant stand you right now.” Dr. Trevicia says,
“This workshop provides an environment in which they learn each others true feelings and values. Through the fun interactive exercises, they learn that despite their day-to-day disagreements they really do have a connection and love each other. Because communication is the lifeline of all healthy relationships, they also learn skills such as conversation starters, how to create an atmosphere for meaningful dialogue, guidelines for talking and much more that help them thrive during adolescence.” For more information on the workshops, visit http://www.
If you feel like you may need to make an appointment for any of these issues, call us today and set up an appointment!