Child & Adolescent Development: Puberty
Basic Information

group of pre-teens

It's time for "The Talk." Just thinking about childhood conversations with your own parents about sex, bodily change, or other similarly uncomfortable subjects may cause you to cringe! While puberty is an awkward time, conversations about the changes that occur during puberty do not necessarily have to be uncomfortable for children or their parents. This article provides an overview of puberty and the physical, mental, emotional and social changes that occur during this time. Armed with this information, parents can better prepare themselves to help their children cope with these inevitable and sometimes intimidating transformations.

Definition of Puberty

It is important to first define what exactly puberty is before going on to discuss the effects of puberty on youth. Puberty refers to a set of changes that children go through as they develop a sexually mature adult body. While these changes are primarily physical in nature, profound mental, emotional and social changes also occur as youth adapt to their maturing bodies.

Each child is unique, and will experience puberty-related changes at different times, and at different rates. Generally, girls will experience puberty between ages 10 and 14 years. However, they may experience puberty any time between age 8 and 15 and still be considered developmentally normal. Boys' puberty begins slightly later than girls'. On average, boys experience puberty between the ages of 11 and...

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