Here are 10 puberty facts that all kids need to know about.
Puberty can be a scary time for kids, especially when they don’t know what to expect. So it helps kids when parents can talk about puberty in a natural, everyday way. This helps to normalise puberty for them and prepares them for the changes that will be coming their way!
There are a lot of puberty facts for your child to learn, but here you will find 10 that are more about the principles than about facts.
Read on, and you’ll see what I mean!
Our first puberty facts reminds us to NOT just focus on the physical changes.
It isn’t just your body that changes as you go through puberty. Your brain and your feelings change as well. So your child needs to know that they will start to think and feel differently as well. This blog post from Hey Sigmund explains what teens need to know about the adolescent brain.
Our second of the puberty facts is all about making puberty a normal stage of life.
When going through puberty, your child may feel as if they are the only one going through it. So it helps if you can remind them that they aren’t alone. Remind them that their friends will be going through puberty as well. And that you too, went through puberty and survived.
Our third puberty facts is about the true purpose of puberty.
Puberty is all about making us capable of reproducing and starting the next generation. Which means that your child’s body will eventually be capable of creating a new life ie they are fertile. So they need to know this, that if they had sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex, that they could make a baby. Reassure them though, that even though their body may be ready that they still need to do a lot more ‘growing up’ before this will happen.
Our fourth of the puberty facts is about reassuring kids that the changes are very gradual!
Reassure your child that the changes that will be happening to them, don’t happen overnight. They happen over months. Which means that they will have plenty of time to get used to them! So start talking to them about how to care for their body as it changes. When you start to notice an underarm smell, buy them deodorant and start chatting about why they sweat and how they should manage it.
Our fifth puberty facts is about making sure they know that puberty is a ‘similar yet different’ experience for both boys and girls.
Remind your child that puberty happens to both boys and girls. Some of the changes will be similar (pubic hair, body odour, pimples) but some won’t be (ejaculation, periods). So make sure your child knows that all of their friends will be going through changes, but that some of the changes will be different for them.
Our sixth puberty facts is about reminding kids that we all start puberty at a different time.
Let your child know that we don’t all start puberty at the same time. Some kids start much earlier or later than others. Which means that some boys will be much taller than others, and some girls will be flat-chested whilst others are needing a bra. Everyone is different so their body will start changing when it is ready to. You can’t make puberty start any earlier or stop it from happening. Your body knows what to do and will start when it is ready for it.
Our seventh of the puberty facts are that their body may change more quickly or slowly than their friends does.
Some people’s bodies can change more quickly or slowly than others. So their friend may have lots of pubic hair within a few months whilst it may take months for them to just grow a few! Everyone is different but by the time puberty is over, everyone has had the same changes, and end up with similar adult bodies.
Our eighth puberty facts is that everyone is different and that’s okay.
Your child needs to know that although the changes we go through are all the same, that they can still be different. So that may mean they have no pimples or lots of pimples. And there is nothing that they can do to change that. It is a bit like a lucky dip – you get what you get!
Our ninth of the puberty facts is that you can’t stop or change anything.
Some kids worry about the changes that will happen to them and want to know if they can stop them, or even change them. They can’t. Their body is already pre-programmed to change in a certain way. Which means that they will end up with the body they are meant to have.
Our tenth puberty facts is that they will start to experience sexual feelings and to possibly even see their friends in a different light.
As well as making your child’s body fertile, puberty will slowly start to change the way they think and feel about sex. This happens for a very good reason. For a baby to be made, you usually need to have sexual intercourse. So puberty will rewire your child’s brain so that they will want to have sex, which means that they might fall pregnant and make a baby. Even though we live in the 21st century, our caveman instincts are still there.
There are many resources that can help you with talking to your child about puberty. You can find books for kids to read about puberty here. If you are looking for more than just puberty facts, then my parent books will help you with talking to your son or daughter.
You’ll find more information about puberty in my Puberty 101 page.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and to empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. You can join my online parent support group here and visit my shop for helpful resources.