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Teenagers and puberty

www.irishhealth.com]

Teenagers and puberty

I’ve heard my friends talking about puberty. What exactly does it mean?

During puberty your body begins to develop into the body of a sexually mature adult. Your sexual organs grow and your body changes physically.

One of the first signs of puberty for a young girl is the growth of her breasts and the arrival of her first period. In boys the first ejaculation (release of semen from the penis), broadening of the shoulders and deepening of the voice mark the fact that they are becoming sexually mature.

Both boys and girls begin to grow hair under their arms and pubic hair between their legs.

My 12 year-old used to be a very outgoing child but she seems to have become very self-conscious, could this have anything to do with the fact that she’s growing up?

Most definitely. Most children feel awkward and uncomfortable with their image as they approach puberty. They often feel very shy and insecure, and may not be entirely sure how to act as they bridge the divide between childhood and adolescence.

Because the changes are so obvious, such as developing breasts in girls and a deepening voice in boys, they may make the adolescent feel even more uncomfortable. Often well-meaning comments from friends and relations can serve to accentuate the perceived change and lead to further anxiety and embarrassment.

It is quite likely that your daughter will want to be friends with a group of girls her own age, in an effort to fit in and bond with her peers.

There can be no doubt that puberty is a stressful time of conflict for both parents and children. It is normal that tensions develop. It is important to help your teenager to express their emotions and to reassure them that you are there for them.

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