Before diving straight into how to support a child going through puberty, let us first talk a little bit about puberty itself. According to Medicine Net, puberty is the stage in one’s life when sexual maturation happens. Moreover, it consists of a series of biological or physical stages that eventually conclude in fertility, development of secondary sex characteristics, and physical features associated with adult males and females.
Puberty usually starts as early as 7 to 13 years old in girls. On the other hand, boys start their puberty a little late at around 9 to 14 years old.
Furthermore, there is a much deeper reason as to why this is a very sensitive phase in one’s life. Yes, the biological or physical changes are already that stressful. However, there are also behavioral, psychosocial, as well as emotional development that are far tenser. No wonder that teenagers are indeed all over the place. Now, as a father or a parent, it’s definitely your duty to carry your teen child through this journey. So how to support a child going through puberty? Here are some tips that may come in handy for you:
Prepare them for puberty by starting “the talk” early on
You may want your child to be prepared for puberty or the adolescent stage. It’s because if they already know all that is coming, they won’t be overwhelmed that much. Moreover, if they aren’t that stunned, then they won’t be as stressed. Preparing them involves doing “the talk” where you really sit with them and explain the subject matter at hand.
When your child is already around 7 years old, you can already start the conversation. It can be as innocent as explaining what is happening to the girls or boys of their age that they watch on television. Additionally, this can be easier if your child is already the one asking questions. And without a doubt, there will certainly be a line of questions coming from them. They can also spot things from older girl or boys in the neighborhood that will prompt them to ask.
What you need to do as a father or a parent is to prepare yourself to answer all those inquiries. Additionally, you need to do so in a way that is clear and not confusing. The key here is for your child to be able to fully understand puberty. Moreover, you will need to describe to them all the physical changes that they will go through. Try not to scare them by implying that those changes are indeed very awkward. What you need to do is tell them that it’s all going to be hard, but it’s just normal. You must also reassure them that you will always be there to help them along the way.
Help them make healthy lifestyle choices during puberty
When they are already in the puberty or adolescent stage, it’s important that you teach them how to make healthy lifestyle choices. These will help them to cope with all the tremendous biological or physical changes that they are going through. Moreover, puberty is really an awkward phase and an unhealthy lifestyle won’t make it any better. Tell your child that it’s during this time that their body needs to be really healthy and strong.
First of the healthy lifestyle choices that you should impart to your child is about eating. During puberty, your child’s hormones are raging. Definitely expect that he/she will have an increased appetite, especially to unhealthy foods. This is where you need to step up and look out for your child. You must teach him/her to always have a healthy, balanced diet every meal. Moreover, tell him/her to watch out for foods with too much sugar and fat. Adolescence is a phase where the body’s weight fluctuates every now and then. If they eat too much of those foods or too much of just any foods in general, it may lead to being overweight.
With regards to that, you definitely have to watch out for dieting around this time since teenagers are very much invested on their physical appearance. See to it that their diet plan is safe. You can absolutely go check with a doctor to be really sure. At the same time, be aware that eating disorders are also issues around this time of life. See to it that you are aware and informed of everything that is going on in your child’s life. If you are already suspecting that your child is having an eating disorder, do go to a doctor as soon as possible.
Next of the healthy lifestyle choices that you should impart to your child is about sleeping. Certainly encourage them to have healthy sleeping routines for they need to have good-quality sleep. A good-quality sleep every night will help their body restore and replenish from all the changes it goes through. It can truly help if you will instruct them to cut off all mobile gadgets before bedtime. That way, they can really focus upon dozing off.
Furthermore on how to support a child going through puberty is to teach doing healthy physical activities. Their body needs to be healthy during puberty or adolescence and eating and sleeping right aren’t the end game. They definitely need to exercise regularly to up their body’s game. Tell them that it will be for their health and that working out can really make them look and feel good. As their bodies mature, they can exercise which can really make their figures way better.
Promoting Positive Body Image
Teenagers are known to be really worrying about their physical or outer appearance. First, it’s due to the fact that they are already growing up, and they are indeed expecting positive body changes. Second, they are already experiencing those changes but the transformation is truly awkward and difficult. There is also the fact that each and everyone’s body differs from one another. This girl or boy has a certain body type while that other girl or boy has a different one. But both of those body types are normal.
For these reasons, you really need to make sure that your teenage child has a positive body image around this time. You can ensure that by talking to them directly about this delicate subject matter. Explain to them that they are unique, so it’s just a waste of time to compare themselves to other teenagers. Moreover, you should also tell them that puberty is just a phase that will soon end. All the awkward things that they are going through will not last. For example, the accumulation of pimples or acne is just inevitable during adolescence. It can also really take a jab on a child’s self-esteem. You have to reassure them that acne spurt will definitely calm down soon. Furthermore, that is also the time for you to step up and explain that their worth isn’t based solely on their looks.
Teenagers and Social Media
Another way on how to support a child going through puberty is this one. Social media is indeed a great platform to connect with other people. On the other hand, it’s already proven that it can affect one’s mental well-being. Your child may pick up a lot of things from social media wherein most are plain toxic. It’s because the platform is generally curated to highlight people’s glories rather than their downs. At the same time, it’s full of fake information too. It’s certain that your child will be exposed to a lot of negative things there. They can definitely be triggered that will lead to their insecurities flaring up. For these reasons, tell your child to limit their social media use.
Additional tips: Supporting your daughter through puberty
- Help them pick the clothes that are appropriate for their age and are generally modest.
- Talk about your daughter early on about menstruation to prepare her.
- When your daughter is already menstruating, teach her how to always be ready by buying napkins early on.
- Take note that there are girls who suffer from a lot of pain when they are on their period. That is so true especially on the first day. To help your daughter, you need to prepare a hot bottle of water as well as pain relief medications. At the same time, your daughter will have a lot of cravings during their menstrual days. It can really help soothe all the stress and pain they are feeling if they can eat what they are salivating for.
- Your daughter will experience seeing and feeling a white, mucous-like discharge from their vagina. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them. It’s definitely just one of the changes that they will encounter during puberty.
- Breast size is already a subject matter during your daughter’s puberty or adolescent stage. It’s best if you let your wife take over on topics like this one. On the other hand, if you are a single father, you can research on your own so you can answer your child’s inquiries. Also, you can ask help from any other adult females you know who may help your child.
- Teach them proper body hygiene because they are already having pimples, menstruating, and has pubic hairs too.
Additional tips: Supporting your son through puberty
- Help them pick the clothes that are appropriate for their age and are generally modest.
- Penis size is already a subject matter during your son’s puberty or adolescent stage. You need to have a man-to-man talk about this. Your son will certainly have a lot of questions for you to answer.
- Ejaculating during sleep as well as spontaneous erections are normal and you need to impart that knowledge to your son.
- Your son may also have worries regarding breast growth and/or tenderness. That is the time where you need to reassure him that as his chest widens, that tenderness will subside.
- Teenage boys also opt for being huge or big. So if your son isn’t there yet, you need to reassure him that everything will work out in the end.
- Teach them proper body hygiene because they are already having pimples and has pubic hairs too.
- Your son’s voice will definitely crack soon and that is perfectly normal too.
Always bear in mind that the physical transformations are hard for your child. However, the social and emotional changes are certainly the big deals, and there are a lot of them. Puberty is the time when your child is starting to identify or create his/her own identity. Moreover, he/she is starting to be independent. Furthermore, your child is also beginning to explore his/her own sexuality. You see, these are all big milestones already. It’s for these reasons that your child needs support now more than ever.
As a father or a parent, it’s your mission that your child will stick to the right path. You need to talk to him about knowing one’s self, being responsible, as well as the possibility of romantic relationships. Moreover, you will really have a lot to talk about the latter since you don’t want your child to suffer from unnecessary heartbreaks. You should teach your son on how to spot a girl keeper and teach your daughter on how to spot a decent boy. Additionally, his/her questions about life will begin to start getting deeper and deeper, so you must step up. Without a doubt, you will definitely want your child to come out of this phase strong and whole. That will be 100% possible if you do your part as a parent.
That’s it from me today. If you like this blog post or if you have more suggestions as to how to support a child going through puberty, leave us a comment! Always remember that you are your child’s #1 supporter and top confidant. Make sure that you are always there by his/her side, especially through stages in life where they encounter transformations. Have an awesome, loving, and fulfilling parenting!