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Talking About Early Puberty

Wibbelsman suggests parents say some or all of the following things to promote healthy self-esteem for children with early puberty.

  • “Everybody goes through puberty. You just started early.”
  • “It’s important for you to take care of yourself — and I’m here to help.”
  • To address mood swings in girls: “At certain times you may have confusing feelings. This is normal. You may feel crazy but you are not.”

If your child is 6 years old, it is not too early to start talking about love and relationships. A good measure of your child’s readiness to talk about the topic is the questions she asks. By answering with truthful, simple information, you can let your child know she can talk openly with you now and throughout puberty.

Precocious Puberty and a Girl’s Behavior

If your daughter has precocious puberty, the influx of hormones could send her into mood swings before any of her friends. Having visible breasts could make your daughter self-conscious, even ashamed of her body.

Girls with precocious puberty can have a higher risk for poor relationships, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse as teens, maybe a result of standing out before they’re ready for the extra attention.

Despite her young age, take your daughter’s experience seriously. Let her know that the changes she’s going through are normal -- she just started a few years earlier than most kids. Remember that she is still a young child who looks to you for love, comfort, and reassurance.

Early Puberty and a Boy’s Behavior

Early puberty is more common in girls than boys. If your son does start puberty early, he may become aggressive and develop a sex drive ahead of his years. He may have trouble relating to boys his age and have trouble concentrating in school.

As with girls, keep treating your son as the boy he is, even if he’s starting to look like a man. Be affectionate and give him a chance to talk through his frustrations.

Puberty: What's Normal?

When should puberty start? See the ages and changes to expect.
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