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How Doctors Diagnose and Treat Precocious Puberty

Partnering With Your Child's Doctor

If you think your child is showing signs of early puberty, don't delay in getting help. If you wait too long, it can be harder to control the development, Josefson says. 

There's no surefire formula for deciding when a child needs treatment. Doctors have different approaches. It's important to find a doctor whom you trust. If you're not comfortable with his or her suggestions, get a second opinion, Kaplowitz says. 

Try to guard against your own anxieties -- and separate your child's feelings from your own. While you might be worried about the possible effects of early puberty, your kid might be doing OK. 

If your child is feeling self-conscious about the changes to her body -- or getting teased at school -- a therapist may help. Ask your doctor for a referral to someone who has experience in treating kids with early puberty. 

Early Puberty: Talking to Your Kids

Don't leave everything to the experts. You have an important role to play, too. It might not be easy to discuss early puberty with your child -- you probably thought the dreaded sex talk was a few years off at least -- but you need to do it. 

"Parents really need to teach their kids with early puberty what to expect as their bodies change," says Kaplowitz. "I've found that when parents take the time to explain what's happening and prepare their kids, they often handle it quite well." 

One of the most important things you can do, Josefson says, is to reassure your kids that they're normal. They don't have a disease and they shouldn't see themselves as sick. 

"Parents should help their kids see that central precocious puberty isn't a big medical problem they need to worry about," Josefson says.  "They're going through a normal process that everybody goes through. It might have started earlier than usual, but it's still normal." 

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Reviewed on June 02, 2010

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