Changes in Girls During Puberty
When puberty hits, parents ask: “Who is this kid?”
Ask anybody who has been through it, especially changes in girls during puberty and they will tell you: Puberty is vicious. We’re not talking about the kids going through puberty here, we’re talking about the changes that parents go through.
There’s no shock like changes parents experience when their boy or girl becomes a teenager, specialists say. And adolescent angst doesn’t hold out for a 13th birthday.
Dr. Vicki Panaccione, who specializes in (working with) boy and girls, adolescents and families, said puberty is a “physiological term explaining that boys and girls changes during puberty are moving from adolescent and preparing for adulthood. There are hormonal changes where the voice begins to change, changes in breasts develop, the onset of menses, and facial and pubic hair begin to appear.
“Adolescence is a concept that society has created to define the behavioral changes that boys and girls go through during puberty, other than the body.”
“Boys and girls are beginning the changes and are developing much earlier. It’s a big concern to me as a psychologist because it throws these little “bitties” into dealing with big issues when emotionally and socially they’re not ready…It’s scary for them. I mean, a little girl says, ‘Look, I’m bleeding.’ Try and explain these changes (menses) to a 10-year-old girl!”
“The clue to dealing with the changes that boys and girls go through during puberty is open communication from age 2 on up to early adulthood. Find dialogue any way you can because the puberty stage is the most troublesome stage of the life cycle.
The conflict of these changes between parent and adolescent is a natural one, said Panaccione. “At each stage of life, there is a set of tasks we need to accomplish. In adolescence, the conflict with parents is appropriate. They say, ‘Look, I’m me, not you.’ They’re developing their own personalities and set of values.”
Not letting conflicts develop into major problems during puberty is up to the parents, said Panaccione. “It’s important for parents to pick their battles. The most important are drug and alcohol use, drinking and driving, and sexual behavior. What’s not as important are hair cuts, style of clothes.”
“I counseled one girl during puberty who had about 20 bangle bracelets on her arm. Her father absolutely would not have it. He made her take them off. The result was that she acted out in other ways, worse ways.”
“With teenagers during changes of puberty, you have to do some compromising. I don’t mean compromising your values. But sometimes you might let them do something you’d rather they didn’t, as long as it’s not wrong and won’t harm them.”
As published in Florida Today.
© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.