Somewhere between the ages of 8 to 10, your young person will begin the physiological changes of puberty. You may not see the physical changes in them, yet hormones are beginning to be released and their body is about to “bloom.” During the first stage of puberty, an area of the brain called the hypothalamus starts to send signals to the rest of the body that it is time to start developing into an adult body. These signals are actually hormones that travel through your bloodstream and include gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), the luteinizing hormone (LH), and the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones are the main ones responsible for helping your young person grow from their current body size into the adult-size body they are meant to be.
Some of the various parts of the body that are stimulated to grow and change are your:
- External reproductive organs
- Breast tissue
Note: If you believe your young person is going through bodily changes early (precocious puberty), or seems delayed (delayed puberty), make an appointment with your medical professional. This person can help ease your mind and provide support if either of these situations are occurring.
Supporting Your Preteen and YOU!
During this stage, start researching what changes will occur. This includes checking out different areas of the Puberty Tab on the BLOOM website, as well as the numerous books and other resources that exist. You can also share these resources with your young person, discovering them together or separately, and then talking about what was learned at a later time. Just like a person who reads a Driver’s Education manual before actually driving a vehicle, researching and reading up on what to expect helps to prepare your young person and you!
Talking with Your Preteen
Many health professionals recommend talking with your young person before they begin going through the actual changes of puberty. This talk helps to prepare them for all the basic changes they will experience over the next few years, including the physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. (See the Q&A Section for additional reasons why) Also, remind your young person that everyone develops at their own rate. To help start conversations, consider asking them the following:
- What are you noticing about some kids at school who seem to be growing older?
- What are you looking forward to as you get older?
- What are you not looking forward to as you get older?