Sometimes the people in our lives choose to spend time with others during their adolescent years. This is because not only does a person’s body change during puberty, but their brain, personality, and likes/dislikes might change too. Although losing a friend is difficult, try to partake in activities you like to meet new friends and have fun. Maybe one day in the future you may find your old friend reconnecting with you. To learn more about friendships, visit BLOOM’s Relationships Page.
Body parts that come in “twos,” or pairs, are not perfectly symmetrical. Just compare your two hands or eyes to one another. Odds are you will see slight differences. The same thing applies to breasts and testicles. One may be a little larger or smaller than the other and hang differently. That is natural and who you are! To learn more about your developing body, visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.
Yes! Bodily changes and moodiness are common for all preteens and teens.
First, remember to be kind to your friend about their smells; all of us are smelly some days. Then figure out a nice way of telling your friend about their odors.
- One way of telling them is to privately remind them that everyone, including yourself, is going through puberty. And that one of the pubertal changes is increased body odor.
- Another way is to tell them that you have decided to start washing more regularly, including your underarm areas and feet. If you are using a product to limit underarm odors, tell them this too. You may want to let them know that you carry your deodorant/anti-perspirant in your bag and that you reapply it when needed.
- If they still don’t get the hint, you can say, “I feel awkward saying this, yet you are my friend and I care about you. You smell sometimes in a not-so-nice way. I think you are going through puberty like I am and need to wash more.” Usually, if we express true concern without judgment, our friends will listen. Think of it this way—if you had spinach in your teeth, wouldn’t you want your friend to tell you and tell you in a nice way?
Just like how we all grew from being a baby, to being a toddler, to being a child, we continue to grow from being a child into a teenager, then into an adult. Growing older is a part of living.
To feel more positive about growing older, make a list of all of the things you will be able to do as you get older to focus on happy things. For example, as you get older you can learn how to drive a car and get a license, get a job, as well as experience other things that a child cannot.
Yes! Some people have a vulva with a vaginal opening and clitoris. Some people have a penis and a scrotum sac. Some people have a combination of these things. All of these scenarios are fine. What is the same for everyone is having a urethra opening (for urine or “pee” to come out) and an anus (for feces or “poop” to come out). To learn more about your private parts and see the diverse range of what genitals may look like, visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.
Pubic hair begins to grow once you reach a certain stage in puberty. This hair grows on the outer skin of your genital area including on the scrotum sac, at the base of the penis, and the outside labia lips. This hair first starts growing in a small area then spreads over a larger area towards your lower abdomen and upper inner legs. It grows because of the increase in the release of certain hormones in your body. It may seem weird yet our ancestors have had pubic hair growth for centuries. To learn more about your genitals, visit BLOOM’s Healthy Body page.
All young people grow at the rate their bodies are meant to grow. Some young people start their growth spurt earlier than others because hormones in their bodies are released earlier than other people’s bodies. Other young people start pubertal changes later. There is no need to be concerned – instead, try to remember we all grow when we are supposed to grow and at the rate we are meant to grow.
First, remain calm. Sometimes a period comes when we aren’t expecting it. That is okay. To prepare for this, keep a menstrual product, like a pad or tampon, in your backpack or locker. If you don’t have one, ask the school nurse or another person working at the school, like a trusted teacher. People who work at schools know people have periods so menstrual products can usually be found somewhere.
Actually, no. Puberty is the developmental phase of a child’s body maturing into an adult’s body. Adolescence is the period of time when a young person develops from a child into an adult. In other words, you experience the changes of puberty during adolescence.
Just like most decisions in life, everyone has the right to decide what is best for them. Some people with menstrual cycles like using tampons; others like using menstrual pads. And then others use menstrual cups or menstrual underwear, or a combination of these products depending upon their mood, amount of menstrual flow, and physical activities. All of these are acceptable to use.
If you have specific sensory or motor needs, check with your school nurse, OT, or caregivers to help identify what products might be best for you. Some people choose to wear disposable gloves if they are initially nervous handling their own hygiene products, others may need support specific for their motor needs on how to be as independent as possible. To learn more about period products and which ones are right for you, visit BLOOM’s Period Products page.
Intersex is the term used when a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that is not “female” or “male” yet a variation of parts. For example, a person may appear to be a biological female on the outside, yet may have been born with biological male reproductive parts. Or a person may have been born with a larger clitoris and no vaginal opening. Sometimes the variations are noticed when a baby is born. Other times they appear as the preteen or teen approaches or begins puberty.
No, no one knows you have your period unless you tell them. These days there are a variety of menstrual products a person can use in which no one knows which one you are wearing/using unless you tell them or they see it in your backpack or locker (this is okay; we all have personal items in our personal spaces).
Absolutely! Preteens and teens with autism have the same body parts of other preteens and teens. Having autism may affect how a preteen or teen communicates and behaves, yet it usually doesn’t affect body parts and pubertal changes.
A wet dream, also called a nocturnal emission, is a natural and normal occurrence that some young people with a penis experience. Usually, no one will know this occurred unless you tell them. Sometimes, though, your family members may know because you told them or they notice you cleaning your bed sheets and pajamas more often. It’s ok to ask a family member to teach you how to do the laundry so you can take care of it yourself.
Sometimes, those who do not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth can experience some emotional difficulty, confusion, angst, and body dysmorphia if they are developing in a way that is not aligned with how they feel inside. If this is the case, you are not alone. Speak with a trusted adult about accessing resources that are available to you to help navigate your feelings and experience during puberty. You can also explore BLOOM’s Gender Identity page to learn more and find supportive resources.
Sometimes a person with a penis may experience an erection, hardening of the penis, unexpectedly. Like you noted, this can happen at school as well as at other times during the day. Realize this happens because your body is practicing what it means to be a sexual being. As you get older, you will be able to have more control over getting erections. In the meantime, when you get one now, try to think of something that does not “turn you on,” like eating liver and onions or some boring historical fact/mathematical equation. Also, you can shift your penis to make it less noticeable, place a jacket or book on your lap, go somewhere private until the erection goes away, and/or wear baggy pants, boxer shorts, or an untucked shirt/sweater to make things less noticeable.
Remember – everyone’s body is different. Sometimes a young person requires medical care regarding basic pubertal growth and changes. This is not common for most young people; if this is needed, the medical professional will work with the young person so they can grow and be healthy.
Touching a body part, including those in the genital area, for fun or pleasure is called masturbation. And, yes, touching your body parts is okay. Masturbation is a healthy form of self exploration people choose to do in private. Masturbation can be a concern, though, if it interrupts your daily activities, makes your genitals sore, or if you choose to do this in front of others without them wanting you to.
Having a sexual relationship requires much responsibility and maturity. This includes having effective communication skills, making smart decisions, making sure a person provides consent and is able to do so. Just because your genitals are maturing and becoming more adult-like, does not mean you need to use your body parts for sex.