Becoming a Woman Doesn't Happen Overnight
Puberty can be rather challenging for young girls and nerve-racking for parents! This is because of the changes in girls during puberty intended to prepare her body for reproduction. This preparation induces the physical changes we anticipate such as breast and body hair growth, wider hips and thinning waistlines. And yes, of course her menstrual cycle begins! But this is only the beginning of puberty for girls.
The Changes in Girls During Puberty
Girls should also expect other primary and secondary physiological changes accompanying puberty. Perhaps the overwhelming nature of puberty in girls is the root cause for the infamous growing pains and frustration. Obviously there's more to puberty in girls than explained in 5th Grade Sex Ed Class. Therefore, in addition to sex education classes, talking openly will help to offer a clearer picture of what puberty is to girls and equips them with informational tools necessary to handle this naturally confusing time in her life.
Some girls actually look forward to puberty. It demonstrates an anticipated milestone of transitioning from mommy's little girl into a flowering young woman. The highlight of puberty for most girls is an attractiveness to boys and and even sometimes a closer connection with mom. You can now talk about boys, feminine hygiene and menstrual cycles. This is considered the "Glam" side of growing up!
Unfortunately, most girls have no clue of the impact in emotional changes they're in store for nor do they know how puberty will alter family and social interaction. In fact, the process of puberty can be substantially overwhelming for girls dealing with questions of sexuality and religious implications. Milestone or not, when a girl reaches the threshold of puberty it's an uplifting drag in more ways than one. Parental understanding of the 4 most common emotional changes in girls during puberty is the best way to help teen girls get through puberty smoothly.
Emotional Changes in Girls during Puberty
Often the feeling of embarrassment during puberty is natural for girls. This comes from a combination of feeling awkward and anomalous. Generally, comments and behavioral changes while adjusting to a girl's physical change during puberty can cause her to emotionally perceive puberty as something to be ashamed of. Hiding her body to avoid comments about her growing physique, being withdrawn and demanding privacy are a few examples of what to expect. Remember young girls' sensitivity levels are heightening during puberty, so comments and overt behavioral adjustments will trigger embarrassment in her. Bottom line is to avoid making puberty a big deal publicly and to help teen girls overcome feeling ashamed of it.
Rejection is another emotion associated with puberty changes in girls. A large part of puberty requires specific modification in etiquette while in the company of men. This etiquette is quite different from what she's use to, thereby causing emotional shifts toward dad, granddad, uncles and brothers. Inadvertently, this makes her feel isolated and rejected because her interaction changes from physical to mental. No more bouncing on daddy's knee or bathing with male siblings. The best way to combat the feeling of rejection in girls during puberty is to focus her attention on the mental more mature bond she's creating to replace the physical playful bond she can no longer receive from the male figures in her life.
Among the emotional trials and tribulations of puberty for girls is the feeling of being misunderstood. We've all experienced the "you don't understand me" syndrome. This is often the reason most girls going through puberty find it difficult to go to their parents for answers. Not to mention why girls resort to congregate with other pubescent teens for the answers. Most often the wrong answers! A young girl's lack of understanding the process of puberty perpetuates her perceptions that no one else understands, particularly Mom and Dad. And for this reason explaining everything about puberty and not just the "Glam Side" to a prepubescent girl is critical. After all, parents want their daughters to open up about what going on with her body right?
Disappointment is by far the worse emotional changes in girls during puberty. It's as if nothing is pleasing to her, especially when it comes to her appearance! So when one girl sees another in gym class who is the same age as she, in a "C" cup bra and she's still in a trainer, expect problems.
Generally, prepubescent females perceive puberty as an immediate transition into maturity and slow transitioning becomes exasperating. Quite naturally, girls develop differently and at different rates of progression. The key ingredient to combating the normal feelings of disappointment in girls is by explaining that everyone is different in terms of developmental rates. This will help her have more patience with puberty and the maturing process.
Reverting to past pubescent experiences we had as young girls should be our guide when raising a daughter going through puberty. Ultimately, knowing the natural process of maturity and all its up's and downs will help teen girls sort through the number of changes she should expect and accept.