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Change is in the air

3 tips for talking to your teen about puberty.

Article Author: Carolyn Tillo

Article Date:

talking to your teen about puberty

Deeper voices, unpleasant odors and hair in new places. As your pre-teen or teenager’s body changes, how do you talk to him or her about puberty?

Bethany Atkins, MD, a pediatrician with Baptist Primary Care, shared her tips for how parents can help kids navigate this exciting (but sometimes challenging) time.

1. Use correct terminology. Children are naturally curious, and they may ask you about different body parts at an early age. Dr. Atkins said not to shy away from these conversations, rather embrace them instead. She encouraged parents to call private parts by their actual anatomical names rather than using “cute” alternatives.

2. Start conversations early. Dr. Atkins begins educating her patients about puberty starting around age 8 because that’s when some of their peers may start developing.

“Most kids will probably come to their parents with questions,” Dr. Atkins said. “If not, I encourage parents to start these conversations. You don’t want your kids’ friends being the ones explaining these changes to them.”

3. Take advantage of helpful resources. Dr. Atkins also likes to recommend books that can help to answer some of the questions kids may have.

“I love that the books are self-guided,” she said. “Kids can go to the pages related to their specific questions.”

If kids have a topic they don’t feel comfortable talking about with their parents, or vice versa, the pediatrician can provide guidance.

“We don’t want to put parents or kids outside of their comfort level when they’re having these talks,” Dr. Atkins said. “Pediatricians are trained to talk to children about puberty, and we’re here to help.”

Looking for a pediatrician? Click here to find the best fit for your child and family.

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