Your Daughter and Her Changing Body
The thought of your daughter starting puberty can be daunting and raise questions about what’s “normal” in terms of development.
The average age for girls to start puberty is around 11, and a key sign that puberty has begun is breast development. While 11 may be average, puberty that starts as early as age 8 or as late as age 13 is generally considered normal.
Worried About Early Development?
When a girl starts puberty early, the production of estrogen can affect bone development. Depending on the reason for excess estrogen, talk with your doctor about the possibility of slowing down the process to prevent further premature development.
Some recent medical studies have uncovered a link between everyday products we use and how they can affect development. Chemicals found in plastics, cosmetics and some foods have estrogen-like properties and may lead to an earlier start to puberty.
Childhood obesity can also impact the start of puberty, because weight plays a significant part in development. A certain amount of extra body weight can contribute to earlier puberty. Parents are often concerned that their child is starting puberty early because there are signs of breast development. Keep in mind, sometimes it is simply extra tissue due to their weight and not actually breast tissue.
When Your Daughter Develops Later
Worried your daughter is a “late bloomer” because she isn’t showing signs of development around age 13? Talk with your pediatrician first. If your child’s pediatrician is concerned about early or late development, consider consulting a specialist.
There are also great resources available for parents looking to educate their child on puberty. Books and reliable websites are easy ways to get you and your daughter helpful information about this exciting, but often mysterious, chapter in her life.
Remember, whether your daughter develops at an average rate or seems a bit ahead or behind the curve, your young woman needs your empathy, support and listening ear most of all.
What is a resource you have found to be useful to educate your daughter about puberty? How can you help your daughter have a positive body image as she moves through puberty? Let us know below.