Puberty & Your Child

Puberty: when everything changes

Did you know that during puberty, children’s bodies grow faster than at any other time in their
lives, except when they were babies? All that growing and changing can make this an exciting,
stressful and confusing time, for them and for you.

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we’ve had many years of helping our
patients and their parents go through the ups and downs of puberty. We want you to know that
we’re here to help, with advice, information, guidance and a listening ear. Please come in and
talk with us, alone or with your child. We’ll do everything we can to make what can be a rough
ride a little smoother.

What is puberty?

Usually, puberty starts between ages 8-13 in girls and ages 9-15 in boys. It’s brought on by
hormones (testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls) that set a number of things in motion:

Both boys and girls:

  • Start to grow hair under their arms and pubic areas
  • Have growth spurts
  • Can develop acne or skin problems
  • Start to produce body odor
  • Can experience “growing pains” in joints
  • Can become overly sensitive or get upset easily
  • Have an increased sense of body image, self-consciousness
  • Experience sexual feelings

Boys:

  • Start to grow facial hair
  • Their voices change
  • Develop an Adam’s apple
  • Penises and testacles grow
  • Experience ejaculation (“wet dreams”)

Girls:

  • Develop breasts and hips
  • Start their periods (menstruation)
  • Experience PMS
  • Experience vaginal discharge

Everybody develops differently

During puberty, everyone changes at his or her own pace. However, some kids enter puberty
very early, or still have not experienced it by an age when they should have. If you feel this
might be the case with your child and you’re concerned, please come in and talk with us.
Together with you and your child, we’ll determine what’s going on and if any action needs to be
taken.

Your child’s sexual health

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we believe being educated and informed
about all aspects of your child’s health leads to peace of mind and better choices, including the
area of sexual health. In response to the questions we tend to get from our adolescent and teenage
patients and their parents, we’ve put together a webpage called “Sexual Health” with information
on safe sex, birth control, STDs, gender identification and more. To find it, please click here.