Sooner or later, between the ages of 9 and 15, your child will face a profound physical transformation. Destabilizing, this stage of puberty requires accompanying your teenager … but all in nuances. The advice of Florence Millot, psychologist and educational psychologist, specialized in supporting children and parenting, in Paris.
Puberty: no need to talk about it too soon
Breasts and hairs that grow, voice in full molt and buttons that hatch on faces with changing shapes … All these modifications are linked to the profound hormonal upheaval at the end of which the body will pass from the stage of child to that of adult. The most visible part of this transition, “even if it is a rather thankless period of loss of self-confidence, bodily changes occur quite naturally”, underlines Florence Millot, psychologist. Preparing your child for it as on the eve of a marathon does not make much sense. “The child is living in the present tense and talking to him about puberty two or three years before will not interest him.”
On the other hand, it is useful to lay the groundwork, “at the age of CP or CE 1, by simply explaining, in a documentary way, that the body changes according to the ages of life and that one’s will also change”.
Physical changes, changes in taste
The modifications are not only physical, “and, from the point of view of the teenager, it is his emotions and changes of tastes, more than those of his body, which interests him, the opinion of his peers which prevails, with the desire to stand out from his parents “. No question of approaching puberty head-on, at the risk of embarrassing him. His privacy must be absolutely respected, knowing that “at this age, he not only closes the door to his room, but also that of” his head “, which is normal and necessary”.
The best thing to do: observe its changes, physical and look, to accompany them in real time. Pimples eating his nose? We can offer him to buy creams. Does he become obsessed with his appearance, while we ourselves are closed to these questions (and necessarily labeled old-fashioned)? Why not invite him to a shopping trip or a make-up workshop, with a loved one who loves it, for example? Nothing better to help him and discreetly detect the reasons for this concern, and any discomfort.
How to approach intimate questions?
Supporting a teenager at the time of puberty, “it is above all to help him gain confidence,” recalls the specialist. Rules, emerging sexuality, eating disorders, dangers linked to the staging, both innocent and hyper sexualized, of their body on applications like TikTok … To address all these more intimate questions, which may worry him, it is better to y go step by step, “as one would peel an onion, starting from the general to arrive at the particular”.
By choosing a quiet moment, where you have time in front of you, out of reach of the ears of others (siblings included), you can ask him what he thinks of a fact, an information or a video showing their body. on stage relayed by one of the social networks that teenagers love, “and that we have an interest in following ourselves to“ enter ”their world and (its) see what is happening there.” Ask the question in a general way “allows to get an idea of his level of maturity on such subject, before asking him if he feels concerned, and possibly if he wants to talk about it. Your teenager will probably tell you no. But he will know the door is open. “
>> Every 10 years, the age of puberty decreases. Many studies have already looked at precocious puberty in girls, some pointing out that this precocity is due to chemicals in skincare and makeup products. researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, looked on precocious puberty in boys. According to the researchers, boys now reach puberty on average at 13 years old instead of 14. This precocity is due to the increase in body mass index. “With each decade, we have observed a decrease in the average age of puberty of 1.5 months” explain the researchers. These findings may be of interest to pediatricians, who could talk with their young patients about drug and alcohol use, sexuality and body changes “at a younger age,” said the study’s lead author.
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