How to Make the Start of Puberty Easier for a Child
Puberty can be a somewhat difficult and awkward time for a child. If your child is currently going through puberty, as a caring parent, you might naturally wish to know what you can do to make this experience easier for them.
There are many ways you can help during this unique time in a child’s life. The following are just a few examples worth keeping in mind.
Find the Right Content
There’s good news worth remembering when preparing a child for puberty or supporting them throughout it: you don’t have to do so alone. There’s plenty of content from experts (such as books, films, etc.) designed specifically to help a child better understand the changes they may experience during puberty. Set aside time to find content that you think would appeal to your child.
Although the way in which going through puberty impacts a child’s moods and behaviors can vary somewhat from one child to the next, it’s not uncommon for children to become more prone to angry outbursts and sullen moods when they’re going through puberty.
There’s two reasons this is the case. One, the hormonal changes experienced during puberty can naturally trigger anger and other upset emotions in anyone. Two, puberty is often stressful for a child, and they may not have yet developed the coping mechanisms necessary to deal with these new feelings.
No, you shouldn’t tolerate extremely disrespectful behavior, but you should strive to maintain your calm to a reasonable degree when your child begins acting out during puberty. That doesn’t mean you should be a “pushover” who lets a child get away with any infraction with no consequences. It simply means you need to make your child more comfortable with coming to you when they’re struggling with the emotional difficulties that puberty may bring. If you punish your child harshly or fail to listen to them whenever they’re angry, they may be less likely to accept your support in the future.
Give Them Tools and Training
It’s possible to become so comfortable performing basic daily adult tasks, such as shaving or using a tampon, that an adult forgets we’re not born with the knowledge and tools we need to perform those tasks. When your child approaches the age where they may need to learn these tasks, make sure you’ve trained them properly and provided them with the tools (such as a razor and shaving cream) they need.
Don’t Downplay Certain Changes
A well-meaning adult may feel the urge to downplay the significance of a physical change in an effort to help their child cope with some unpleasant aspects of puberty. For example, if a child is very upset about acne, their parent might try to convince them “it’s no big deal” or “no one will even notice.”
This is understandable. However, experts recommend actually taking these concerns seriously. First of all, managing acne and other changes that occur during puberty properly can guard against long-term issues, like scarring.
Additionally, a parent is often in a position to help a child manage these changes more easily than they could do so on their own. For instance, a parent in the above scenario could ask for tips from their child’s pediatrician instead of dismissing their child when they become particularly upset about acne.
Most importantly, both you and your child need to remember that puberty won’t last forever. True, your child may be experiencing certain difficulties now, but that will eventually change. Make sure they understand this.