Hair will start to grow in the pubic area, armpits and more heavily on the legs. Girls will start having their menstrual periods, which will follow a cycle when the ovaries will be releasing eggs, thus making it possible for your “baby” to have a baby of her own! This cycle can also produce a perfectly natural clear or whitish vaginal discharge in between periods.
Boys tend to enter puberty later than girls, with an average age of 13 to 15. Since boys don’t have any sure signs that they’ve entered puberty, like with the start of menstruation with girls, a combination of characteristics will alert you that it has begun.
Most dramatic is the accelerated growth in most boys. They become taller and their shoulders become broader. This is a time when you should plan to buy new clothes for your son rather frequently! A boy’s voice will start to change its pitch also. The penis, scrotum, and testes will grow and change their appearance, although most boys at this age won’t want their parents observing this.
Puberty is generally a time when both boys and girls become self-conscious about their appearances, particularly in their “private” areas. Boys will start having nocturnal emissions (nighttime ejaculations or “wet dreams”). This is perfectly normal and parents should not embarrass their sons by bringing attention to it. At best, they should reassure them that this is a natural part of maturation.
Once boys enter puberty, they need to be made aware of their ability to impregnate a girl. This is the time to teach your son about responsible behavior!
This is where the similarities between the terrible two’s and puberty are evident, especially with girls. Whining, rejecting your advice, and crying for no apparent reason are just something you’ll have to get used to for awhile. The hormone changes in girls produce mood swings unlike anything you’ve ever experienced with her.
While it’s natural and unavoidable, you’re still the parent and can draw lines as to what is and is not appropriate behavior. Moodiness may be a part of puberty, but talking back to you doesn’t need to be.
The same is true with your son. As he starts to feel like “more of a man,” he may start to defy your wishes. Decide what you will allow and what you consider to be unacceptable and then be consistent. If you let your pre-teen or early teen start to walk all over you, chances are good that you’ll have no control as they reach high school.
Puberty may be new to your kids, but it’s certainly not a unique experience. After all, you survived your own puberty. Now you just have to survive your children’s!