Puberty for girls
When does puberty occur?
Again, each child is different, and there’s a lot of variation in the age of onset of puberty. Most girls begin to notice symptoms around 8 – 13 years of age (approximately a year before boys enter puberty). For many girls, the first sign of puberty is when her breasts begin to grow.
Your daughter may notice pubic hair growing shortly after breast development begins. The initial growth of hair produces long, soft hair that is only in a small area around the genitals. This hair becomes darker and coarser as it continues to spread.
She may grow hair on her legs and under her arms at around 12 years of age. Many teens decide to shave this hair.
Usually at some point between 10 to 16.5 years of age, girls will also begin to get their menstrual periods. This begins when the body releases an egg from the ovaries. If the egg is fertilized with a sperm from a male, it will grow into a baby inside the uterus. If the egg is not fertilized, the tissues inside the uterus are not needed and are shed through the vagina as fluid. The fluids are bloody and are usually released monthly. After a girl begins to menstruate, she is able to get pregnant.
As hormones increase, your daughter may experience oily skin and increased sweating. She may develop acne. This is a normal part of growing. It is important to wash daily, including the face.
How much will my daughter grow?
Between the ages of 10-14 your daughter may grow anywhere from 2 to 10 inches and gain 15 to 55 pounds.
Her body shape will also begin to change. Her hips may get wider and her waist may get smaller. There may also be an increase in fat in the buttocks, legs and stomach.
She may also notice her feet, arms, legs and hands growing "faster" than the rest of her body, which may cause her to experience a time of feeling clumsy. These are all normal changes.
What does my daughter understand?
The adolescent years bring many changes — not only physically, but also mentally and socially. While each teen is unique and may progress at a different rate and show a different view of the world, some behaviors you may notice include:
- thinking abstractly
- developing concerns with philosophy, politics and social issues
- thinking long-term
- setting goals
- comparing herself to her peers
Your teen’s relationships with others
As your teen begins to struggle for independence and control, she may experience some interpersonal changes. Some issues you may notice with your daughter during her adolescent years include:
- She wants independence from parents.
- Peer influence and acceptance is very important.
- Female-male relationships become very important.
- She may be in love.
- She may have a long-term commitment in a relationship.
To be sure, the teenaged years are rarely considered painless for most teens and their parents. But with good communication and mutual understanding, your support during this important time can help strengthen your bond with your daughter.