Puberty can be rough on many of us. Between the hormones and our ever-changing bodies, it can also be tricky for parents and children to talk about. But how about when you start earlier than expected? While many of us can recount our first periods (usually sometime in middle school), these days there are girls as young as seven menstruating.
In fact, there have also been several studies documenting this shift toward earlier menstruation, which is more notable among African-American and Latina populations. So what’s going on with kids these days? This new video out of Louisville, KY tackles the tough questions about what it’s like for kids these days to hit puberty much sooner than planned.
In it, pediatric gynecologist Dr. Paige Hertweck tells parents not to worry. She also reminds people that while there’s no real way to prevent early puberty from occurring, what parents can control is how they handle the situation. That means instead of acting like something “bad” or “weird” is happening to their kids, they should educate them using methods that make sense to young minds. It’s pretty important to get this discussion right, because, as some experts have noted, early puberty is associated with higher risks for some psychological problems, such as eating disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression.
Speaking to US News, Dr. Danelle Fisher of Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Santa Monica, reminds parents that for kids with early puberty, “the emotional risks are daily, from the interaction with peers who are not at the same hormonal, emotional and physical levels to the loss of a sense of childhood when the body matures too quickly.”
One great tool for helping girls discuss early puberty is the Lammily doll, which we’ve talked about here on HelloGiggles as being the awesome alternative to Barbie that also teaches kids about menstruation.
Interested in learning more? See the whole video below: