Oh the joys of puberty! If your child hasn’t reached this stage yet, local therapist Jessie Shepherd is here for you. Patience and communication are key to a healthy transition with puberty. Did you know puberty is not physical at first? It begins long before physical changes start happening to your child. You may find your child being more emotional; such as being tearful, or angry for (what you can see as) no reason.
Friend group changes: You may also see that your child is moving in and out of different friend groups or acting uncharacteristically (being mean to others or short with you).
Less able to express self or concerns: Your child may feel like their brain is cloudy, specifically when they are upset or angry. Social interactions may feel more confusing to them and they may have a harder time expressing these concerns to a parent/trusted adult.
How to manage puberty: Talk, a lot. Talk often about how they are and what their experience is. This will help them process their emotions and set you up as a support when things feel like it’s too much for them.
Discuss physical AND emotional changes. Hopefully this talk has occurred many times in your home so that when these subjects come up they do not feel taboo to your child. Make sure these discussions are age appropriate and that they are able to ask questions.
Get moving! Exercise and play are important as they enter a new stage of life. It helps with physical well being and also processing emotions enough so that talks can be more productive.
Hobbies! We all need outlets to engage our brains and build self worth. Make sure your child has a hobby and that you can either interact with them in the hobby or at least talk about it often.
Ask for help! There is nothing wrong with asking for help if these topics or emotions feel like they are too much. Contact your medical provider or a counselor for assistance. When you attend these appointments make sure you act as a team, but also allow your child to have individual time to ask any questions they have.