Puberty – just the word can take you back to when you were going through it. The body changes, the awkwardness, the feelings, and the lack of understanding of what was going on with your body was so uncomfortable. Today it seems our children are starting to go through puberty at younger and younger ages due to numerous factors. Doctors Julianna Deardorff and Louise Greenspan have written a book called The New Puberty in which they investigate and discuss a long-term study of puberty. Their research in The New Puberty looks at the percentage of girls who are going through early puberty, the environmental, biological and socioeconomic factors that influence when puberty begins, and whether early puberty is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. They have been following 444 girls from the San Francisco Bay area since 2005, when the girls were 6 to 8 years old. The study is funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In a recent interview with NPR, Julianna Deardorff tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross, “It has been established that girls who enter puberty earlier are more likely to have symptoms of anxiety, higher levels of depression, initiate sex earlier and sexual behaviors earlier.” They also look at and discuss how difficult it can be on a young girl to go through puberty at such a young age and how imperative it is for her to have parental support. What we can do is talk to our children about what is happening. Keep an open line of communication with them and pay attention to their actions. Know what they are doing online and who they are talking to. Notice whether or not they seem withdrawn or anxious. Our children need our support and they need to understand that puberty is natural regardless of what age it occurs. As we always say – Talk, talk, talk and talk some more!! To read the interview and get more information about their study, go to NPR, How Girls Are Developing Earlier In An Age Of ‘New Puberty.’
Please join us for our upcoming Puberty class:
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Prior registration is required.
—Mary & Claire