Puberty: Normal Growth and Development in Girls
Your child has reached the stage of adolescence called puberty. During this stage, your child’s body begins to develop and gain sexual maturity. This sheet tells you what to expect during this stage of your child’s growth and development.
How long does puberty last?
In girls, puberty usually begins between the ages of 9 and 14. Once it begins, it lasts about 2 to 5 years. But every child is different. And there is a wide range of what is “normal.” Your girl may begin puberty a little earlier or later and finish sooner or later than her friends. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development, talk to your child’s healthcare provider.
Physical changes during puberty
Reassuring your child
Your child may be concerned that her peers are more or less developed than she is. Explain to your child that kids of the same age may be at different stages of puberty. Your child’s growth, whether slow or fast, is happening at the right rate for her.
Help your child adjust to her changing body. Offer solutions for body odor and acne (such as bathing more often, using deodorant, and using acne products).
Your child will likely feel uncomfortable discussing sexual changes with you. Let her know you are there to talk to. You may also consider giving your child a book with information about puberty that she can read on her own.
Exams during puberty
As puberty begins, it’s important for your daughter to see her healthcare provider once a year. Continue bringing her in for regular health screenings, at least once a year. Know that, throughout puberty, health screenings will involve exam of your child without clothes. This lets the healthcare provider see how your daughter is progressing physically through puberty. Reassure your child that this exam is normal and expected. Also, parents may be asked to leave the room during a portion of the exam. This is so the child and the healthcare provider can have an honest and open discussion. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your child’s healthcare provider.
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