What does puberty mean?
Puberty is when a child begins to grow and develop into an adult. The average age for girls to start puberty is 11 and for boys, it’s a bit later, at 12 years old. However, everyone’s body is different so some children might start puberty earlier or later than these ages. For example, some children start puberty as early as eight years old and others’ might not start until around the age of 14. It all depends on when your body is ready. Usually, it takes around four years to go through the whole process of puberty.
Why will my body change when I go through puberty?
Your body changes when you go through puberty because you need to start developing into an adult. It might feel a bit strange when you start noticing changes in your body. This might make you feel differently about the way your body looks but you shouldn’t worry, it’s all natural. If you are ever worried, you can speak to someone you trust at home or school, including your school nurse.
There are different physical changes that can happen to your body. Boys and girls can experience a lot of the same physical changes to their bodies, including:
- Sweating more
- Oily skin
- Getting spots or acne
- Changes to body shape
- Changes to weight
- Growing taller
- Developing body hair, including pubic and underarm hair.
Body changes that can happen to male bodies include:
- Developing a deeper voice
- Developing broader shoulders
- Growing facial hair
- Growth of the penis and testicles
- Getting erections and producing sperm cells.
How do girls’ bodies change during puberty?
Changes that can happen to female bodies include:
- Having periods
- Producing vaginal discharge
- Developing breasts
- Growing wider hips.
How could I change emotionally during puberty?
Puberty is caused by chemicals in the brain called hormones. When you start puberty, this means that your hormones have sent messages to your body to start changing and developing into an adult.
Your hormones are also linked to your emotions, which is why you can go through changes in how you feel during puberty. For example, it’s possible to start feeling unhappy or angry, without even knowing why.
These emotional changes are known as mood swings and they’re a normal part of going through puberty.
It can feel very confusing for your mood to change without you understanding why and it might make you feel worried. Many people go through this and you may not need to feel as concerned as you do.
However, if you notice that you’re always feeling upset or down and this is affecting your everyday life, then you should speak to a friend or an adult you trust, such as parents or carers, teachers and your school nurse. If you talk to them about how you’re feeling, they can help to support you.