Puberty Onset Four Years Earlier
American Academy of Pediatrics: Over a decade ago, Marcia Herman-Giddes, a pediatrician and now professor at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, noticed many young girls in grades one to five were showing public hair and breast development,” In her words, “It seemed like there were too many, too young,” and launched a major national study involving 225 clinicians and over 17,0000 girls to prove her hypothesis. Her famous paper published in Pediatrics found that our kids are growing up faster.
The average age onset menstruation is hitting girls four years earlier
15 percent of seven years olds and almost half of eight years olds are now developing breasts or public hair
Comprehensive data is still not in for boys but studies show that they are reaching their adult heights at younger ages, suggesting they too are maturing earlier as well. There’s no doubt about it: our today’s kids are growing up faster in many ways. The key here is to beware of the trend and get educated so you can educate your child.
Start Those “Grown Up Talks” Earlier
But it isn’t just puberty that is hitting our kids earlier. Studies show that drinking, sexual promiscuity, engaging in oral sex, depression, eating disorders, stress, peer pressure, puberty, and even acne are all hitting our kids three to four years earlier than when we were growing up. So don’t deny your child’s fast-forward culture and wait to discuss those “grown up” subjects you planned for the teen years. If you’re not talking about these tougher issues believe me your child’s friends most likely are. Be the one who provides accurate facts that are laced with your moral beliefs and your values.
Also make sure your child’s doctor is someone your daughter or son feels comfortable speaking to as well. Puberty is striking kids at younger ages and your child does needs to feel comfortable speaking to someone—if not you–about menstruation or wet dreams.
What to Expect Age by Age
School Age: Puberty signs may begin in girls as seven or eight including public or underarm hair development, and acne.
Preteen: Feel physically and emotionally awkward with puberty.
Girls: onset of menstruation and breast development
Boys: puberty begins around age nine later than girls, with a sudden growth “spurt” or more “mature” body odor, enlargement of testes or penis as well as deepening voice, facial hair development.
Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert
For more Practical Parenting Advice follow me on twitter @MicheleBorba or refer to my daily blog, Dr. Michele Borba’ Reality Check. You can also find dozens of research-based and practical tips to raise strong kids from the inside out in my latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. Portions of this blog were adapted from my book, Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Habits That Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing.
Survey from AdAge; elementary-school set is one of fastest-growing markets for digital media players; 31 percent of U.S. kids 6 to 10 have some form of music player: Bryan Gardiner, “Technology for Kids,” nwa WorldTraveler, p. 74., 2008
Too many too young: Marcia E. Herman-Giddens, et al, “Secondary Sexual Characteristics and Menses in Young Girls Seen in Office Practice: A Study from the Pediatric Research in Office Settings Network,” Pediatrics, 99, no 4(April 1997): 505-12.