Puberty - Puberty info for parents
NHS Choices Feature
It might have been a while since you went through puberty, so use these resources if you need a refresher on exactly what happens and when. Some of the information can also give you advice on how to get over your embarrassment and talk openly with your child.
Tips on talking to your child about puberty
You will find useful information and advice by reading the articles on this site called 'How to talk to your child about sex'
, 'Talking to your teenager about sex'
and 'Why talk to your children about sex'
Or you could consider the following sources of information on various aspects of preparing your children for puberty:
- The free government leaflet 'Talking to your teenager about sex and relationships' is available nationwide through pharmacies. It gives tips on when and how to start tricky conversations with your kids plus technical information on different types of contraception.
- The FPA has helpful information for parents. Its book 'Speakeasy: talking with your children about growing up' spells out exactly how to sit down and talk to your children about puberty, sex and relationships in an age-appropriate way. The book is easy to read and suitable for parents with children of any age. The FPA's leaflet 'Talking to your child about sex and relationships' does exactly what it says on the tin. It also tells you what children are taught in school. Find out more about these publications from the FPA website (there is a charge for both), or check if your local library stocks them or can order them for you.
Puberty: what to expect
- 'Surviving Adolescence - a toolkit for parents' is a leaflet that gives parents clear information on what to expect when their children hit adolescence, including why they're likely to become sulky, suddenly start dieting, have crushes on friends, and crave excitement. The leaflet, which is produced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has practical advice and also points out the positive aspects of having kids this age, like how satisfying it can be to see your children grow through adolescense into young adults.
- The Speakeasy course, run by the FPA, aims to help parents understand the physical and emotional changes that children go through at puberty. It also teaches you how to get over any embarrassment and awkwardness when talking to your children about sex and relationships. The course involves sessions over an eight-week period at venues all over the country. It's generally free for parents and carers.
Puberty and children with learning disabilities
- The National Autistic Society has useful information for parents of children with autistic spectrum disorder. It gives down to earth guidance on how to discuss tricky topics such as puberty, sex, relationships, personal hygiene and so on with your autistic child. Read 'Sex education and children and young people with an ASD' online and print it out for free.
- Contact a Family's booklet 'Growing up, sex and relationships' is for parents of disabled children or children with learning disabilities and gives advice on what to expect as your child matures, and what support is available to them when they start to form intimate relationships. Read the leaflet online at Contact a Family's website, or order a free copy from Contact a Family on 0808 808 3555, textphone 0808 808 3556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also an audio recording of the booklet, which you can listen to free online.