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 pubic hair and breast development. In her words, “It seemed like there were too many, too young,” so she 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: 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
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 don't 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 Kids: Puberty signs may begin in girls as soon as seven or eight including pubic or underarm hair development and acne.
Preteens: 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.
For more Practical Parenting Advice: You will 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.