Puberty for both girls and boys is a time where many changes occur through different physical, emotional, and hormonal stages. Although every child has a unique journey, we want to let you know that these changes are normal.
In this blog, we have shared some important insights into puberty in girls and its stages. At the end of the blog, you’ll find some exclusive tips from our experts on how to deal with puberty as an adolescent and a parent.
What is Puberty?
Puberty is a stage of life that puts you on a physical, emotional, and hormonal fast-track to adulthood. In simple terms, your body goes through rapid physical, emotional, and hormonal changes that prepare you for reproduction and childbirth.
Female puberty happens when certain hormonal changes provoke your ovaries to pump out estrogen that prepares your body for reproduction and childbirth. It usually begins between the ages of 8 and 13 and lasts for several years.
“Puberty is not fun for girls. It’s painful, it’s messy, it’s confusing—pretty much everything about it seems bad!”—Oksana.
The above quote sums up the various stages of puberty in girls! Puberty not only brings physical changes but can also affect emotions, e.g., you may get upset over something that wouldn’t normally bother anyone else. You may blame your hormones and your maturing brain for these changes.
Stages of Puberty in Girls
Typically, doctors use a tool called Tanner Staging to track female puberty stages. Also known as Sexual Maturity Rating (SMR), Tanner Staging was developed by Marshall and Tanner during 1940-1960 in England. It is a classification system that helps analyse the development of secondary sex characteristics of children during puberty.
Let’s have a broader look at the puberty stages:
Stage 1: This is the prepubertal stage, and no changes occur at this stage.
Stage 2: This stage hits between ages 8 and 13. Females may typically experience the following bodily changes:
- The breasts begin to bud. The pigmented area around the nipple (also called the areola) enlarges.
- Light appearance of pubic hair.
- Increase in height by about 2¾ inches per year.
Stage 3: This stage typically begins between ages 9½ and 14, and one may experience the following changes:
- Budding of the breasts continues.
- Underarm and pubic hair begins to grow. Genital hair coarsens, darkens, and covers more of the genital area.
- The skin becomes oilier, and acne develops.
- Development of unique body odour.
- An increase in height by about 3 inches per year occurs.
You may want to ask your mother or an adult you trust about starting to wear a bra. As far as body odour is concerned, talk to your parents or an adult you trust about starting to use deodorant.
Learn more at 10 Tips on Puberty for Teenage Girls
Stage 4: This stage usually hits between ages 10½ and 15:
- The nipples begin to protrude, and the breasts continue to grow.
- Problems with acne may continue.
- Body hair reaches adult levels.
- Height may continue to increase by about 2 ¾ inches per year.
- The appearance of vaginal discharge, more likely.
- Periods typically start around age 13. Some girls may experience it around age 11 as well.
When you get your period, you will want to use a pad to protect your underwear. You may want to ask your mother or an adult you trust about the best and comfortable options available.
Stage 5: This stage of puberty in girls is marked as the end. In this stage, females reach physical adulthood.
Dealing with Puberty in Girls
Females dealing with puberty stages may experience a combination of social and psychological pressures that may lead to conflicts and outbursts with parents or friends. Experts recommend every female share their concerns with one of your parents or an adult close to you or a doctor so that they can guide you properly in dealing with the pubertal rollercoaster.
Some Quick Tips for Girls
- Adopt a positive view. Trust us, puberty is a much-needed physical and emotional makeover that everyone needs.
- Try not to focus on body imaging and avoid comparisons.
- Learn to control your sexual urges so that you do not act on them.
- Get proper rest and exercise. A sufficient amount of sleep will help you deal with your mood swings while you are awake.
Some Quick Tips for Parents
- Females during certain puberty stages may seek independence from you. Encourage them to take supported and safe steps towards independence.
- Striking a conversation may seem difficult, but take the initiative and guide your daughter about the bodily changes she might encounter.
- Share important knowledge about periods/menstruation cycle to best prepare her for the first period. Discuss the use and disposal of pads or tampons.
- Help your daughter feel more confident and comfortable in her skin. Learn more at Parenting through Puberty
Puberty presents its challenges. Irrespective of these challenges, if you feel your daughter isn’t experiencing puberty in a typical way or you as a parent feel insecure about her pubertal changes, seek out professional help right away!