Puberty - What’s going to happen to me?
In this interview the kids ask the questions!
What’s going to happen to us? Will I get moody? Will I get zits? What about hair? When will I get my Period?
Take a listen to this conversation where the kids got to fire questions to Cath from Sex Ed Rescue.
Got questions - send them to us HERE and we will get them answered in future PodCasts…
Grace: Hi Cath, this is Grace, we’re all really excited to be interviewing you today. Tell us about yourself and your journey.
Cath: Hi Grace, okay, so my name’s Cath and I’m a mum. I’ve got a nearly fourteen-year-old and a ten-year-old boy and I help parents talk to kids about puberty and growing up. So that’s something that I do, and I also talk to kids as well about this sort of stuff, because it’s a time of when change is happening, so that’s what I do.
Emily: Hi Cath, I’m Emily. So, you’ve written the books, Puberty Boys and Girls, can you tell us more about them?
Cath: That’s a book I wrote for parents and it’s a book that actually helps parents to start talking to kids about puberty, because for some crazy reason, even though parents went through puberty themselves, they find it a really hard topic to talk to kids about, so I wrote a book for them to help them talk to their kids.
Jack: Hi, it’s Jack. So, I’m eleven. What’s about to happen to us?
Cath: Aaahhh, great question, because you’d be amazed how many questions I get from kids asking why is this thing happening to me, and they’re scared about the changes happening. So, know what’s going to happen is really important.
One of the first things, and this is always the thing that parents complain of is the fact that their kids start getting moody. So you might notice that you get angry, more than normal, or you’re not feeling as happy, or you just feeling, like I notice with my kids that some days they’re just really really cranky, and that an hour or two later they’re not. So, usually feeling moody is one of the first things. Another thing that happens is getting pimples on your face. With my kids I notice that they might start to get a few sores or a pimple on their face. The other thing is sweating, so smelling. I know when I pick up my kids from school and the year 6 kids walk past and you can smell them before you see them because they’re starting to sweat, which is part of getting ready for puberty. So, they’re the first changes that you notice, but the ages that you guys are at you’re going to probably have had some other changes happening.
One of the first things, and I love this, it’s a name of a book, Hair in Funny Places, which is a great book that’s full of pictures and it talks about all the changes that happen as you go through puberty. But, one of the first things that kids notice, and this is an age also where you might start feeling a little bit shy about your body, because you might notice that you’re getting taller, you might be getting a bit wider around the hips, or getting a bigger bum, or bigger legs, or putting on a little bit more fat than normal. A lot of kids complain that they’re getting fat at this age, but it’s just the body getting ready to turn you into an adult.
You might notice hair in the armpit, or down below under your undies. Girls might start growing breasts, so they notice little lumps and they start getting sore around the chest area. And boys, their changes usually happen after the girls, so they might notice that things start to get a little bit bigger down under their pants as well.
Sarah: Hmmmmm…. All awkward conversations to have.
Cath: Yes, very awkward, but knowing that they’re going to happen makes it a lot easier because then you think, oh hang on, I’m normal, there’s nothing wrong with me.
Grace: It’s Grace again. My brother got moody, so I assume that I will too soon. Do boys get more moody?
Cath: Great question! I don’t think so, I had a group of parents that I talked to and I had as many parents complain about their boys being moody as girls being moody. But, everyone’s different, I was talking to some twin girls the other day and being twins they’re obviously the exact same age, one has already had her period for a couple of years, and the other one still hasn’t. So, everyone can be different, some kids can be more moody than others, so just because your brother’s moody doesn’t mean that you will be as well, if that makes sense.
Sarah: Thank goodness, because that’s my son she’s talking about! *everyone giggles*
Jack: It’s Jack again. So, am I going to get hairy and get zits, and is this a bad thing as well?
Cath: So, getting hairy, you will eventually, so everyone’s different, everyone gets hair in the armpits, they get it down below, so above the penis and on your scrotum, the bit that hangs below the penis. Some people get even more hair, so as you get older you’ll start to get some on your face, you might get it on your chest, you might get it on your bum, your legs will get hairy, your arms will get hairier. Different people have different amounts of hair, so what I usually tell people, is have a look at your dad, and your uncles, and older brothers and family members and you’ll possibly end up with about the same amount of hair.
Emily: So, hi it’s Emily again. My mum was fifteen when she started her period, what’s the average age for a girl?
Cath: Great question! I could write a book on this because I get asked this one so often, and it’s a great question because so many girls worry about when they’re going to have that period and waiting seems to take forever.
What I usually say to people is find out how old mum was, so usually if mum was later, you’re going to be later or about the same age, but that’s not always correct. So, my sister, she was about fourteen and her girls had their period at about ten and a half or eleven. The average age for a period is about twelve or thirteen, but some girls can be as early as ten, and some can be as old as fifteen or sixteen, so it’s a huge range, but usually twelve or thirteen years old.
Grace: Hi, it’s Grace again. This is just a random question. If you could make one change in the world, what would it be and why?
Cath: If I could make one change it would be for parents to talk to kids about this sort of stuff. Because I’ve been talking to people about this stuff a long long time and it makes me feel sad that so many kids get scared about puberty and growing up, because their bodies start changing, they start feeling differently and they don’t know that it’s normal, and they worry about it being abnormal, and it really affects how they feel about themselves and how they get along in life. So, if there’s one thing I could change it would be that because I think kids deserve to know about what’s happen, and it’s really nice to have a parent to talk to when you go through this sort of stuff.
Sarah: Yeah, great answer, it’s so true. It’s so awkward for so many, but I think the younger you start talking to your children about it, the easier it is for you and them as they grow.
Cath: That’s what I find, the kids that know about puberty and know that it’s going to start happening cope with it a lot better, because the see it as just another stage of life rather than something being wrong with them, or scary.
Sam: Hi, it’s Sam. I’m loving the answers to the questions that the kids have for you. I just wanted to ask a question myself, as I’m Emily’s mum. When girls go through their change, what is going to be the most significant thing that they find in their bodies?
Cath: Great question, I forgot to mention that when we talked about the changes that were going to happen. For girls, periods. That is probably the biggest one, and that is the one that I find scares girls the most because they’re worried they’re going to go to school one day and their period is going to start, and they’re going to stand up and there’s going to be blood everywhere, and the whole school’s going to see it and they’re going to die of embarrassment and never be able to go back to school again. So, for me, I find that periods is the biggest change and it’s the one that tends to scare girls the most as well.
After a nursing career in sexual health, I used to think that sex education would be easy.
And found myself squirming when my daughter asked me questions about where babies came from or why her baby brother’s penis sometimes poked out.
I struggled to answer my kid’s questions, and worried that I would say too much and take away their childhood innocence. Or even worse, that I would inadvertently encourage them to be sexually active.
But deep down I knew that my kids needed my help to thrive in this sexualised world.
So I spent every spare moment researching the topic and questioning friends with older kids.
I overcame my fears and started to have open and honest conversations with my kids about sex.
And the more I talked, the easier it became.
There are still times where I cringe, but I keep reminding myself about the bigger picture.
That by talking about difficult topics like sex, that my kids are growing up knowing that they can talk to me about anything. And they do!
You can get in touch with Cath HERE!