Puberty can be a difficult time for you and your child. While your child is developing physically, he or she is also experiencing a rapid growth of psychosocial maturity. Put simply, children begin to naturally pull away from their families and connect with their peers to establish independence and individuality. Many have attributed withdrawal, moodiness and other behavioral changes to this normal developmental stage, but researchers are realizing that — in some cases — they could indicate that puberty is actually contributing to depression.

What steps can I take to personally handle it?

1. Talk to your doctor. Medical professionals are extremely useful in helping us make sense of the changes that our bodies undergo. While transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood is not always the easiest feat, your pediatrician or family doctor can answer any questions you have about why your voice is changing; why you grew out of your favorite pair of jeans or sneakers in just three months; why you just had your first menstrual cycle; or why you’re suddenly becoming more interested in the opposite sex. All of these characteristics are the result of puberty, and of your development into a young man or woman. Don’t worry, you’ll be okay! These are just signs that you’re growing up. Everyone in your age group is dealing with the same challenges, so you are not alone.

2. Ask for some reading material in health class. Teachers are there to help, and many are happy to accommodate young learners’ wishes to explore topics that affect them. Puberty is a part of human biology, and biology is a science, the study of life. Seeking answers about the changes in your body, or the human reproductive system, is natural, and any qualified health or science teacher would be glad to offer you more information. You could also go to Youtube and type “human reproductive system” into the search bar. A variety of videos and diagrams are available to help you make sense of the various hormonal, physical, and emotional changes you can expect to experience as you journey from puberty to adulthood.