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Facing Puberty: Emotional Preparedness For Girls

Source: Google

Puberty is a transition stage from childhood to adulthood and usually happens during adolescence. It is a challenging phase where teens deal with various physical, psychological and emotional changes, which can lead to conflict within themselves and their surroundings. WHO (World Health Organization) stated that adolescence is between the age of 12-24 years.

Puberty and age

Puberty marks the maturity of sexual and reproductive health. For girls this means that she is able to have children. On average, the age of puberty for boys and girls is between 9-16 years.

However, there are early and some late puberty which may be influenced by factors such as heredity, nutrition, chemicals in food and the environment. Teenage girls often reach puberty earlier than boys at an average age of between 12-13 years. Early puberty does not determine level of maturity. Family background, education, experiences and personality are among factors that can influence maturity’s level.

PhysicalSigns of Puberty for Girls

 

Source: Google

Signs of puberty for girls is the first menstrual bleeding. Menstruation shows a teenage girl is fertile and her reproductive organs have begun to function. The first menstrual period usually lasts for only three to seven days with the frequency of once per month.

The rate of change is different from one girl to another. These changes result from the action of hormones in the body. The female hormones, progesterone and estrogen will be released at puberty leading to body shape changes. Teenage girls will begin to produce ovum (eggs) and having periods.

Some of the physical  signs of puberty in girls:

  • Breasts began to grow.
  • Hair grows in the armpit and pubic area.
  • Thighs and hips widened becoming more  feminine look.
  • Skin becomes oily and acne begins to grow
  • Hair becomes more oily and should be shampooed often
  • Body odor starts to change

Source: Google

Significant changes cannot be seen externally or physically, but the girls is still undergoing internal changes. Every girl develops differently and at her own pace, so do not worry.

Emotional and Psychological Changes

Along with the physical changes, there are also emotional and psychological changes :

  • Having interest and curiosity towards the opposite sex, namely boys. The feeling is normal and part of the maturation process. Thus, girls need to keep their self-respect and boundaries of social interaction to avoid social ills such as teenage pregnancy.
  • Identity Crisis: Teens have many questions about themselves, such as “Who am I?”, “Do I like or hate boys?” and they usually get answers through their own interpretation based on internet searches or discussion with peers without proper guidance.

 

Source: Google

Source: Google

  • Having a volatile mood swings due to hormonal changes. The girls themselves do not understand their own emotions. Refusal to listen to adults’ advice, complain or cry for no reason may be seen in teenage girls at the early life stages of puberty.
  • Feeling rebellious and fighting for freedom from parental control.
  • Want to try things that have never been done before. Curiosity peaked and if not guided may be dangerous.
  • Feeling to belong and be accepted by people around them especially their peers are important. They are easily influenced and may easily succumb to peer pressures if not properly guided.

Dealing with teenage girls during puberty

Parents often face challenges in dealing with teenagers, especially teenage girls. Teenage girls are caught between childhood and adulthood. Sometimes they may act childish, but at other times, they seem very mature. Most parents are confused to either treat them like an adult or a child. Mostly do not know how to interact with their teens.

  Source: Google

  • Guide them in matters of reproductive health and sexuality. Many parents feel embarrassed to discuss this. Parents need to equip themselves with relevant knowledge so that proper guidance can be provided.
  • Spend quality time with them. Implement and promote the values and spirituality.
  • Emotional instability may be part of puberty, but this does not mean they can be rude to you.
  • Make a decision on what is permitted and considered reasonable for your teens.Parents need to ensure that the decisions made are consistent.

Puberty may be something new for your teenage girl, but it was certainly not a new experience for you, since you have gone through it and now it is time for you to help your teen to go through it.

Here are some tips in dealing with teenage girls

  • Parents nowadays need to be aware of the latest technology developments and learn to use applications like facebook and instagram to keep track of their teenage girls’ activities.
  • Teenage girls can be very secretive and more comfortable sharing their thoughts and worries with friends or on social networking sites.
  • Approach them as friends and establish a friendly relationship.
  • Be a good listener. Listen attentively even when they shared some shocking news. They need someone to listen to their views without being punished or judged. When they feel comfortable sharing their stories with parents, they can openly talk to you about anything including intimate issues on sex and anxieties they may experience.
  • Parents can criticize and guide in a polite and constructive manner. Try not to nag, scold and question them like lawyers or police officers.

 

Source: Google

Preparation for girls to deal with puberty

Source: Google

For adolescent girls, the arrival of the first period or menses is a very important event. Usually it is not a pleasant experience and unforgettable. Therefore, sufficient knowledge, preparation and support from those close to them especially parents can help reduce negative reactions such as fear or panic.

Adolescence can be a phase of excitement, but it also stages a host of challenges. Thus, it is advisable for them to discuss, ask questions or seek answers through the right channel such as:

  • Parents
  • Family members such as siblings, aunts and sisters.
  • Selected peers: those with good values such as peer counselors.
  • Adult whom can be trusted such as counselors, class teachers and your family doctors.     

Overall, guidance from those around them including parents, families, teachers and schools as well as good religious education will help teenage girls to grow brilliantly.

Choose friends wisely, since teens tend to follow their peers’ behaviors and values. Try to be friends with those who usually seems to show positive moral values such as being helpful and respectful to others. In addition, teens are encouraged to interact with families and communities to improve their living skills.

Join the youth programs at school and communities such as PROSTAR Program, Peer Counselors, Young Doctors Club and Youth Day.

Naturally it would be more meaningful if teenagers learn and understand about their physical, emotional, mental and psychological changes during puberty. Respect, love yourself and your body. 

References

  1. Azizi Yahaya, Jaafar Sidek Latif, Shahrin Hashim & Yusof Boon. (2005). Psikologi Sosial Alam Remaja. Kuala Lumpur: PTS Professional.
  2. Maznah Ismail. (1997). Cadangan Remaja Perempuan Mengenai Persediaan Untuk Menghadapi Haid.Jurnal Pendidik dan Pendidikan. Jilid 15.
  3. Yusof Abbas & Nor’Izam Alias. (2010). Psikoseksual Remaja Wanita : Dari Perspektif Biologi & Islam.
  4. http://drzubaidi.com/blog/remaja-dan-kitaran-haids-yang-tidak-teratur/
  5. www.parentingteens.com
Last Reviewed : 3 August 2017
Writer : Aina Mazwin binti Mohamed Radzi
Translator : Aina Mazwin binti Mohamed Radzi
Accreditor : Tn Hj Hairol Kamal bin Abd Rahman