Tips for Talking to Teens About Puberty
It can feel difficult to have conversations around puberty, sexual health, and vaping. In my next three blogs I will be sharing some tips from my work at ETR (www.etr.org) and other great tools that the researchers and public health professionals are working hard to provide for parents and caregivers. Even though these conversations can feel scary, young people need trusted adults to offer them science-based health information. Please read through these tips on building confidence to lead these tricky conversations, and beyond!
Talking about puberty and messages that can help
Tip 1: Remind teens that they're not alone.
Puberty happens to everyone. The adults in their life went through it. Their friends and classmates are going through it. But each person has their own way of growing and changing, and there's no wrong way to grow and change.
Tip 2: Tell them to seek the information the need.
Finding adults that a teen can trust is a must during puberty. Their parents, caregivers, relatives, doctors, nurses, teachers, and school counselors may all be people who can give them the support they need. And with the use of technology, finding online science-based resources can also help them answer some of their sensitive questions. Knowing they have some place to go so that they can find reliable answers to their questions will give them a sense of security as their bodies change.
Tip 3: Encourage them to take good care of their body.
Their bodies are going through a lot of changes that can impact them physically, mentally, and emotionally. If they're able to eat healthy food, be physically active, and get enough sleep, it can make all the difference as they grow into themselves.
Tip 4: Let them know hygiene is vital.
As hormones change throughout their bodies, they're likely to sweat more, have body odor, and experience changes to their facial skin. Even though it is a little embarrassing at times, this is a normal part of puberty. Embracing a proper hygiene routine through bathing regularly, using deodorant, and skincare can not only keep their bodies clean but also help boost confidence to help them look, smell, and feel good.
Tip 5: Inspire them to learn a skill.
Encourage young people to find something that they enjoy spending time doing. Finding a skill or hobby to hone can build confidence, and support building new relationships. Whether you recommend sports, music, cooking, studying, building or fixing things, dog training, drawing, or writing stories - having something they can plug their energy into outside of school and get better at can help them worry less about the changes they are going through and focus on what they're learning.