Wellness Matters

What happened? My Little Girl Isn't a Little Girl Anymore

February 26, 2015

As girls reach puberty and enter adolescence, they experience certain physical, emotional and behavioral changes.

Cone Health Pediatric Resident Jalan Burton, MD, helps you understand your little girl's changes.

  • Physical Changes: Growth changes during puberty constitute the fastest changes the body experiences aside from infanthood. There are five phases in the growth cycle ranging from pre-puberty to post-puberty. Females tend to hit their height growth in phase two, which is the first stage of actual puberty. Males tend to hit it during phase four, which is near the final stage of actual puberty. This is why girls are often taller than boys in middle school.
  • Emotional and Behavioral Changes: Many adolescents will begin acting a bit more defiant and begin "testing the limits." It's important to distinguish between normal and more concerning emotional changes such as gaining new friends who could potentially be bad influences, declining grades, isolation, noticeable difference in her motivation level and getting into trouble with the law.   What should I do if I notice these changes? Since these behaviors can be signs of deeper, underlying mental issues such as depression, anxiety or drug use, it's critical to keep communication open. Also, pay attention to the changes.
  • The Birds and the Bees: Typically, sexual health is top of mind for most parents or guardians. Girls get their menstrual and reach sexual maturity during puberty. Therefore, it's important to address the subject of sexual behavior and health several times throughout adolescence. The more teens know about sexuality, the more likely healthy choices will be made.

Growing up today can be difficult, especially when adolescents face issues with peers and family members as they deal with various social and emotional problems. Learn how Cone Health can help you here.


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