Puberty is can be both and an exciting and scary time for your child. If you aren't prepared for it, you could find it as scary as your child. Here are three important things you should work hard to overcome as your child approaches puberty:

Lack of knowledge

If you don't know what is happening to your child, both physically and emotionally, you won't be able to help your child understand it, either. Long before your child reaches the age of puberty, you should learn as much as you can so that you can be a source of information for your child. While you have a personal experience of puberty from your own point of view, this probably won't be enough, especially for a child of the opposite sex. The key is to learn not only the physics of what changes will happen with your child's body, but also learn and understand the emotional changes and challenges they will go through during this transitional time of their life.

Being unapproachable or nervous in discussions

While it has been common practice that your children will go to the same sex parent for advice through puberty, this is not always the case. If you are nervous or uncomfortable talking to your child of the other sex about what changes their body is going through, or those difficult questions regarding sex or even sexual attractions your child will quickly sense this and clam up. It's important that not only do you gain knowledge of what will be happening with their bodies, their feelings, and their emotions; you must become confident and comfortable talking to them about these, as well. A lot of your child's acceptance and self-confidence concerning these issues will come in your reactions to them when they ask you a question about them. You need to be comfortable with all of the questions that your child might ask as well as be prepared with the answers they will need.

Not trying to understand

While you might take the time to learn about what to expect as your child goes through puberty, every child is unique and you may experience some surprises along the way. One thing you should avoid with your child is beginning any answer to a concern with "when I was your age". While your child knows that you were their age and intellectually know that you faced similar problems, as a teenager or adolescent going through puberty, they feel isolated and misunderstood and feel like no one can relate to their situation. Instead, try to acknowledge their questions and concerns as individuals, and then drawing on your experience (without verbalizing it) you can help them find solutions or answers they need.

While puberty can be a challenging time not only for the child experiencing it, but for the entire family, it can also be a rewarding time if you invest the time necessary with your child. It becomes a great opportunity for growth for your child, for you, and for your relationship as parent and child.

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