Question 1 – My first memory of learning about puberty was in school, probably around grade 4 or 5. It was a mixed classroom with lots of giggles and embarrassment. I remember going home and telling my Mom about it and asking questions. My Mom was good at answering questions when I asked something directly, however, didn’t go over and above with any information. The information was very to the point and catered mostly on body changes rather than emotional experiences. The pros of this class was informative of the basics, and they answered most questions when asked, however, as young children, we didn’t ask a lot. Looking back, the bare minimum was covered, as we knew about periods and what to expect, but a lot of the more emotional changes were not discussed. A con at the time would definitely have been I was to uncomfortable and shy to ask questions, so was left with a minimum of information.
Question 2 – When I went through puberty, I don’t believe I thought it was a terrible time. Perhaps more confusing then anything, as no one really discussed the more emotional side of things. I believe that I was probably more self absorbed at the time and felt that I was the only one experiencing all the emotions and oblivious to what was going on around me with friends and/or siblings. Now as a parent of three girls, the perspective is very different. At moments of difficulty, I try to remind myself that the emotional highs and lows that are experienced are all part of the process. I try to give my girls more information and space when needed, but also reiterate that they are not alone and what they are experiencing physically and emotionally are totally normal. I believe the biggest problem I see around me is that people are still very uncomfortable discussing this very normal time with their children and/or peers. If everyone remembers that the process is normal and nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, it would be much easier topic and less stressful time for adolescents and their families.