by Sarah Szczypinski for the Washington Post
For most of us, the topic of puberty doesn’t evoke fond childhood memories. The word alone — puberty — conjures the need to stockpile zit cream and blare grunge music.
Maybe that’s just me.
As tough as the tween and teen years were, watching your kids experience them can be just as challenging, especially when it comes to the awkward topic of hygiene. That first whiff of change means bigger things are on the horizon, and approaching the next phase with a plan will make things easier for everyone. I asked some experienced parents for advice.
Prepare kids early
Adolescence arrives earlier than you might think. The average age of menstruation for girls is 12, according to Mayo Clinic research, and boys begin showing signs of puberty as early as 10, according to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The first conversation can be a struggle. “Convincing tweens that they smell bad is a big challenge for most parents,” says Deborah Gilboa, a doctor and mother of four boys. “That’s because the child’s brain makes that kiddo ignore their own smell in order to pay attention to what’s happening nearby. So when a tween says, ‘I don’t smell anything!’ they are telling the absolute truth.”
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