Preparing your child for puberty
Nowadays, we see the onset of puberty between the ages of 9 and 16. Before that, it used to be from maybe age 15, to even age 20. But as a result of industrialisation and commercialisation, we are seeing puberty from as young as seven years old.
On the other hand, research has found a link between early onset of menstruation and earlier menopause. For example, those who start their period when they were 10 years old or younger, had menopause from age 40 to age 45. Whereas previously, the menopausal age would be 55 to maybe age 58.
Early onset of puberty is as a result of lifestyle. This includes eating of processed foods, packaged foods and fast food, they are all contributory factors.
When it comes to sex education, parents need to teach their children the body parts from an early age and name them according to the proper names. Teach them that private parts are private. It is important that parents are the first teachers and empower their children with the right knowledge.
Many parents depend on the school system. However, usually by this time, the children in the class might already have told your child certain things.
When you have your children going to a co-ed school, it’s important to address that early, probably from primary school. Just so that those children who are exposed to certain things, who are watching certain things, don’t corrupt your child.
Adult diseases in children
According to Sherese Ijewere, a nutrition consultant, they are seeing more children as young as 10 with high blood sugar. This is very concerning because you see that their body is also growing at that pace.
Children are showing BMI results that set off a red flag. Results are showing high cholesterol in teenagers, and this can then lead to heart disease. It is dangerous and a bad pattern to be seeing teenagers with high cholesterol and clogged arteries. And if parents don’t pay attention, and try and reverse these symptoms, then yes, you can see occurrences of a heart attack at a very young age.
It is important to assess the food that you’re eating, try and eat a more natural diet, incorporate exercise and be active. Usually when you start these changes before you know it your child will understand so much that they will want to conform.
Nowadays, with the pandemic, a lot of children are playing video games. And if we don’t curtail that, put a schedule for the video games; before you know it, they end up sitting all day on their computers and phones. So as parents, we have to put a time limit on screen time and get the children outside, get them in the sun, get them to drink water and eat a healthy diet. Lastly have them also take responsibility for what’s going on with them.
“Parents need to be intentional, your children don’t have to like your rules, but they have to understand and respect your rules”. – Yetty Williams
With the hormones changing, the estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, so many things going on hormonally in the body; sometimes you do see acne. But now acne can be as a result of the diet. So if you’re eating a lot of oily food, processed foods, whether it’s bread, butter, biscuits; those things can contribute to acne.
Overall puberty is a time of rapid change for your child. As a parent what you can do is prepare them ahead of time and encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle .
Contributed by Yetty Williams
Parenting Coach | Founder/CEO LagosMums
Lagosmums is a parenting and family resource for mums, parents and caregivers.