Puberty is a phase in a human’s life, boy or girl, when very obvious physical changes occur in the body transforming the boy or girl into a sexually mature person capable of sexual reproduction. For girls, by the age of 9 or 10 years and onward, they may start noticing an increase in their breast size, strands of hair growing in their armpits and private part area and a rapid increase in height. They will also find out they are adding weight, with increase in body fat around the thighs and buttocks. Their hips will become rounder and wider and the waistline becomes narrower (the woman figure). As these changes occur, and around age 12 or 13, most girls see their first period.
While most parents are very conversant with these physical changes, especially the menses, and take action like providing their female kids with sanitary pads, many parents don’t know about or overlook the psychological changes that also occur with puberty in girls. And one of the most important of these psychological changes is the craving for and attraction to the opposite sex; this is normal because both the physical and psychological changes at puberty are due to chemicals produced by the body known as sex hormones. It is during this phase that girls have crushes (very strong love) on boys, and this can lead to them being in a sort of romantic relationship in which they may sexually explore each other, and end up having a sexual intercourse.
Hence, it is important for parents to also provide the needed support to their female children in the psychological aspects as puberty kicks in, and they can do so through:
- Open Discussion about Sex
The mistake many parents make about sex talk with their children is the moral notion that it is inappropriate to even have such a discussion with children for fear of them getting spoiled. The truth is your 13 to 15-year old boy or girl is already talking about sex and relationship crushes with their peers at school or in your absence, and the danger is they’re going about it the wrong way.
Parents can demystify the sex holy grail to their kids who are passing through puberty, and in the process earn their trust as people they can confide in on these sexual feelings most boys and girls experience at puberty.
- It is normal to feel sexually attracted to a boy
As a parent, start by telling your 12 or 13-year old daughter that it is normal if she feels attracted to that boy in her class and considers being his girlfriend. Explain to her that it is part of the normal changes (such as her breasts that increased in size or the menses she started experiencing) that occur in girls of her age at this time of their life. Then explain to her in detail the process of sexual intercourse, from the touching and cuddling to the main action.
- The outcomes of sexual intercourse at this age
After explaining to her what sex is, educate her on the possible outcomes like the fact that she will likely get pregnant or contract diseases such as HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted infections and the implications these can have on her future–delaying her education for example.
- Always be available to answer their questions
At this stage, you might have won her confidence and she could start seeing you not only as a parent but as a friend she can always talk to about her sexual feelings for boys or even older guys. Encourage her to focus on herself and her school, and teach her (dads can do a very good job here) different tricks guys might employ to prey on her feelings and get to sleep with her and how to counter these tricks.
- Insist on the guy using a condom no matter what.
Even with all these, your daughter, especially when she is close to 16 or 17 years old, may end up in a situation where sexual intercourse is very likely with her crush. Tell her to insist on the guy using a condom. However, advise her to avoid situations where she might be alone together with her supposed crush to minimise the chance of sexual intercourse.
Parents can play a major role in averting situations like teenage pregnancy that occur around or a few years after puberty by being good friends with their daughters.
For more advice and help, feel free to ask a Doctor via The Reliance Care App