Early Puberty: Are Kids Maturing Faster Physically?

25/10/2021

As it turns out, kids are going through puberty at younger ages while maturing faster than ever before.  According to an article here, kids are going through this challenging period at younger and younger ages.  One reason why this is alarming is their brains may not be caught up to their bodies, and worse, is society ready to face this issue?

Puberty is a biological transformation that on the reproductive organs, drives changes in sleep cycles, facial structure, hormonal surges, voice, fat distribution, body hair, and height.  Puberty can stimulate emotional distress as well as physical challenges as well.

Puberty that begins before age 8 in girls is abnormal and is known as precocious puberty.  According to the Mayo Clinic, American girls are hitting puberty at younger and younger ages.  This prompts the question, what is the cause of kids maturing faster physically?

“The age of puberty, especially female puberty, has been decreasing in western cultures for decades now,” said Hector O. Chapa, MD, FACOG, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

“For example, at the turn of the 20th century, the average age for an American girl to get her period was 16 or 17. Today, that number has decreased to 12 or 13 years.”

It’s not just girls, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that boys were starting puberty earlier than previously recorded. According to the findings, boys are now beginning puberty around, or a little before age 10. Previously, 11 years of age was the given number where boys began puberty.

 

Side Effects of Early Puberty 

Early puberty can be equated with early stress.  Aside from the general trauma of puberty (getting acne, feeling awkward in your body, voice cracking, and other bodily changes), there are other side effects of kids maturing faster than what is considered “normal.”

  1. Children who hit puberty before their peers are more likely to have mental health problems according to research.

  2. Psychosocial problems, including depression and substance abuse are a rising problem, especially amongst early-maturing girls.

Both of these side effects come from our need, as humans, to fit in.  It’s a time when you want to blend in and find your crowd or your “people” amongst your peers… especially in school!

Keep in mind, early maturation amongst boys and girls can create incongruencies.  In other words, the way you act and think doesn’t necessarily match the way the children going through early puberty look.

 

What’s the Cause of Early Puberty?

While researchers are making progress in understanding the effects of early maturation, there’s a hitch: “Early puberty” is difficult to define. The average age of pubertal onset appears to be inching earlier, particularly for girls.

Some of the reason for that change may be positive, says Kate Keenan, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. Improved nutrition, for instance, has been associated with earlier maturation. On the other hand, negative causes such as increased stress and obesity have also been linked to early maturation.

Researchers are also exploring whether endocrine-disrupting chemicals — such as bisphenol A, an estrogen-mimicking compound once found widely in plastics (AND in our water supply) — might be a factor in initiating puberty. But without knowing what factors are driving the trend, Keenan says, it’s hard to know how worried to be.

In summary, while the evidence points to kids maturing faster, the most we can do as parents and teachers is be there for them emotionally during this tumultuous experience.  Puberty isn’t easy for anybody, and for children under the age of ten, even less so!  Educating students and children in schools to not shun or bully those going through puberty earlier may be a good first step.

 

About Little Human Scholars Preschool in PJ

Little Human Scholars is an all-in-one childcare solution.  It is a preschool, playschool, kindergarten, nursery and full-day daycare centre (with extended hours) located in the heart of PJ.

In fact, the location is one of the things which makes Little Human Scholars so sought after – it is conveniently nestled near Jalan Gasing, University hospital, PJ Old town, PJ New town, Jaya One, Jaya33, and the PJ IT Mall.

The best part is LHS school in PJ has premiere services many other schools in PJ don’t offer such as full-day daycare with extended hours, CCTV access for parents, and a nifty little phone app that provides parents with automatic updates on their child’s development, behaviour and health checks.

With full-time guards always present at each of their locations, access to CCTV (which is in every room except the office, bathroom and kitchen areas), and very strict pick-up and drop-off rules, Little Human Scholars treats every child who walks into its hallways as one of their own children!

This place has it all:  location, safety, health, IGSCE curriculum and play-based learning.  What more could you ask for?  Did I mention they also have transportation services and offer meal plans for students?  It doesn’t get any better than that.

If you are interested in a tour of one of our centres (that’s right, there’s more than one), all you need to do is fill out the form here or call +6017-7303-025 and an LHS administrative staff will get back with you shortly!

 

Cheers,

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