One thing we know for sure, as our kiddos go through puberty their bodies are going to change. Some of our kids embrace this better than others.
Preparing For Puberty
Whether you prepare your kids for these changes and how you do it is a decision your family will have to make. For some families, preparing the child ahead of time would be a nightmare. Sometimes the kids have so much additional anxiety about it that you create problems by talking about it. But I’ve seen other kids who find it calming when you present puberty in steps over time, and accompanied by instruction. You will have to determine which way is right for your child and your family.
Share Siblings Experience
It can be helpful if your kiddo has an older sibling they can observe managing some of the changes. That helps them to prepare for their own process. If they have a friend or a typically-developing peer who is ahead of them in this process, sometimes it’s easier for our kids to talk to a peer about these things than to parents. Even your clinician might be more comfortable for your child to talk to, than a parent.
Some of our families have done a great job using social stories to explain what is happening. Some have purchased books or used video series.
One thing our kids will have to deal with in puberty is hair changes, such as the growth of hair all over their bodies. For my son this was very uncomfortable; he wanted to shave it all off! If you’re in OT, this is also an area your therapist can help with. They can also help your child learn to perform whatever actions they will need to learn to perform, such as shaving, hygiene, etc. Your OTs can help you to figure out what actions they will need to perform and help you problem-solve about how to do it. We call this an “Activity of Daily Living,” which is one of the things occupational therapy works on.
We’ve had clients at several different levels, so we have had to work through this process to help kiddos learn how to manage these things at school and at home, and in different environments.
Your Next Step
If you have any questions about upcoming puberty, or if you have anxiety about any of this, please talk to your OT. The two of you can do some problem solving and work on these issues together.