Onset of puberty before 8years in girls and before 9years in boys is termed as precocious puberty. The growth of children who experience puberty at an early age remains stunted and they do not reach their full height. These children are also likely to develop psychological and social problems because of early sexual development. During childhood or adolescence children generally want to be like rest of their friends and a little difference in appearance can cause self-esteem issues, depression or alcohol abuse and drug abuse.
How Precocious Puberty Can Affect Kids
The growth in the child’s height stops once he/she reaches puberty. Due to early bone maturation the process of growth is halted. Though initially these kids may appear to be taller than their friends eventually they remain short.
Precocious puberty can be socially and emotionally difficult for the children to deal with. For example, girls with precocious puberty might feel embarrassed about the physical changes like enlarged breasts and having periods.
The behavior of such kids may also change. Girls can become moody or irritable while boys become aggressive.
Parents should explain everything to their child about what exactly is happening with them. They should make it clear to the child that all these changes are normal and everyone will experience these changes. It is just that since their body began to develop early these signs are seen early in their body. If the parents decide to seek medical advice or treatment the child should be kept informed about it.
Parents must also keep a watch for signs which may indicate that precocious puberty might be affecting the child’s emotional development. The most common warning signs include-
How parents cope with the issue of precocious puberty goes a long way in determining how successfully the child will cope with it. Parents must create a supportive environment at home. They must avoid commenting on the child’s appearance. Instead they must associate greater importance to academic achievements and encourage the child to participate in extra-curricular activities.
The most important thing that parents and kids must remember is that precocious puberty can be treated. Pediatric endocrinologists can help to the child to achieve his/her adult height potential and also limit the emotional and social difficulties they may have to face because of early maturation.