From kindergarten to middle school, your child will make remarkable, subtle progress as he/she grows through childhood to adolescence. Be prepared.
As children enter puberty (physical growth) and adolescence (mental/ social growth), their growth patterns, emotional and cognitive changes are amplified. You may notice:
- During puberty and adolescence, young people grow more rapidly than any time in life except infancy; both boys and girls double their growth rate.
- On average, a girl’s growth spurt occurs around age 11 1/2, but it can begin as early as eight or as late as 14. When girls begin their menstrual periods, their physical growth slows significantly.
- Boys usually trail girls by about two years— with rapid growth kicking in after age 12. They will add 13 to 14 inches to their height and gain about 40 pounds as they mature.
Hormones regulate specific cells and organs. They are the keys to growth, sexual characteristics, procreation, metabolism, personality traits and mood.
Sometime between the ages of seven and 11 in girls, and 9 1/2 to 13 1/2 in boys, the pituitary gland at the base of the brain releases two hormones that signal a girl’s ovaries and a boy’s testicles to begin producing the female sex hormone, estrogen, and the male sex hormone, testosterone, respectively.
These hormones trigger physical growth and sexual development – and are responsible for boys’ crackling voices and girls’ new curves. Everyone in your family should understand the hormonal effects on emotions at this time: your easy-going child may wind up dealing with a wide range of feelings, up one minute and down the next.
If growth seems off target or emotions swing too much, it’s appropriate to make an appointment with your child’s WellStar pediatrician. Our pediatricians can help explain what is changing and why, as well as, evaluate your preteen’s overall health.