As the introductory article explains, puberty comes with its physical, psychological, and emotional changes, the most visible and obvious of which are physical ones. As boys, you go through your own set of changes. Understanding the physical changes that typically take place in girls will offer you context about what this period of adolescence means for others, what it means for you, and how you can then relate to them and yourself better. Let’s talk about some changes that your female peers may go through during puberty.
During puberty, most adolescents experience a growth spurt. That is their height increases quickly and sharply. This spurt usually lasts for about two or three years, at the end of which you nearly reach your full adult height. Remember, puberty is about enabling the transition from being a kid into being an adult, and that’s what the growth spurt does too. A significant portion of height growth (about 25%) in one’s lifetime, takes place during puberty, and girls reach 98% of their final height during this time, so if you notice your female peers getting suddenly taller, you now know what’s going on!
Weight Gain, Breast Growth, and Wider Hips
Along with a change in height, female bodies begin to change shape. Girls’ hips become wider, and they may appear curvier. Their breasts begin to develop, and they may start wearing bras during this time. Puberty is also a peak weight gain period, so the body fills up.
Just as you may discover the growth of body hair on yourself, similar changes occur in female bodies. Hair grows under the armpits and in the genital region. For everyone, body hair starts off by growing light and thin, and later becomes darker and thicker.
Puberty also marks the onset of menstruation, that is, where the unfertilized egg is released along with the inner lining of the uterus every month. Bleeding occurs through the vagina during this period for a few days, accompanied by mood swings, cramps, or headaches. Reading about periods in detail is important if you want to be a sensitive and informed person.
Now that you are familiar with some physical changes that take place during puberty, you will be aware of what your female peers might be experiencing, or what they may have already experienced. Puberty can be a confusing and tricky time and knowing about it will help you support your friends better. If you are curious about their experiences and want to have conversations with them, be gentle and respectful. Make sure that they are comfortable talking to you, and actively listen before you decide on what you wish to say to them. Maintain personal space and avoid asking inappropriate or invasive questions. Puberty is a taboo subject, but a healthy approach to it involves factual knowledge, openness, and sensitivity. If done well, mutual conversations about puberty can really improve this period of change and self-discovery.