Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.
Peter Pan may have been able to stay a boy forever, but that's just a fairy tale. In the real world, children grow into teenagers and then adults. This maturing process from childhood to adulthood is known as puberty.
During puberty, your body is growing and changing in many different ways. For girls, this typically begins between the ages of 8 and 13 and 9 and 15 in boys. As everyone experiences puberty differently, you might meet one 13-year-old who looks much older than another 13-year-old. This just means that one of them is further along in the puberty process.
There is a special part of your brain that is responsible for the changes associated with puberty called the pituitary gland. While the pituitary gland is small in size - about the size of a pea - it is mighty in power! It releases hormones into your body, which are substances that control the way you act, look, and feel.
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Puberty for Girls
One of the major hormones released during puberty in girls is called estrogen, which helps a girl turn into a woman. Here are some of the changes that a girl going through puberty will experience:
- A curvier body shape with wider thighs, hips, and bottom
- Developing breasts
- Menstruation - this is when blood is released from the vagina about once a month
Puberty for Boys
Boys become men because of one particular hormone: testosterone. Testosterone can lead to many changes in a boy's body, including:
- A deeper voice
- A larger penis
- Facial hair
- Erections, which is when the penis fills with blood and becomes hard; during puberty, it can be difficult to control erections
- Ejaculation, which is when fluid, known as semen, comes out of the penis; sometimes, this happens during the night and is called a wet dream
Puberty in Boys & Girls
While puberty is significantly different for boys than girls, there are some similarities, as well. Here are just a few examples of the changes everyone can experience during puberty:
- Hormones can affect your mood. Sometimes, you will become angry or sad much easier than you used to. Puberty can also lead to sexual feelings, or feelings of attraction, that you have never felt before. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend may have once seemed silly, but during puberty, you might begin to show interest in developing a romantic relationship with someone.
- During puberty, your skin will become oilier, which sometimes leads to pimples. Some people refer to pimples as zits. Pimples are red spots that develop on your body or face. Washing your face and visiting a dermatologist can help to control pimples.
- Time to start wearing deodorant! Your armpits might start to smell stinky because the hormones are stimulating the sweat glands. Make sure to shower at least once a day!
- Hair, hair, everywhere, not just on your head! Hair will begin to grow in other places during puberty, like under your arms and on your private parts (pubic hair).
Puberty happens when changes occur in your body as you grow from a child to a teenager into an adult. Your pituitary gland is a special part of your brain that causes changes in your body by producing hormones, substances that control the way you act, look, and feel. Changes for boys and girls are different, with no two human beings experiencing puberty the exact same way. Boys begin making a lot of the hormone testosterone, while girls make more estrogen, the hormone that turns a girl into a woman.
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What is Puberty? - Lesson for Kids
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