Could your little girl need a bra already? Is that deep voice really your youngest son’s?

A child’s puberty can take you by surprise, even when it’s right on time. Most girls start to mature physically between the ages of 8 and 13; boys, between 9 and 14. The pituitary gland, at the base of the brain, releases the hormones that jumpstart a child’s sexual development. The result is a combination of physical, emotional and social changes that can rock the world of both parent and child.

The sequence of maturation is usually the same for everyone. The age and speed at which a child goes through the changes will vary, though. On average, girls start puberty at age 11 and boys at age 12. African-American and Hispanic children tend to start six months earlier than other kids.

In girls, the first sign of puberty is usually breast development. Boys will first notice an increase in the size of their penis and testicles.


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