DiscoverHealth

child with braces

“Roller coaster of emotions”

As children grow into young adults, parents often have questions about puberty and the changes their child is going through. Pediatrician Donna Smith, MD, answers some of these questions in this DiscoverHealth.org series on puberty.

What emotional changes can I expect as my child moves through puberty? 

You can expect a roller coaster of emotions during this time. Your child is happy one minute and crying or angry the next.

Tweens and teenagers no longer seek the approval and praise of parents, but that of their peers. You can spend hours telling your daughter that her hair and skin are perfect, but she will not accept it as true unless she hears it from a friend.

Likewise, they are very easily hurt by remarks from peers who disparage their clothing or appearance. That is why social media is such a danger at this age. Teens don't think twice about saying something in a text or post that they wouldn't necessarily say to someone in person.

What physical changes can I expect as my child moves through puberty? 

Both boys and girls develop more muscle mass, though it is usually more obvious in boys.

With the advent of year-round sports, it is important that weightlifting is limited to body weight or body weight exercises until they are significantly through puberty. Your primary physician can give you some guidance at yearly well visits.

Acne is the bane of every adolescent's existence.

I encourage basic cleaning twice daily and no picking at skin, which may introduce more bacteria and cause scarring. Again, your physician can help with recommendations for more significant acne. Please make an appointment with a dermatologist if you note cystic or scarring acne.

Donna Smith, MD, is a pediatrician at Medical Group of the Carolinas — Pediatrics — Spartanburg —Westside. To make an appointment, call 864-560-9600.