Skip to content

Puberty and development

emale diverse friends doing stretching exercise in the park - diverse friends warming up before doing group exerciseYour child will usually start puberty between nine and 14.

It’s important they learn how to keep their body healthy, make their own choices, and develop healthy habits.

Changes in puberty include:

  • physical growth and development
  • changes to their brain and the way they think
  • social and emotional changes.

Let your child know the changes they're going through are normal. Your child might be feeling more self-conscious than they did before. Encourage them to talk about any worries especially those young people who are questioning their gender identity. Clear communication between you and your teen can help you both feel happier, more connected, and more confident when you have to have tricky conversations. Visit our understanding your teen’s behaviour page or managing feelings page for more support.

Families who might need further support

If your child has additional needs, they might need extra support as they go through puberty, and in gaining independence. See the page on Sex education - a guide for parents from the National Autistic Society for more information and support.

Autistic young people often need more time to understand and prepare for changes and this is especially important when dealing with the physical and emotional changes that come with menstruation (having periods).

In the guide to supporting autistic young people to manage their periods, parents, carers and autistic young people share some tips and advice about how to ensure that you are doing all you can to support young people. This guide has been developed by the Parent Carer Voice group, supported by the iThrive and Participation Team within Kent County Council.

Useful resources

  • Brook has lots of information on puberty and the body, how it changes, and what to expect during puberty.
  • Check out the booklet Growing Up – What’s It All About, which has useful facts for young people about what to expect.
  • Families in Kent and Medway can access free online courses including ‘Understanding your teenager’s brain’ to understand what happens to the brain of a child as they go through adolescence and understand some of the behaviours they might be noticing. There is also a course for teenagers themselves. Use the access code Invicta to register for your free account.