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Importance of Teaching Emotions During Puberty
August 29, 2016

When we think of changing bodies, we most often think of puberty and the developing body. But body changes can happen in small ways at other times of life as well and it’s important to be prepared for what changes might happen.

So how do we prepare ourselves or the people we support?

The first thing we need to do is understand how changes may present, and some of these may include:

  • different sensations in the body
  • physical (visual or non visual) changes in the body
  • emotional upheaval
  • the need to explore (emotions and development of the body)

Once we’re aware of how the changes may present, then we’re better placed to help prepare for the changes. Consider preparing in some of the following ways:

  • Early introduction of what might be happening is important so that a person has time to develop understanding and to be supported through any worries or concerns.
  • Visual learning helps with understanding more complex topics or concepts – use visuals where ever you can!
  • Include learning about how to manage the practicalities that go with the changes – for example, for a girl learning about menstruation, she would also need to learn about where and how to purchase sanitary products, how to dispose of sanitary products (particularly when outside of her home environment) and how often to change sanitary products.
  • Use direct language that is clear and straightforward – avoid confusing words and put concepts into a format that the person can understand. For example, if talking about a person’s voice deepening, use audio examples to help a person in understanding what the change might sound like. You might like to use cardboard tubes or other devices to try out what it’s like to hear the deepening sound of your own voices.
  • Introduce hygiene routines before they’re needed – the earlier a person begins with learning how to use deodorant or other personal products, the easier it will be to manage when it becomes really important.
  • Provide guidelines or boundaries for what’s legally and socially allowed in private and public settings – this is really important for ensuring safety and wellbeing of everyone.
  • Support emotional learning at all stages of development as different emotions will be experienced at different times in a person’s life – this can be an ongoing process.

How have you prepared for supporting a person through puberty and body change? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Written by Elissa Plumridge

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