Let’s Talk About It…Healthy Sexuality for the Middle School Age Child (9-12)
Most children in this age group will begin a rapid phase of transition from childhood to adolescence. The term puberty refers to a stage of physical maturation where a person becomes capable of reproduction.
It is important for parents and educators to ensure that children are fully aware of the changes to expect during puberty well before they actually start to happen. Boys and girls should not only be aware of the changes happening in their own bodies, but those occurring in the opposite sex as well.
Some of the most critical changes during puberty involve physical development. Most people this age will experience a growth spurt with significant weight gain, muscle growth, body proportion changes and increased hair growth. In males, genitals mature, the voice deepens, sperm is produced and erections, ejaculation and wet dreams are more frequent. In females, genitals mature, breasts develop and ovulation and the menstrual cycle begin.
During this time there are many emotional and cognitive changes occurring as well. Most young people this age will want to blend in and not stand out from their peers. Increased importance is placed on outward appearance and many become self-conscious. Part of this may be because they are beginning to look to their friends and the media for information and advice.
As parents, remember to be approachable. It is important your child knows they can come to you when they need you. It is part of your responsibility to help young people understand and accept their evolving sexuality. For more information please visit our website on how to “Start the Discussion”