Early Puberty Changing Families, Schools
Studies have shown that girls are entering puberty at younger ages, but how well-equipped are parents and schools to respond to the earlier changes?
A Cincinnati Children’s study found that by age seven, 23 percent of African American girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls, 10 percent of white girls and 2 percent of Asian girls had started developing breasts.
“It’s difficult for families to be able to discuss this, especially with their girls,” said Dr. Frank Biro, director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s. “They are trying to be protective and at the same time helpful.”
Dr. Biro said early-developing girls can adapt to the changes more easily if they have someone — a parent, a family member or a teacher — helping them. Physicians say schools can help address the issue, but many have not adapted to the changes. What used to be a middle-school issue is now being faced by elementary schools.