Many students won’t just be returning to school with new backpacks or a new hairdo; some will be returning a couple inches taller, or with a deeper voice, or maybe some pimples. Not only are physical changes a possibility, but there will also be changes in attitude, self-confidence, and emotions.
How should trusted adults help youth navigate this (sometimes intimidating) time of change—especially the emotions they may start to experience? Here are some ways to show support and help build resilience:
- Don’t dismiss feelings – Youth may become anxious about body image or upset about the changes they are experiencing; make sure to recognize those feelings.
- Be open in communication – Make sure youth know that you are there to answer questions without judgment.
- Offer help when needed – Puberty is also a time for youth to gain independence, but sometimes they might still need help. Offer help, but if it is not accepted, let them decide what to do.
- Be a role model – Model how to handle stress and tough emotions in a healthy way and, of course, model healthy habits around physical health as well.
Following these tips can help build confident and resilient kids and make puberty a little less intimidating (for youth and guardians). For more information, click the links to the resources below.