Although puberty is a great time in our lives because we are growing up, it can also be a time when we face some problems, these might occur because we look or act differently to others.

I will tell you my experience of puberty so far.
I love football; I play it at school … well… I used to. I started avoiding it because of the other boys. In the changing room after the games, the other boys would say stuff about me and I have really begun to hate football days. I am by far the smallest boy in my year; I am twelve but could pass as a nine year old, definitely. The other boys are all getting muscles and stuff, and I don’t have anything…not even, you know… down there.
When the other boys laugh at me cos I am so small all over, I feel really shy and I turn red and start feeling hot all over. It is horrible. Why am I the only one not growing? I hate myself. I feel so different to everyone, like I am not as good as they are.  They call me names like ‘titch’, ‘shortie’ or ‘baby’ and it really gets me angry.  Sometimes I wish to fight, but I know they would probably beat me up.
This has been happening for quite a while and I didn’t know who to talk to. I couldn’t tell my friends. They’d just laugh at me. Recently I plucked up the courage to ask my dad why I am different to the others.  I felt really comfortable asking him because he understood me straight away.  He said that he had a similar experience as a child, he was a slow grower.  Apparently this is really normal.  I feel so relieved even writing that word, as that was the thing I was most afraid of, that I was not normal.
This is how my dad explained it to me, he told me exactly what happens. I already knew bits of it, but he explained it differently. He said I didn’t have to worry, that it would happen one day and I would catch up with the other boys. He even said that I might end up bigger than them…That would be cool. Dad said that puberty in girls usually happens between the ages of 10 and 16 and in boys between 12 and 18.  Everyone is different though so the most important thing is not to worry if others are growing faster.  We will catch up sooner or later.
I’m glad I talked to my dad although it was really hard at first.  I was so scared that he would laugh at me.  I know that not all dads are available to chat with.  If this is the case with you and you are feeling angry, upset or anything else, I really suggest you find someone to talk to.  Believe me, being told that you are normal takes the fear away.  If you do not want to talk to anyone, at least you have heard it from me.  Next time I am teased, even though it will make me angry, at least I will not feel abnormal cos now I know better.
Things to think about
  • For those of you who do not know the meaning of this word – puberty – it is when our bodies start to change and grow.  We do not only change physically, we also change in the way we think and feel.  We have started the road to adulthood.
  • Do your feet and hands seem to be in different places all the time?
  • Have you turned into an eating machine?
  • Do you get weird pains in strange places?
  • Do your moods change from one minute to the next?
  • Do your hair and skin get greasy?
  • Does your body seem to be doing its own thing?
  • Is your mind working overtime trying to deal with all the changes?