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Puberty is when a child’s body begins to develop and change as they become an adult. Girls develop breasts and start their periods, and boys develop a deeper voice and start to look like men.
The average age for girls to begin puberty is 11, while for boys the average age is 12. But there’s no set timetable, so don’t worry if your child reaches puberty before or after their friends. It’s completely normal for puberty to begin at any point from the ages of 8 to 14. The process takes about four years overall.
Children who begin puberty either very early (before the age of 8) or very late (after 14) should see a doctor to rule out an underlying medical condition.
Read more about puberty problems .
This page covers:
After a year or so of puberty beginning, and for the next couple of years:
After a year or so of puberty starting, and for the next couple of years:
Puberty can be a difficult time for children. They're coping with changes in their body, and possibly acne or body odour as well, at a time when they feel self-conscious.
Puberty can also be an exciting time, as children develop new emotions and feelings. But the "emotional rollercoaster" they’re on can have psychological and emotional effects, such as:
For more information on what to expect and how to handle puberty-related mood changes, read our articles on teen aggression, coping with your teenager and talking to your teen.
If children are worried or confused about any part of puberty, it may help them to talk to a close friend or relative.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.