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November 14, 2018

I’M SCARED OF PUBERTY!!!

Hi Nikki,

I’m having a lot of trouble lately with puberty. I’m growing hair under my arms and I don’t like it! Plus, all my friends are wearing trendy, showy clothes, but I don’t wanna grow up and I fear what’s next! Help!

Petrified By Puberty Problems

Hi Petrified By Puberty Problems,

Oh boy, I can TOTALLY relate! Or at least, I could a couple years ago, and I completely remember the feelings. I’ve already started puberty, and believe me, it’s not all bad.

However, it’s SUPER overwhelming when it gets started, and you’re not alone in feeling that way! Part of what makes it so overwhelming is that your hormones start freaking out. So, your emotions are all over the place, which makes it hard to deal with the changes. Like, if your emotions were all steady and calm, you could go, “Oh, hey, there’s some more hair on my body. Guess I’ll figure out how to deal with that.”

But with your out of control emotions, you’re suddenly all “OMG! HAIR GROWING WHERE THERE WASN’T HAIR BEFORE!! CLEARLY I WILL SOON HAVE HAIR COMING OUT MY EYEBALLS!!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!”

Since there’s no set schedule, a group of 12-year-old friends can be at TOTALLY different stages of puberty, which can make you feel all alone.

So, puberty’s hard. Just affirming that. 🙂

Let’s start with your armpit hair. It’s absolutely normal. For most people, shaving should not be a concern. However, if you’re in dance, gymnastics or dying to wear a cute tank top, talk to your mom about shaving under your arms. The thing is if you’ve never shaved before, you can cut yourself and those cuts STING. (Especially when they’re in your armpit and then you put deodorant on…)

Next: Your friends are wearing showy clothes. (And I’m guessing probably makeup, and talking about boys a lot more?) You might get there eventually OR you might not! Like, you guys might head off to college and you still won’t be too into fashion or makeup and that’s FINE. A lot of that is personality, and I guarantee some of the girls at your school who seem super into that stuff are only doing it because it seems like what everyone else is doing.

Finally: You don’t want to grow up and you fear what’s next. I think the thing to remember is that growing up doesn’t happen overnight. You have years ahead of you before you leave the nest. By the time it finally happens, you’ll probably be DYING to get out of there.

So, don’t rush it. Enjoy being young! Sure, you’re worried about your body changing. That doesn’t mean you have to dive into an adult woman’s complete hygiene routine or worry yourself silly. Take it one step at a time!

As for what’s next, you probably learned all this at some point in a very uncomfortable health class, but here are the basics of puberty:

  • Increased height and weight
  • Body development
  • Hair growth
  • First Period
  • Mood Swings

Some of these things may be more sudden or dramatic than others. They could happen in any order. They might be spread out over years, or might all come together within a couple months. And it’s ALL NORMAL.

NONE of the physical changes mean you have to suddenly be any different than you are right this minute. You are who you are, regardless of where you’ve got hair on your body. As you get a little older, who you want to be may change. That’s okay too. But there’s no rush.

Just take it one step at a time. Get advice from somebody that survived puberty and lived to tell about it, like your mom, aunt or older sister. It’ll be okay. I promise! 🙂

Any tips for getting through puberty? Tell us in the comments!