Girl's Corner — What is Puberty?
Puberty simply means adolescence, becoming a woman, growing up, reaching sexual maturity. It is the time in your life, usually between your 8th and 13th birthday, when you mind (thoughts, feelings, emotions, moods) and your physical body transforms from that of a little girl to a big girl (adult). Some girls may go through puberty a bit earlier or later. There's nothing wrong if yours happen earlier or later. So don't expect to develop exactly the same speed as your mates.
Puberty (say: pyoo-ber-tee) changes happen because of sex hormones produced by the ovaries in girls.
What sets it going?
When your body is ready to begin puberty, your pituitary (say: pih-too-uh-ter-ee) gland (a pea-shaped gland located at the bottom of your brain) releases special hormones. Depending on whether you're a boy or a girl, these hormones go to work on your skin, sex organs (reproductive organs) and hair. It also affects your emotions and moods.
Will I feel different from my usual self?
Very likely so. Nothing changes and remain the same! During and after puberty, you will know that your look a bit different from your normal kiddy body. Sometimes, big boys will want to be friends with you, and this can bring a lot of pressure. Some boys will expect you to do things that grown ups do, such as going to parties and drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes, or even becoming their girlfriend.
When these things happen, you need to keep your head on (be strong) and make good choices. Remember your body may have changed but you are still young and have a lot growing up to do. DO NOT RUSH into doing things that you do not feel ready to do. Speak and listen to your parents and allow them to guide you.