From child to teenager

Adolescence is a period of tremendous physiological changes. These changes come with various needs that you must fulfill in new ways.

In addition to mood swings, puberty changes and new interests, a lot of physiological changes happen in a child that slowly becomes a teenager. For girls, like for boys, these changes require a lot of energy and it is their parents’ responsibility to comfort them and make sure that they have everything they need during this demanding and important period.

Light speed growth

The growth spurt of teenagers is impressive and you will notice that fact through their clothing as they will go from one size to another in a flash.

From four years old to puberty, children gain 5 to 5.5 cm per year on average, but during puberty, the normal growth becomes very different for boys and for girls. Indeed, it is between 10 and 15 years old with a peak around 12 years old that girls grow 7 to 9 cm per year. For their part, boys grow for a longer period, from 12 to 19 years old, with a peak around the age of 14.

Their growth usually speeds up at the first signs of puberty. Each child being different, it is possible that your child experiences puberty up to two years before or after his classmates. These precocious or late puberties are not abnormal. It is not rare that puberty arrives very late for some boys and they usually catch up during their teenage years.

On average, girls grow 25 cm during puberty and boys grow 28 cm.

Fun fact

Many parents believe that practicing a sport can affect their child’s growth but this fear is unfounded. In fact, it is true that strength training must be practiced in moderation to avoid skeletal deviations and muscle pain, but practicing a sport cannot affect their overall growth.

A child who trains for more than 12 hours a week might have a late growth and puberty but this delay will have no influence on his final size.

Source: Larousse (in French)


For girls, puberty begins with developing breasts. For boys, it is perspiration that changes first. Here is a list of what awaits your child in the coming years.



Shoulders broaden

Breasts grow

Voice changes

Hips get wider

Hair grows

Hair grows

First erections and ejaculations

First periods

Seeing your own body change

It is obvious that all these changes have psychological repercussions. At first, they see their own body change and cannot recognize it. Their body seems out of control and soon, they are unable to hide the numerous changes and find themselves having conversations with others about it.

Soon, a new sense of modesty will appear as your children could hide to avoid talking about this. You must admit that a lot happens really fast and it is not super easy for boys to talk about spontaneous ejaculations or for girls to talk about their first periods. It is not easy for a parent to see their “little ones” grow so fast either. Rest assured, an occasion will eventually present itself and you will soon find a moment to discuss and advise your teenagers.

Your child might seem upset, angry or depressed. We would be all that too! All these physical, social and sexual changes appear on a long period that may seem like an eternity for some kids.

In addition, stretch marks, acne, hairy patches, smelly perspiration, the fear of having an erection at a bad moment and managing the first periods are all factors that could affect their self-esteem. Do not hesitate to suggest solutions, you’ve been there after all, and that wasn’t so long ago!

Nutritional needs

The nutritional needs of teenage girls can be compared to the needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women. To start and maintain periods, young girls must eat enough and these periods also increase their iron needs. Keep these needs in mind when planning your meals to avoid making them even more tired.

For their part, boys develop a lot of muscles, which increases their blood volume and, at the same time, their iron needs. They also need a lot of proteins and, like girls they also need zinc and calcium.

To make sure that they have all the minerals that they need, do not hesitate to increase their portions for all food groups. Also expect them to eat a lot of snacks and to sleep more than they used to.

Image de Anne Costisella

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