Double Sunrise Young Women's Health: early teen to college years

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Am I Normal?

Everyone grows at different rates...

"Am I normal?" is the question that I hear most often from adolescent girls.

An important point to remember about puberty and early adolescence, is that every girl grows through similar stages, at a different rate. One girl may get very tall at an early age, and another may develop more curves.

This is a time that girls can really support each other, because it's easy to feel "different" and that can be lonely. A reassuring word from a friend can be the best thing that could happen at such a time.

Common comments that girls make to me are:

  • "My breasts are too big and I hate running in gym."
  • "My friends have started their periods and I haven't"
  • "Am I going to get any taller?"
  • "My thighs are too big"

Girls don't grow up self conscious. Most often someone has said something to them about their body, perhaps innocently, perhaps teasing. A parent may have innocently said, "You need new shoes again? Wow, your feet are growing fast!" and the daughter may feel self conscious that her feet are too big. Many girls are self conscious if someone at school teases or makes a comment about their body in any way. For instance, a comment as, "Look at your hair frizzing!" can lead to a girl saying, "I need to buy some anti-friz hair conditioner today, Mom."

It is very important for you to be aware that advertisers make a lot of money by trying to make you feel that if you buy their product, you'll look and feel better and have more what you need and want - friends, admiration, happiness and more. Some advertisements actually take advantage of the fact that girls are self conscience, perhaps even attempting to make girls more self conscience, just so they'll buy products.

Adolescence is a time when for many reasons, girls ask, "Am I normal?". Remember that the basic physical changes happen to all girls, but the timing of when they happen are different for each girl. Changing hips, breasts, hair growth and height are all normal and healthy changes. And having concerns and questions is very normal too. The important point is to reach out and talk to an adult that you feel comfortable with when you have questions.

Keeping connected in order to grow

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