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‘THE BIG TALK’: When Should You Have It? Long gone are the days of diapers, formula, and baby foods. Fast approaching are the dreaded “teenage years.” “Watch out, hold onto your parental hats, it is going to be a fast and bumpy ride” may all be appropriate descriptive terms. Yes, our children are approaching puberty.

Puberty is a time of significant physical, emotional, and psycho-social changes for children. These changes may cause confusion, stress and a host of other issues in a child. As you, the reader, progress through this article, keep this ONE THING IN MIND - BE PATIENT, BE PATIENT, and BE PATIENT. As a parent, this stage is going to be as difficult, if not more difficult, for you than your son or daughter. You, the parent, are your kid’s best asset. It is your job to teach, advise, counsel and, most importantly, listen to your son or daughter. You may or may not like what you hear. Try not to be angry or upset. Keep your child close to you and maintain open lines of communication. Puberty starts at varied ages; some start early, some late. Some develop quickly, others develop slowly. There is no hard and fast rule for this. Boys tend to take after their dads and the males in their family. Consider other family members and the ages for puberty. This may give you a clue as to when your own son or daughter will start puberty. From a medical perspective, doctors usually recommend that kids who start puberty before the age of eight-and-a-half to nine have a medical check-up. Also those who have not started puberty by their fourteenth or fifteenth birthday should see a doctor. It’s important to remember that starting early or late does not always mean there is something wrong. However, when there is something wrong, the problem can be treated by a doctor at an early age to allow the child to develop normally. Pimples, perspiration, and body hair growth. Most of us recall our first body changes. Hair growth in pubic areas, armpits, legs and arms is not too distressing to most kids. Just an aside, to dispel a popular rumor, shaving does not cause more hair growth. It may look like more but it is not. Shaving cuts the hair shaft, removing the tapered tip and exposing the wider shaft, so it looks like more hair growth. Body odor can start to occur during this period. Consider teaching the use of personal care products. For young women the body changes are more pronounced and noticeable. The enlargement of breast tissue begins in this stage, as well as an overall change in the contour of her body. This can be distressing to some women. The use of a bra or other supportive garments is really up to the individual. Support her in her decision to wear or not wear a bra. The next mountain is the start of her menses

or period. The onset of menses is the beginning of a variety of things. The most important one being this signifies her ability to become pregnant. Your daughter may wrestle with the decision to use a tampon or pad. Use of a tampon may disrupt the hymen. There are commercially available smaller tampons with plastic applicators that may offer her some advantages for ease of placement. Other issues may arise such as romantic feelings and sexual feelings. Young people often face questions about how to handle strong romantic and sexual feelings. This is an important time to really examine your own feelings, organize some basic concepts in your mind. And really try to talk with your child. They can use the guidance. At this time it is important to discuss the “what” and “how to” related to sexual activity. Kids today start at a young age. Don’t ignore the subject. It is important to discuss sexual contact, intercourse and, yes, birth control. Include in this safe sex practices and STD prevention. As a gynecologist, I have helped many parents with the talk. I have over the years developed the ability to effectively communicate with young women. This is a time of many emotions like confusion, anxiety, and excitement about growing up. It may also be a time when our kids have the “blues.” These ups and downs are very common in this age group. Part of the reason we have these feelings may be the new hormones our bodies are making. Our hormones are powerful substances and they can affect our emotions and our bodies. It takes our bodies and our emotions some time to adjust to these hormones. At times, all these changes are overwhelming. Your children may feel scared, uncertain, anxious or depressed. Be there to support, listen and at times talk to your children. You are their best asset. Try to keep them safe and out of trouble. In my own life, I have three children of my own. They are fast approaching at this age. I have started to have “the talk” with one of my own. It is really not as easy as one would think. When it comes down to it, this is a really difficult subject. It is stressprovoking for both my son and me. Kids can be difficult to reach, so keep trying. Again, be patient, don’t pre-judge; guide them, don’t push them. If you have difficulty with your child and “the talk,” we at Advanced Care are here to help. I have this type of discussion several times in any given week. Please contact my office if needed. Good luck.

To schedule an appointment at Advanced Care Ob/Gyn, call 609-272-0506 or visit

We’re With You All The Way

Old-Fashioned Care With State-Of-The-Art Technology Quality, Compassionate Healthcare for All Stages of a Woman’s Life Courtyard Professional Offices 707 White Horse Pike, Suite D4 • Absecon, NJ 08201 609.272.0506 • Fax: 609.272.0607 Linwood Commons 2106 New Road, Suite D10 • Linwood, NJ 08221 609.927.2244 • Fax: 609.927.2242

PICTURED: Salvatore A. Carfagno, DO, FACOOG, Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, with his beautiful family

Affliated with: AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center and Shore Medical Center The County Woman Magazine The County Woman Magazine

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Profile for The County Woman

Atlantic County Woman - July/August 2019  

The County Woman ™ is part of a nationally syndicated publication and has been around for over 31 years. There are over 371 other counties t...

Atlantic County Woman - July/August 2019  

The County Woman ™ is part of a nationally syndicated publication and has been around for over 31 years. There are over 371 other counties t...