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Puberty: Adolescent Female

Picture of adolescent female, smiling

How much will my adolescent grow?

The teenage years are also called adolescence. During this time, the teenager will see the greatest amount of growth in height and weight. Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes. An adolescent may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth, then have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty may occur gradually or several signs may become visible at the same time.

There is a great amount of variation in the rate of changes that may occur. Some adolescents may experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others. It is important to remember that these changes happen at different times for everyone. Being smaller or bigger than other girls or boys is normal as each child experiences puberty at his/her own time. The following are the average ages when puberty changes may occur:

What changes will occur during puberty?

Sexual and other physical maturation that occurs during puberty results from hormonal changes. As the adolescent nears puberty, a gland in the brain called the pituitary gland increases the secretion of a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone then causes additional effects. In girls, FSH activates the ovaries to start producing estrogen. In boys, FSH causes sperm to develop.

Girls experience puberty as a sequence of events, but their pubertal changes usually begin before boys of the same age. Each girl is different and may progress through these changes differently. The following are average ages that changes may occur:

There are specific stages of development that both boys and girls go through when developing secondary sexual characteristics. The following is a brief overview of the changes that occur:

The following are additional changes that may occur for the female as she experiences the changes of puberty:

What does my teenager understand?

The teenage years bring many changes, not only physically, but also mentally and socially. Children in these years increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually make plans and set long-term goals. Each child may progress at different rates, and show a different view of the world. In general, the following are some of the abilities that may be evident in your teenager:

Your adolescent's relationships with others:

As your adolescent begins to struggle for independence and control, many changes may occur. The following are some of the issues that may be involved with your adolescent during these years:

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