What happens to girls during puberty?
Puberty is different for everyone. Here are some things that could happen to girls during puberty as part of the normal growing up process (don’t worry if you don’t experience all of these things).
Breast Development: As girls breasts develop, it is quite normal for one to be somewhat larger than the other. Breasts are rarely identical. Girls may notice a lump under one nipple to begin with and not the other. Some girls may like to wear a training bra as their breasts develop or wear loose-fitting clothing if they feel self-conscious. Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes and are a normal part of development.
Menstruation (Periods): Some girls start their first period at 8 or 9 years old, while others don’t start it until they’re 15 or 16. The average age is 12 or 13. A girl can expect their period to arrive within two years of developing underarm or pubic hair.
A period is bleeding through a girl’s vagina that lasts for up to a week. It may not be regular in the first couple of years but it should eventually settle into a cycle, happening around every 28 days. Leading up to a period, blood builds up in the lining of a girl’s uterus (inside the vagina), to help make it a good home for an egg to live in and develop into a baby when you’re older and may want to have a family. When a girl’s egg isn’t fertilized (by male sperm) to be made into a baby, the blood sheds out of the girl’s body. Leading up to and during a girl’s period girl she may feel low or have aches or pains, be moody, bloated, crave certain foods, have headaches, breast tenderness, acne or feel lacking in energy.
Changing Body Shape: Girls bodies become curvier, hip bones widen and girls gain weight. This is a normal part of becoming a woman and doesn’t mean you should diet or try to lose weight (in fact, it would be unhealthy if you did lose weight).
Discharge: Girls may notice some whitish jelly coming from their vagina. This is normal and is just the vagina’s way of cleaning itself.
What happens to boys during puberty?
Puberty is different for everyone. Here are some things that could happen to boys during puberty as part of the normal growing up process (don’t worry if you don’t experience all of these things).
Voice Change: As their voice box enlarges and the vocal cords grow, boys voices may “crack” as they speak. While this can be embarrassing and annoying, it’s a normal part of growing up.
Wet Dreams: Boys may wake up in the morning to find sticky, damp areas in their pyjama pants and sheets. This is caused by an ejaculation, not urination, that occurs during sleep and are not an indication that the boy was having a sexual dream. Boys cannot prevent it from happening. Wet dreams are just part of growing up.
Involuntary Erections: During puberty, boys get unexpected erections, without touching their penis and without having sexual thoughts. Unexpected erections are a normal sign that a boy’s body is maturing and over time they will become less frequent.
Breast enlargement: Many boys experience swelling of the breasts during the early years of puberty. They may feel a button like bump under one or both nipples and they might be sore or tender. After a few months—sometimes longer—the swelling will disappear;
One testicle lower than the other: Uneven testicles are both normal and common.
Things that happen to both boys and girls during puberty:
Changing body shape, hair growth, mixed up feelings and mood changes, changes in the way you think, energy levels going up and down, increased body sweat, hair and skin changes (eg oily hair, pimples).
How can I get my first job?
If you’re a student, your school or education provider is a great starting point to ask for help with your resume, applying for jobs and tips for approaching employers and attending job interviews. Ask to speak with your school’s Careers Advisor or ask your provider, who would be the best person to speak with.
If you’re not enrolled in a school or education provider, you can receive support from the local Employment Coordinator who works at Goldfields Employment and Learning Centre (call 5461 3185 or visit 88 Burke St). Your local Employment Coordinator helps young people with creating resumes, completing hard copy and online job applications and gives tips to help prepare you to talk to employers and to attend job interviews.
For those on Youth Allowance or Newstart, you can receive support from a local Job Active provider. See the Jobs/Careers/Education tab on this website to locate local providers.
A great way to gain employment is to write a list of potential places you would like to work in (even if they don’t have jobs advertised) and approach those employers personally with your resume and a cover letter. When you attend the business, ask to speak with the Manager. Practice what you will say to them before you go, maintain eye contact when talking to them and make sure you show them how keen you are to work.
Networking is also a great way to get a job. That is, asking people you know if they know of any jobs available, ask family, friends, teachers, your local hairdresser etc, and spread the word that you are keen to find a job.
What are the facts on alcohol?
So, this may sound a little scary but the truth is, the facts have changed – we now know more about the effects of alcohol and it is more harmful than previously thought.
- The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends that children and young people under the age of 18 do not drink alcohol.
- The brain is still developing during the teenage years and drinking alcohol during this time may damage the brain and lead to health complications later in life
- Drinking early may damage the area of the brain that is responsible for decision making, memory and emotions. Drinking early can affect a person’s memory, ability to learn, problem-solving skills, mood and mental health (eg depression)
- Young people who drink to cope with their problems are more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression.
- Younger people are at greater risk of alcohol related harm than adults. Young people are a greater risk of injury, and doing things they may later regret. This is because young people’s brains are still developing and they are likely to drink more and take more risks when drinking compared to older people. Risks include: riding in a car with a drunk driver, risky sexual behaviour, violence, using illicit drugs, self-harm.
- Early drinking contributes to the 3 leading causes of death amongst young people: unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.
- The earlier a young person is introduced to alcohol, the more likely they are to develop problems with it later in life. Young people should therefore delay their first drink for as long as possible.
- Young people are also generally physically smaller and have a lower tolerance for alcohol, all of which can contribute to the risk of death due to an alcohol overdose.
(Information from the Australian Drug Foundation and TheOtherTalk.org.au)
My partner wants to have sex but I’m not ready. What should I do?
It’s common in relationships for one person to want sex when the other isn’t ready. Talk to your partner and let them know your feelings. If they care about you, they will listen. If your partner tries to talk you out of your feelings or convince you that you’re wrong, then that person may not be the right partner for you. Let your partner know what you are comfortable with and what you’re not ready for. Mutual respect is the foundation of a good relationship. If your partner is the understanding, caring person you hope they are, they won’t pressure you.
Help! I had unprotected sex last night. I don’t want to fall pregnant.
Regardless of what time of the month and what position you had sex in, and even if the guy didn’t ejaculate inside you (pre-ejaculate may have leaked out), there is always a chance that you could fall pregnant if you’ve had unprotected sex. The best way to avoid falling pregnant is to use a reliable form of contraception.
If it’s too late for that and you’ve already had unprotected sex, you can use emergency contraception. The most common form of emergency contraception is commonly referred to as the morning after pill. You can access the morning after pill from your local chemist. It is best to take the emergency contraceptive as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of having sex but it can still be effective within 96 hours (4 days). Emergency contraception is around 85% effective in preventing unplanned pregnancy.
Remember that emergency contraception doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections and it is only suitable as a back up to your regular contraception. Make sure you use contraception!
Sexually Transmitted Infections
If you’ve had unprotected sex, you are at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.
For females, seek medical advice if you experience:
- Unexplained bleeding
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain when you pee
- Unusual discharge
- Itching around the genital area or anus
- Sores or rashes around the genital area or anus
For males, seek medical advice if you experience:
- Pain during ejaculation
- Unusual Tenderness in the testicles
- Sores or rashes around the genital area or anus
Even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, you should still get checked to see if you’ve contracted an STI. Many males and females have STI’s but don’t experience any symptoms.