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Early Development in Girls

     Young people reach puberty at very different rates following their bodies' own timetable. Being different from average is most stressful for girls when physical development starts at an early age. The first menstruation can happen in some very normal girls as early as the age of nine. Early development can be difficult for a girl for several reasons:

* It's embarrassing to be different from peers, especially if they tease about height or breast development.

* The girl may have not been adequately prepared for the onset of puberty. Many parents delay telling their daughters about menstruation until they are 11 or 12 - this is too late!

* Don't mistake puberty weight gain for obesity. Re- assure your daughter that this is an important part of her normal development.

* Early maturing girls are often treated and expected to act as old as they look. Remember that emotional growth can lag behind physical growth. Let your daughter's feelings and behavior be your guide.

     Within that emerging young woman is a little girl who needs your love, reassurance and guidance very much.

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