YOUTH ages 11-14. In our own timing, each of our bodies go through intricate changes as we grow into the adults that God intended us to be.
*Note- This lesson includes a lot of activities, mini lessons and application. Feel free to spend an evening together on the entire lesson or spread it out into several mini conversations throughout the month.
To understand the intricate changes that our body experiences as we grow into the adults that God intended us to be and to feel confident and proud of our physical selves.
THINK. FEEL. DO.
Have an understanding of how the male and female body physically transforms during puberty. They will feel confident that their body is beautiful in God’s eyes and will grow in its own timing. By discussing and preparing for puberty, my teen will be able to practice proper self-hygiene and be comfortable about what is “normal” to experience during these developmental years.
Pictures of your pre-teen from baby to now
“For the Guys” document
“For the Gals” document
Read the scriptures and share about what it means to you
"Human beings have stages of childhood, youth, middle age, and old age. The springtime of life is puberty. Summer is the thirties, and autumn is the forties. Then begins the winter period of life, and when the winter solstice comes, life ends." -Sun Myung Moon
"The spirit and body can become completely one when the original love is present within. Even in the fallen world, puberty refers to a time when the spirit and the cells of the body become one and can stand on a balanced line. The cells of spirit and body during puberty open all doors and welcome things with joy. Young people with a relationship with God will gaze upon the human world filled with joy and happiness as they reach puberty." -Sun Myung Moon
“It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you –the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear and it is worth very much to God.” -1 Peter 3:3-4
“By the grace of God, I am what I am.” -1 Corinthians 15:10
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” -Anonymous
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Attention Grabber with a real life object
PHOTO MEMORIES- Let’s look back on the past and see how far we have come already! My how we’ve grown! Grab a bunch of pictures of your pre-teen from when they were a baby up until the age they are now. Try to organize them in order and have pictures from each year of life. Before we talk about what will happen to our bodies in the near future, let’s examine how we have grown and changed so far. How did we look as a baby? How did our hair change? How did our skin tone change? Did our face structure change? Did we grow tall or is our body taking time to reach its max height? Do you remember what it felt like to be that young? Discuss all the pictures and how your teen has matured and grown both physically & internally over the years. Explain and point out all the things you love about how your teen looks and has looked as they’ve grown. Have your pre-teen point out physical aspects they love about themselves. Their eyes? Their curly hair? Their dimples or big smile? How amazing is God’s creation and plan?! You have always been beautiful and special- inside & out! How do you think you will look as an adult? As you change?
Today we will be discussing what puberty will bring for guys and gals. We will also connect to the idea that we are all beautiful and will be developing at our own pace.
BREAK THE ICE:
Leading off with a visual, popular reference
Looking at the creation, what other beings and/or animals go through changes as they grow? What changes have you been experiencing recently? How does it feel to be a teen these days? What are you worried about as you go through puberty?
Read the script and watch together
Tips before starting: Pre-teens and teenagers are fascinating…. beings. You never know how they will respond to sensitive topics! Most youth like to keep things short and to the point. Others may want to ask all the tough questions and crave in-depth responses. Be sensitive to how your child responds and connects to these topics and respect their communication style. Most kids in their pre-teen years don’t want to be treated as children and be lectured at or be told to do something. Sound familiar? Keep the humor. Especially with boys! Who doesn’t like a good fart joke? Ask them what they already know about the topic or ask their experience before and during your explanation. This should be an interactive experience between the child and their parent. Being open and transparent about the hard stuff (get it??...) allows for deep and meaningful communication!
Congratulations! You are on the fast track journey to becoming an adult! Your pre-teen/teen years (ages 9-15) are the critical years when your body goes through the incredible transformation from a kid to a man (if you are a guy) or woman (if you are a girl)! This stage of life brings a lot of changes in your body. This stage of change is called puberty. We don’t want you to be surprised or uncomfortable with these changes. Puberty is a fascinating part of God’s plan for your body. It is your metamorphosis! The changes are normal and every single adult has gone through it. All of your peers are going through it.
The thing is, sometimes you may compare your experience with puberty with your classmates’ or other people your age which may cause you to feel embarrassed or worried that something is not normal. Some people physically mature super quick while others may take time. Some experience certain changes first, like hair under their armpits, but then other changes are slower to happen. It is ok! Your body is designed to develop into the adult God envisioned YOU to be. Try not to compare with others. All you have to do is continue to take good care of your body and trust that you are exceptionally special and beautiful just the way you are right now!
What do you already know about puberty and how your body changes? What are you wondering about? Are you nervous about the changes that will come?
Before we begin our main activity, let’s watch this video together:
Inside Puberty: What Are the Stages of Puberty? by Watchwellcast
Isn’t it wonderful how your body already knows how to ‘turn itself’ into an adult? Isn’t it amazing how God had such a specific plan for each of our bodies? Now we know that this is all normal and while it can be uncomfortable to talk about, it is important to see what is coming up so that you feel confident in your body.
Guys and gals experience different changes during puberty. In order to cover all the changes that puberty will bring for you, let’s go from head to toe and make a list of all the developments that will occur over the next few years. We will fill out the document together.
First, see if you can fill it out without the video or list provided. Then watch the video and fill out and/or discuss the changes that happen from head to toe:
For the Guys:
First watch this:
All About Boys Puberty by Watchwellcast
Fill out the “For the Guys” document as you discuss.
Head: You start having new thoughts about the opposite gender. You may also be more tired because your body is working overtime during puberty.
Face: Your skin will be more oily than usual which may result in acne breakouts and not just on your face. Some may notice acne on their backs and other parts of their body. You will begin noticing facial hair.
Neck: Adam’s apple (the larynx) becomes noticeable. Your voice will begin to change.
Shoulders: Start to broaden- it is good to practice good posture now!
Armpits: Hair will start growing under there and you may be more sweaty- and smelly! Don’t worry deodorant usually does the trick!
Spine: You grow taller! Some people grow all at once while others grow a little at a time. The average teen guy will grow about 2-3 inches a year!
Chest: You may notice that you gain a little weight in the chest. It is called “gynecomastia” but don’t worry that is usually temporary. You may start growing hair on your chest.
Reproductive Organs: Your penis, scrotum, and testes will enlarge. The hormone called testosterone will increase, which in turn causes spontaneous erections. The increase of hormones can bring about stronger attraction towards the opposite gender which, as you probably already know, can cause erections as well. Testosterone will also allow your body to start making sperm. Some guys may experience ejaculation while sleeping. This is called wet dreams and is totally normal. Not having wet dreams is normal too! You will start noticing hair growing (aka pubic hair) and might experience more sweat in the groin area.
Legs: Will grow during growth spurts. You will notice more hair on them.
Feet: You may notice more sweat than normal. Change your socks often! Your shoe size may grow significantly during puberty.
For the Gals:
First watch this:
What is Puberty? Decoding Puberty in Girls by Watchwellcast
Fill out “For the Gals” document as you discuss.
Head: You may be more tired because your body is working overtime during puberty. Puberty will bring about many hormones, mostly estrogen, which may make you feel more emotional and moody than usual. Take a nice warm bath or find some quiet time to read a good book. All of these emotions are normal and are often called PMS.
Face: Your skin will be more oily than usual which may result in acne breakouts and not just on your face. Some may notice acne on their backs and other parts of their body.
Armpits: Hair will start growing under there and you may be more sweaty- and smelly! Don’t worry deodorant usually does the trick!
Chest: Your breasts will begin to grow. This is one of the easiest things to compare and feel self conscience about. Your body and your breasts will develop as they should. They will take different shapes as they grow. A training bra or sports bra may help you feel more comfortable. Try not to worry or compare with other girls. Every girl is developing in their own time!
Hips: Your hips and thighs will begin to widen. Your waist may get smaller. It is pretty common to gain some weight during this stage of life.
Reproductive Organs: Your menstrual cycle will begin during puberty. This is also called a period. Remember in our last lesson we talked about God’s perfect plan for your body and how the woman’s body has the incredible super power of growing a baby?! In order to prepare for that baby to grow inside the woman’s womb, it begins a cycle years in advance- the menstrual cycle. Your ovaries will begin to release eggs and will create layer of blood and tissue. Because your body is not yet ready for a baby, it will release the blood and tissue which results in your period. It is a good idea to have pads and extra undies with you just in case! You will soon be able to recognize when your period will come each month as it usually a regular cycle.
Legs: You may notice that you are taller than most boys your age. This is quite common for girls to grow quickly during puberty. Don’t worry you won’t keep stretching forever! Most girls reach their max height around the age of 14 or around 2 years after their menstrual cycle begins. Again every girl is different!
Healthy Hygiene Habits:
Pre-teens don’t always understand why they need to take good care of their bodies (take regular showers, wear deodorant, etc) and so they simply… don’t!
It is super important that we remind our teenagers WHY we must practice certain physical habits such as using shampoo when showering because it can decrease the likelihood of acne!
Here is a list of healthy habits and their WHY!
Suggestion: you can name the habit and have your teen guess the ‘why’!
Wear deodorant: During puberty, it is likely to sweat more and your sweat will begin to smell. Wearing deodorant will help with the smell and also help prevent sweat marks!
Shower regularly: Our bodies will sweat more than usual during puberty. Showering often washes away the residue sweat and dirt. Make sure to clean ALL crevices - especially your private parts (side note: don’t use soap down there as it may be sensitive. If you are a guy, be sure to ask your dad how to clean your penis properly and if you are a girl, ask your mom the best way to clean your vagina).
Use soap: Soap and shampoo can help decrease the oil on your skin and therefore decrease the chances of acne. Also it rids your body of unwanted bacteria that causes extra body odor.
Wash your face at night: After a long day, the pores on your face hold a lot of dirt and bacteria. Before you lay your head on the pillow, it is a great habit to wash your face so that you feel refreshed and clean and so you don’t spread the dirty on your pillow and sleep on it. This will also help eliminate pimples coming and keep your face bright!
Cut your fingernails and toenails: Bacteria can live under your nails. When you don’t take care of them they can begin to grow gross bacteria (yuck!) that will start to smell. Plus, people are a little freaked out when they see long dirty nails.
Get good sleep: Your body is working extra hard during puberty and needs all the energy you can get. You don’t want to feel tired all day!
What other hygiene habits should practice?
INTERNAL SELF CARE-
While we should practice physical habits to take care of our bodies, we should also practice some mental self care. As we have been discussing and learning, puberty brings about changes and developments that we may or not be comfortable with. It is very easy to compare ourselves with those around us and wonder if we are normal or worry that we may be made fun of. When we start to worry about they way we look or the changes that are happening, it can cause unnecessary stress on our minds and hearts. It is important that we remember how special we are - just as we are! This stage in your life is an opportune time to dive into your talents and interests. Focusing on bettering your creative skills, getting outdoors, and spending time with positive people can really help you enjoy your years of puberty. While it might feel like you will forever be stuck in pre-teen and teen years, trust that it will go faster than you think! No need wasting this time wishing you looked different or grew differently. This is such an exciting time in your life so make the best of it! Embrace the change!
Take a moment to have your teen write down their reaction to the lesson experience so far.
Creative Writing Prompts:
What do you think you will look and feel like as you go through puberty?
If you could share one thing with your parent about your experience with puberty so far what would it be?
Draw or list the changes that have happened or will be happening to your body during puberty.
Create a cartoon explaining the metamorphosis of puberty.
Discuss your teen’s journal writing they’re open to sharing about or use the following questions as a guide, incorporating your own personal experiences:
What were you surprised about during this lesson? Was this a hard topic to discuss for you? Why do you think it was or wasn’t?
How do you feel about your personal puberty?
What are some good hygiene routines that you will practice?
What are you looking forward to as you grow into an adult?
What do you think makes you special/beautiful in God’s eyes?
Parent- share your experience as you went through puberty. What were some changes you were surprised by? What did you look/feel like before puberty and after?
What other questions do you have?
We have learned and discussed many sensitive topics in today’s lesson but hopefully you feel better prepared and comfortable with puberty. Remember that this doesn’t have to be a one-time conversation, instead it should be the start of open dialogue between parent and child. Your body knows what it is doing so enjoy the journey to adulthood and cherish these precious years as your body transforms! Remember you are beautiful inside and out. Don't compare yourself to others- God loves you and I love you just the way you are.
Dear God, we thank you for creating such fascinating human beings and for allowing us to grow through puberty as we mature into men and women. As our teen goes through puberty, we pray they can feel just how valuable and precious they are to you and to their parents. We pray that they can truly understand that they are unique and special and that everyone goes through puberty differently. We pray they can embrace the changes that are happening to their body and trust that they are beautiful in your eyes. Heavenly Parent, we know these topics are not the easiest to discuss but we pray that our teen can feel comfortable to confide in their parents and come to ask questions or express their worries. We want to make a good team as we raise these incredible young men and women!
Use these activities together with your child over the next month to create ongoing conversations on God's special design for male and female. Click on the blue links!
The Care and Keeping of You- by American Girl
The Girl’s Body Book- Kelli Dunham
Growing Up for Girls- Felicity Brooks/ Usborne
The Period Book- Karen and Jennifer Gravelle
Helloflo: The Guide, Period -Naama Bloom
The Boy’s Body Book- Kelli Dunham
REVIEW HOOPS: Go play a game of basketball with your teen. Each time they make the basket, they ask a question about puberty or state one thing they learned through this lesson.
SHOPPING: Go shopping together! Making sure that a pre-teen feels confident and put together in their clothes is important. This doesn’t mean that clothes should make you happy but sometimes our teens need new wardrobe pieces during these crazy growth spurts. Taking your daughter to get a new bra or new jeans or taking your son to get new shoes because his old ones are way too small but he still tries to squeeze into them can be a fun and bonding experience and a chance to talk about all the ways our bodies are changing and growing.
PUBERTY SURVIVAL KIT: Put together a puberty survival kit to give to your preteen or teen. Make a bag and put in things like: deodorant, shaving cream, razor, face soap, sanitary products for girls, chocolate, candy, nail clippers a clothing store gift card for their growing independence, inspirational quotes and some personalized coupon.(sleep in card, free pass for emotional out burst, shopping spree, skip a chore...etc)