Healthy living


'Girls and Puberty' and 'Boys and Puberty' booklets
Department of Health 'Girls & Puberty' and 'Boys & Puberty' booklets

What is puberty?

Puberty is the word used to describe all the changes that begin to happen when a child turns into an adult. This growth and development phase is also called adolescence.

The changes you go through are preparing your body for reproduction (having children). Your body changes and the way you look at the world will likely change as well.

Puberty is a gradual thing and everyone goes through it. Puberty happens to you even while you are getting your homework done, swimming at the beach, or going to the movies.

Whatever your sex and gender, you will experience the physical and emotional changes of adolescence.

Read about what happens to boys and what happens to girls during puberty.

With all these changes in your body, it is also important to look after yourself.

When can puberty start?

For most people, puberty will start between the ages of 9 and 13, but don’t worry if you haven’t noticed your body changing yet; it will change when it’s the right time for you – everyone is di­fferent.

During puberty, you might compare your body with your friends’ bodies. One friend may have a deeper voice. Another might have hair on his chest or under his arms. Everyone develops at different rates. But by the time everyone grows up, there won’t be as many differences between you.

Some young people might feel the changes happening to them to be a little weird, but the more you know about it, the easier it is to adjust to things.

Who can I talk to?

Sometimes when you’re in the midst of changes at puberty, it might feel as if there is no one to talk to.

Want to know something scary? Parents often understand more than you think they do! Remember, they went through puberty too!

If you don’t want to talk to your parents, you could try talking to a trusted relative or friend. Saying things out loud can be a good way of getting things clear in your mind.

You may also like to read about relationships, sex and other stuff.

Where to get help

Last reviewed: 07-12-2018
Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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