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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

How Early Puberty Affects Children’s Mental Health

A weekly update of content from childmind.org featuring parenting advice, in-depth articles, and the latest thinking on children’s mental health and learning disorders.

December 13, 2022

The big changes that come with puberty can be stressful for teenagers. But they can be especially difficult for kids who start puberty early — around 8 or 9. These children can feel embarrassed and isolated as their bodies mature faster than their peers’. They may become overwhelmed by their feelings and experience mood swings. Girls can be susceptible to developing anxiety or depression. Boys may become more aggressive or experience a sex drive they’re not ready for. Transgender or nonbinary children may experience extreme distress as their bodies change into something that doesn’t align with how they identify. But there are ways that parents can support their children and help them manage early puberty.

This week on childmind.org we take a closer look at how early puberty affects children’s mental health, and how parents can help them through it. We have tips for parents on how to face the challenges that come along with raising tweens, as well as how to identify the signs of mood disorders in girls and get them the help they need. We also provide a guide to gender dysphoria, which transgender and nonbinary children may experience during puberty.

Related Resources

How Early Puberty Affects Children’s Mental Health

Tips for supporting kids through a challenging transition.


Parenting Tweens: What You Should Know

Explaining the challenges of early adolescence.


Teens and Anger

How parents can model healthy coping skills.


Mood Disorders and Teenage Girls

Why they are more vulnerable than boys, and what signs and symptoms you should look for.


Quick Guide to Gender Dysphoria

Signs that a child is experiencing distress about their assigned gender.