I remember the first time a stranger openly gawked at my bare legs. It was the summer before I turned 11; I was at a small convenience store near our home. The man stood behind my mother and me at the checkout line, staring me up and down. He looked the same age as my father.
When Is Puberty too Early?
For girls who mature early, psychological problems last into adulthood -- ScienceDaily
For the past 50 years, researchers have known that girls who get their periods earlier than their peers are more psychologically vulnerable as teenagers. They have more frequent and severe mental health problems, from depression to anxiety, eating disorders, delinquency, substance abuse and failing or dropping out of school. But next to nothing was known about how long those problems last. Tracking nearly 8, girls from adolescence through their late 20s -- far longer than other studies have -- a Cornell University researcher says girls who get their periods earlier than peers are likely to experience depression and antisocial behavior well into adulthood.
Early Puberty in Girls
The start of puberty varies from one child to the next — even for children in the same family. Causes of early puberty include obesity and family genetics. Rarely, early puberty is caused by hormonal imbalances. But for the majority of children, especially girls, no cause is found. Early puberty is much more common in girls than in boys.
Parents may wonder whether their child is moving into puberty too early. Robert Benjamin, MD , a Duke pediatric endocrinologist, says most of these are beyond your control. Girls are more likely to experience early puberty than boys, for example, and African-American and Hispanic children often mature earlier than white children.