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Prepuberty: Physical and Mental Changes in Children

  • Post category:Upbringing
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Puberty does not occur all at once. It gradually appears at the end of physiological childhood, between 10 and 12 years of age in girls, and between 11 and 13 years of age in boys. This period of a child’s development is called prepubertal. In those years, sex hormones became more active and as a result, the body gradually underwent changes that would be fully manifested during puberty.

Physical Changes

During prepuberty, many children gain weight, which interferes with their physical activity and also becomes the subject of ridicule among their peers. Obesity is a source of emotional distress in children in the prepubertal period. But this phenomenon is transient in nature, so children should be distracted from their physical appearance and subtly explained that this is a transitional period to avoid possible psychological distress.

Erections are usually not yet accompanied by sexual desires or fantasies. Parents should not pay much attention to this phenomenon.

Upon ending of prepuberty period, the child begins to grow rapidly. At about 14 years of age, boys begin to grow rapidly. Along with the general growth of the body, muscle mass also increases.

The accelerated growth of the child’s body causes a certain imbalance in its functions. Work of the heart, lungs, digestive organs, regulation of body temperature, and other vital functions are more susceptible to change than in previous years or during adulthood.

Mental Changes

Children become stubborn, disobedient, and defiant of their parents. In addition, there is increased curiosity about everything that happens around them, especially they take interested in adult activities.

In children of this age, psychomotor activity is particularly characteristic. They are constantly on the move, jumping, shouting, running, talking a lot, making unusual movements and are prone to impulsive reactions.

Sexism towards peers of the opposite sex is also characteristic. Girls underestimate boys, ignore them and do not want to hang out with them. And the boys tease the girls in turn, make fun of them and even physically attack them.

It is also noticeable for boys in prepubertal age to use vulgar expressions, swear words, draw genitals, and collect erotic illustrations. Instead of being punished and reprimanded, they need a conversation in a calm, serious, and friendly manner to help them better understand themselves and find their way to more mature behavior.

Negligence in the attitude towards oneself, the child neglects the already acquired hygienic habits, involuntarily maintains personal hygiene and its clothes are untidy.

Children no longer see parents and teachers as perfect examples. They become critical, revealing their weaknesses, and as a result, often lose confidence.

Defiant behavior is typical for prepubertal children. In the family it manifests itself with weaker obedience to the parents, and in school it…


Understanding prepuberty in children is important as it helps parents and caregivers to support children during this transitional period. Being aware of the physical and mental changes that occur can help to ensure that children are given the support and guidance they need to navigate this period of their lives successfully.