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Everyone has a different opinion on when girls turn into young women and then evolve into adults. Especially in western society, the moment when children shift from girlhood to womanhood can be highly opinionated as there isn’t a specific ritual or process that everyone agrees on. Is it when they have their first period? Is it when they get their driver’s license or move out of home? One thing that remains as consistent as gravity, however, is puberty and the changes that come with it.

What Exactly is Puberty? 

Puberty is commonly defined by the phase when a child’s body starts to change into a more adult form. For girls, this happens when the ovaries get bigger, and their body starts to produce two hormones; oestrogen and progesterone.

Oestrogen is produced by the endocrine system and triggers sexual and reproductive developments. It also makes girls grow taller and changes how fat is stored on their body, making their waist and hips more obvious.

After puberty, oestrogen and progesterone shift gear and control the menstrual cycle. These hormonal adjustments can also cause mood and emotional changes, along with all the other wonderful brain changes that occur during the teenage years.

The Signs of Puberty in Girls

  • Breasts start growing
  • Period starts
  • Pubic and underarm hair starts to grow and is often complemented with more leg hair, some girls also start to get upper lip hair
  • Body temperatures change and girls may sweat more
  • Acne may appear
  • Growth spurts can occur until girls reach their adult height
  • Weight gain can occur as the body shape changes

How Parents Can Support Their Teen Girls

As changes start to happen, young women commonly appreciate privacy more. It is helpful if parents support their teens by giving them bodily autonomy and respecting their requests for privacy. By doing so, parents encourage independent decision-making and help their teen feel comfortable with their changing body. While ongoing parenting and maintaining boundaries are still vital, puberty is a great time to support young people’s personal decisions. Even if a teen’s thoughts and opinions differ from your own experiences, supporting their decisions helps them navigate life in a way they feel is right for them.

Learn more from Row Murray.


  • Row Murray

    Row Murray is a native of Melbourne, Australia and is a copywriter and digital creative with over 20 years’ experience. She is a writer and researcher who has worked with subject matter experts, including a GP and Pharmacist, peak bodies, Federal and State Government departments, and undertaken interviews and focus groups, to develop For Foxes’ Sake. Professionally, Row has worked at some of Australia’s best PR and ad agencies like GREY, Weber Shandwick, Paper Stone Scissors. The Creative Works and in digital marketing at some of Australia’s biggest financial services and retail brands (someone get the girl a Slurpee!). She’s a Swinburne marketing graduate, has undertaken post-graduate studies in UX Design, finance and economics and held the Presidency of the Melbourne Junior Chamber of Commerce in 2002. Row sits on the board of Vic ICT for Women, working to encourage young women to create careers in the IT and digital spaces. Row is a music geek, a passionate writer and loves zipping about on her motorbike. For Foxes’ Sake is her first book.