‘Puberty Professor’ publishes book for parents

Assistant professor Lori Reichel published a book to help parents answer common puberty questions.

UWL Assistant Professor provides answers for over 500 puberty-related questions

Why are my armpits beginning to smell a lot? Why do girls have breasts? At what age should you start shaving? These are three questions many parents are more than likely to hear from their kids as they enter puberty.

“There’s no right age to start talking to your kids about puberty,” says UWL Assistant Professor of Health Education and Health Promotion Lori Reichel. “But I do believe conversations needs to start before children start going through changes.”

BookReichel, who is okay being called the ‘Puberty Professor,’ hopes to help parents feel comfortable answering these and tougher questions with her new book: Prepping Parents for Puberty Talks: A Compilation of Over 500 Questions Children Ask with Child-Friendly Answers.

“There are a lot of resources out there for kids, but there isn’t really anything for parents focused on puberty without having the word ‘sex’ in the title,” says Reichel. “And, that three-letter word can be a scary one for the adults to talk about.”

Reichel spent six years writing and editing the book before it hit the printer this August. And she is already hearing how much of a resource her book has been to parents. “People who have read the book tell me ‘this is exactly how kids ask questions, and the answers in the book are simple and age appropriate.’”

Reichel hopes to see her book used by parents and educators alike. The book is available online in both paper and e-book format. And she can be followed on Twitter: @PubertyProf.

Tough Questions

Why do girls’ hips widen?

Girls’ hips widen to create a woman’s body, so as a girl begins to grow taller, her body becomes proportionately wider. And, if she becomes pregnant, a woman’s wider hips allow more space to carry the baby inside her uterus.

Why do a boy’s testicles hang outside his body?

Because sperm need a slightly cooler temperature than a boys’ internal temperature, the testicles hang outside his body allowing them to be a littler cooler.

Because sperm need a slightly cooler temperature than a boy’s internal temperature, the testicles hang outside his body allowing them to be a little cooler.

Which are better to use: menstrual pads or tampons?

Deciding to use a pad or tampon depends upon the girl, yet the majority of girls use pads when first getting their periods. When they are older, some use tampons or a combination of products.

A kid in my school is a boy but likes to dress like a girl. Is that okay?

Many schools support children dressing in a manner that expresses their gender. Some boys prefer to dress in what is considered more feminine clothing, and some girls prefer to dress in what is considered more masculine clothing.

Do cats and dogs go through puberty?

Cats and dogs go through their own types of growth cycles to become adult cats and dogs. If you think about it, when comparing the size of a kitten to a fully-grown cat, the cat is noticeably larger. Yet these pets do not have the same challenges of puberty. For example, our pets do not experience pimples.