April 14, 2020
This is definitely one of those topics that Dr. Plastic Picker is a much better pediatrician now than I was at the beginning of my career. It helps that I myself have gone through puberty, completed a clinical year of pediatric endocrinology, and am semi-successfully guiding my own two children through this process.
This can be both a stressful and wonderful time in life. There is a sense of loss for the littleness of your children. I had this profound sense of loss because I worked so much when they were little. I miss the warmth of those young bodies snuggling up to me at night. The promise of that time would often get me through the long overnight calls or urgent care shifts. Our daughter had a profound sense of loss as well. When her body began changing she said that she did not want to grow up. Our son was very nonchalant about the whole thing, which is true to his easy going personality.
But as I tell my children and my patients, puberty is a wonderful thing because it means the body is working! It means that your hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is functioning as it should and you’ve reached this milestone. If you didn’t go through puberty by a certain time, it would be a medical problem. I would have to start getting blood work, radiographs and maybe MRI your brain. As a pediatrician, I am aware of the dangers of being little as well. You are more susceptible to diseases which is why there are more vaccines when you are young. Little children can’t physically protect themselves as well. So I look at puberty, as a wonderful time that children are gaining bodily strength. They are developing themselves to be adult people. Because in the end the purpose of raising children and protected them while they are young is to get adults, and then they can protect and fend for themselves. And now my own teenagers can get things I need from the upper shelves that I can’t reach! Score!