Puberty and growing up
It’s happened – your child’s a teenager! Just like all young people, teenagers with Down’s syndrome will experience the physical, hormonal and emotional changes that come with growing up. Young people with Down’s syndrome will go through puberty at a similar age to other children. It’s very important to help your child understand these changes, so make time to help them understand what is happening with their body and their feelings. Call our helpline for information about resources to help you talk to your child about puberty on 0333 1212 300.
As well as changes in emotions and their body, most young people with Down’s syndrome will also begin to become interested in love and relationships. This may feel a bit daunting, but it is a normal and a natural part of growing up. Many young people with Down’s syndrome want to start a relationship, but they may need some extra support. They will need to learn what relationships mean and how they can have a happy, safe relationship. You can find more information in our Sexual Health booklet.
Your son or daughter may also begin to have more of a desire for independence and want to ‘push the boundaries’. This is normal – but it doesn’t mean you need to put up with bad behaviour. Try to give them more independence, allowing them to make their own choices as much as you can, but let them know what the rules are and the consequences of breaking them. You can find out more on our Making Choices page.
Teaching Children with Down Syndrome About Their Bodies, Boundaries and Sexuality: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Terri Couwenhoven.