Home events ITL Public School, Dwarka organizes Puberty Awareness Workshop with IAP W Delhi city branch

ITL Public School, Dwarka organizes Puberty Awareness Workshop with IAP W Delhi city branch

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Titled, ‘Understanding Changes: A Boy’s Guide to Growing up’, the workshop attended by boys of classes 7-9 proved a rare opportunity for these teens to pour out their fears and hear from expert doctors on their body and emotional changes

Puberty, despite being one of the most significant and fundamental facts of growing up, is seldom talked about in schools. Even the curriculum and textbooks approach this topic with a lot of caution and hesitation. The result, poor understanding of the physiological and psychological processes that overwhelm the young population with a lot of surprising changes and emotional distress as they leave childhood and enter the transitional period to adulthood.

In this backdrop, if your science teachers are substituted by practitioners for a couple of periods, who not only know science of puberty but also tell you clinical stories of boys or girls same as you, chances are,  the learning stays with you for life!

ITL Public School, Dwarka known for its proactive approach to learning and quality education on May 1 did exactly that and organized an hour-long interactive session of a team of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) West Delhi City Branch with boys of classes 7-9.

IAP team at the school for workshop

Dr Smita Ramachandran, a known Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinologist and Diabetologist and Dr Rajiv Sharma, a leading psychiatrist in West Delhi were the key note speakers whose talks drew enthusiastic response from the audience. The young boys were indeed prompted by their lively presentations to open up and clear their doubts and fact-check their half-baked knowledge acquired from all sources.

Dr Ramachandran said that change is permanent in life but changes in the puberty phase are rapid and perplexing and negotiating these requires confidence and sensitivity that can come only with proper understanding. Teens must understand the volcano of changes during this period is a normal biological process and there is a reason to it. “Importantly, you must know that these changes happen in everyone including girls, so you must appreciate each other,” she said. Saying that the onset of puberty which can last up to two years happens between ages 9-15 and it occurring between these years at any point of time is absolutely normal as the onset varies from individual to individual. “If there is a delay beyond this time, then one can see a doctor,’ she said. She explained the mechanism of hormonal triggers and how height and muscle growth is rapid during this period along with deepening of voice.

Testicular growth and pigmentation of the scrotum and growth of the penis are among the first signs of puberty in boys and boys typically experience their first ejaculation appropriately one year after the testicles begin to grow. Importantly, the first ejaculation doesn’t automatically signal an ability of procreate. On an average fertility is achieved one year after the first ejaculation. Spontaneous erection and nocturnal emission may occur, which decrease gradually.

Also, the male growth spurt occurs towards the end of the puberty. Testosterone stimulates the growth of the larynx and thickening and lengthening of vocal folds, which causes the voice to drop the pitch. Also, there is increased muscular growth.

Dr Ramachandran laid emphasis on personal hygiene during puberty like washing hands, bathing, brushing teeth for positive impact on self-esteem, confidence and body image. The body also produces more sweat during this period, so bathing is important to de-odor and keep it hygienic.

For supervising adults such as teachers and parents, it is important to remember that children who may be early or behind in attaining puberty milestones, when compared to their peers, are at much higher risk of emotional distress and low self-esteem.  Discussion is important and there is a need to identity children with unsafe or high-risk behaviors. The physiological and psychological changes must be recognized to deal with them.

Dr Ramachandran also talked about the issue of acne and said their occurrence is part of the process and most of them are self-limiting and disappear on their own. Hormones, diet, skincare and stress are contributory factors and teenagers must be well-informed on these. (Eating) sugars and stress make them worse. Doctor advised against pinching/puncture acnes and use of medicated soaps. “In case of more than usual or any problem, one should see a skin doctor,” she added.

She also advised boys to talk to family, parents, adult cousins or any adult they can trust to discuss as they have a fair idea of these changes as everyone has gone through them and can provide better explanations to their queries.

Dr Rajiv Sharma, psychiatrist while addressing the psychological changes told the boys it was perfectly okay to listen to your body. He said that at this stage peers and friends play a lot of role, both good and bad. One needs to develop empathy to understand the other point of view. Romantic thoughts happen in this period, so do an urge to explore newer things. It is therefore necessary to develop self-awareness, confidence and have realistic expectations from life. “Make friends, be socially intelligent and engaged and make friends with older people as well, who are your well-wishers with whom you can feel comfortable to share your issues and this can help you sail  through the turmoil at times,” he said. Mood swings are normal and anger, love and being argumentative are also part and parcel of this.

Dr Sharma wanted boys and girls not to display their weak points to escape being bullied. Having friends also helps.  Respecting and recognizing feelings of others is important in this learning. Understanding and respecting personal boundaries, healthy relationships, building social skills including empathy, communication skills to express feelings and thoughts effectively, conflict resolution and problem solving are some of the advises that he gave to the audience.

He also told them that should they say something wrong in anger or frustration, they need to move away from the situation and then after cooling down say sorry for their behaviors. It helps in growing up emotionally.

The workshop by ITL Public School actually sets a template for introducing adolescence learning to this age group in an effective manner.

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