Monday, August 04, 2008

How To Keep Girls From Going Wild

[By Dave Parks -- Birmingham News]

Good parenting skills can keep early-maturing girls from going wild with their behavior, according to a study led by a UAB psychologist and released today.

The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, focused on problems often encountered when puberty arrives early for young girls. Experts have long known that early female maturation is linked to problems such as delinquency, violence, drug abuse and eating disorders.

Much of the trouble occurs when overly mature young girls are attracted to older boys, and vice versa. What experts haven't known for sure is whether anything can done about the problem.

The study concluded that it is important that parents, especially a mother, stay connected to a girl by knowing her friends and activities, being supportive and affectionate and having frank discussions about tough topics like sex and fighting. And parents must set limits.

The study was conducted with 330 fifth-grade girls and their parents from Birmingham, Los Angeles and Houston. One-fourth of these girls had matured early, meaning they started their periods a year before the average age of girls in the study, which was 11 years old.

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