Puberty Problems and Myths

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1 WORKSHEET ONE Problems and Myths FIRST ACTIVITY Sort the group into smaller groups of 3-4 students and hand each group a copy of a letter from Worksheet 2 or 3, which will need to be printed off and cut up prior to the session, and a sheet of flipchart paper. Explain that they must place themselves in the position of an Agony Aunt/Uncle from a Teen magazine and that their letter comes from a teen with a problem. What would their reply or advice be? They should write a short reply in the style found on a problem page in a magazine. When they have finished the first problem, get each group to pass the problem letter to the group on their right. Repeat this one more time giving each group a chance to answer two of the letters. Bring the group back together to discuss their answers and compare the answers for each letter. Ask the group if anybody would have answered differently and how they feel about the advice given?

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3 WORKSHEET TWO Problems and Myths Problem page questions from boys... My friends say that I smell. I do sweat a bit when I m playing football, but nobody ever used to complain about me smelling and to be honest I don t really notice it. Do they know something I don t or could it just be a wind up? What should I do? Male, aged 13 years Is there a cure for spots? My face is covered in them, so is my back. I never used to get spots but the problem does seem to be getting worse. When I am talking to people they stare at my spots and girls, well they stay well away, probably in case one of my spots bursts. To tell the truth I am getting really depressed about it, what can I do? Male 15 years I m a boy and I think I am growing breasts!!! My nipples are getting really sensitive and my chest is definitely growing. I m steering well clear of the showers, because it won t be long before my friends notice. What s happening to me? Am I a freak? Male age 13 ½ years My hands and feet keep growing bigger and bigger! I look like a badly drawn cartoon character, the rest of me is not growing much at all and I feel ridiculous, it s like they belong on a different body, can this be normal? My shoe size is already the same as my dad s, how much should I be worried? Please help. Male 13 years I can t stop thinking about sex, whatever I am supposed to be doing, my thoughts keep drifting back to sex. Even when I am asleep I dream of sex, and get an erection all the time, which is really embarrassing! I never used to be like this, am I turning into some kind of sex maniac? Male 15 years I woke up this morning and I know I had been having a sexy dream, but I must have come in my sleep and now there is a stain on my sheets and underwear which I slept in. I am worried that my parents will think I have wet the bed. What can I do to stop this sort of dream? Male 14 years

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5 WORKSHEET THREE Problems and Myths Problem page questions from girls... I m nearly 14 years old and have just started my periods. The thing is I live with my dad and I don t want to talk to him about it, but can t afford to buy sanitary towels. I got really embarrassed when I got blood on the bed sheet and I even got up in the middle of the night to try and wash it. Plus I think I will need a bra soon, I just don t know what to do! Female 13 ½ years I am 15 years old and all my friends seem to be fully developed with their boobs, but I am still wearing a training bra! When will my breasts ever start growing properly? Female 15 years I ve had it with my parents, they just don t understand, in fact if I had anywhere to go I would leave home right now! I m fed up with school, bored with my friends and I m so ugly I ve had to turn the mirror around in my bedroom. All mum and dad can say is that everything will be all right when I am grown up a bit. We argue almost every day, and I really can t take anymore. What should I do? Female 14 years. I have been having dreams lately and then when I wake up there is a stain/discharge in my underwear, is this normal? I have also noticed it sometimes happens during the day as well, please help, I am worried! Male 14 years I m a 12 year old girl in Year 8, but i m already am taller than most of the boys in Year 10! My parents are average height so I don t understand why I m so tall, when I m not even a teenager yet. Will I ever stop growing because people already think I am older than I really am and I am finding it hard to make friends my own age. Please help. Female 12 ½ years I would rather not say who I am but I am 14 years old and really fancy my best friend. I think that they look great and I have dreamed about them since. Does this mean I am gay? Please help me because I don t want to tell them how I feel in case I lose a very good friend. Young Person 14 ½ years

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7 Teacher notes/guidelines: TAs with the other puberty workshops, open honest answers work well, very often many of the common surface and need to be addressed. It is possible to adapt the workshop so students submit questions of their own, this is best done in advance so they can be typed up and if need be re-worded slightly. This way nobody will recognise somebody s handwriting or who the question is from. Assessment: This could take the form of a Q&A or a quick review of the topics covered. Assessment can also be done via homework/project assignments around puberty. Method of and closing the session: The students will be aware that puberty happens to everybody but by simply reassuring them that it happens to different people at different times and that this is normal will comfort them. Remind them that during puberty, you are the changing in body size and also emotionally and that often talking with a close friend or a parent helps if you are concerned. Useful Hints The topic of this workshop is it one which some students will find hard to discuss. It is a workshop where everybody may not fully interact. However, everybody does tend to listen and absorb what is being said. This is a topic where many parents find it hard to speak to their children about. So, often the students will take the opportunity to ask the questions they can t or won t ask their parents/carers. It really is best if run as a relaxed interactive session with the students answering the questions themselves and the staff member only correcting small bits of information as necessary as this in itself promotes communication amongst the students about sensitive and emotional issues. Notes: There is often a big difference in the level of understanding concerning puberty, in year 7. For this reason it may be best if questions are selected to meet the level of understanding within each group.

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