Calling all working moms with daughters - new research is showing that young girls are increasingly hitting puberty at younger ages.
“Working moms, here’s another side effect of your selfish, career-focused ways: your daughters will go through puberty much earlier than their well-raised peers,” writes Madeline Holler on Babble.
Hhmm, not sure if Ms. Holler meant that comment sarcastically or not, but some moms have no choice but to work and work hard to keep their family afloat. So don’t go blaming yourself for your daughter’s inevitable life change just yet, because research is showing a different related link to early childhood puberty.
Although a study last month in Pediatrics showed at least one out of ten white 7-year-olds are developing breasts; for black girls, it’s more than one out of five, working moms are not to blame. According to Jay Belsky, PhD, director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Social Issues at Birkbeck University of London and lead author who stirred up a bit of controversy with his latest research on day care, believes his puberty findings makes sense in terms of evolutionary logic: An uncertain, risky home environment would prime the female body to hurry up and make babies before something dire happens in order to keep the species going.
“If the child’s experiences at home with the mother are secure,” he says, “there’s no relationship between day care and insecurity.”
Clinical psychologist Kori Levos Skidmore, PhD adds:
“Attachment indicates the quality of time spent between parent and child, not the quantity.” A mother who is unable to be sensitive and consistent in responding to her baby’s cues, she adds, may worsen an insecure attachment by spending more time with the child. “In my clinical and personal experience,” Skidmore says, “many non-working moms with the resources to hire full-time nannies, are more distracted and fragmented than working mothers, who have stable schedules of parenting time.”
And let’s not forget about the dads. Numerous studies show a link between an absent father and daughters who mature faster – and that study also includes stepfathers.
“It’s consistent with other findings showing that a variety of stressors in the family, including parent-child conflict or lack of warm, sensitive care, is predictive of early pubertal development in girls,” says, Belsky.
Key factors that play a part in a girl’s puberty, according to Belsky, are:
- environmental toxins
- higher weight and body fat
“I would not conclude that insecure attachment is the most important determinant of earlier maturing in females,” says Belsky. “But I would certainly regard family forces as influential.”
Have you or your daughter experienced going through puberty early? What do you think of these studies?