Worries about puberty

Lots of changes can happen during puberty, and it’s natural to have worries or questions about it. Get advice about what’s happening or where to go for help.

Feeling worried

During puberty, you might be worried about:

  • feeling different to people around you and worrying about what’s ‘normal’
  • how you look, spots or changes to your body
  • being bullied or sexually harassed
  • relationships or being sexually active
  • starting puberty before or after other people
  • how you’re feeling and your mental health.

Everyone can go through puberty in different ways, but sometimes you might feel like you’re the only one. You don’t have to cope alone though. We’ve got advice to help, and you can speak to us any time.

Coping during puberty

Your body will go through lots of changes during puberty, and it can also have an impact on how you’re feeling.

If you’re struggling with your emotions, the changes or you're feeling self-conscious, there are ways to make it easier.

  • Ask questions. It’s always okay to ask questions about puberty. Scared about who to ask? Try speaking to a Childline counsellor or on the message boards.
  • Do things that help you feel good. Try making a list of things you like about yourself or doing something kind for another person. We’ve got lots of ideas to help you boost your self-esteem.
  • Take care of yourself. Take time each day to try to eat healthily, exercise and get enough sleep. Taking time to look after yourself can help you to feel better and more able to cope.
  • Talk about what’s happening. You’re not alone, and talking about things with friends or on the message boards can show you that you’re not the only one with these feelings.
  • Get support with your mental health. It’s natural to have mood swings during puberty, but if your feelings are having an impact on your daily life, it’s important to get support. Talk to an adult you trust or to one of our counsellors at any time.

Worrying about how you look

Everyone's different, and during puberty our bodies will all develop in their own ways. Sometimes this can leave you worried about how you compare to other people or if you’re good enough. But everybody deserves to feel confident and comfortable with how they look.

Being bullied

Being bullied is never okay. That includes people trying to make you feel bad for how you look, whether you’ve started bullying or about your body.

You’ve got the right to be kept safe from bullying at school or anywhere else. If you’re being bullied, it can help to:

  • keep a log of what’s been happening, including copies or any messages, so you can show other people
  • tell someone you trust, like a parent, carer or teacher
  • avoid responding to bullies, but keep doing things that make you happy
  • speak to a Childline counsellor for support.

Get more information about how to deal with bullying and cyberbullying.

Sexual harassment

It’s never okay for someone to do or say sexual things to you when you don’t want them to. It can be called sexual harassment or abuse; it’s not your fault and you’ve got the right for it to stop.

Sexual harassment can include:

  • sexual advances or touching you without your consent
  • objectification of you by talking about your body or asking you intimate questions
  • sexual comments both in person and online, as well as sexual jokes
  • showing or sending you sexually explicit pictures or videos
  • talking to you about sex and porn.

Anyone can be sexually harassed. If you’re not sure if it’s happening to you or you want support, you can speak to us any time.

Watch: How to cope after bullying

Sex and masturbation

Masturbation is when you touch your body and your genitals because it feels good or pleasurable. People of any gender can masturbate and it's completely natural.

Whether you masturbate is your choice. People usually masturbate when they’re on their own, but sometimes they’ll do it with their partner. It’s not okay to masturbate in public.

If you’re worried about masturbation, it can help to remember that:

  • whether you do it is your choice
  • some people masturbate lots, and some don’t want to at all
  • there’s no right or wrong amount to masturbate
  • there’s no ‘right’ way to masturbate
  • it can take time to work out what feels good for you, but that’s okay
  • people masturbate at different ages
  • there’s no set age that people start to masturbate.

If you want to know more, check out the information on our Facts about puberty page.