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The Effects of Early Physical Development in Girls

Building Blocks

Vibrancy is a state of mental health that denotes acceptance of self and is not dependent on another person's acceptance.

Girls who mature early, developing breasts before the average age of 12½, have more problems than other adolescents. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, professor of child development at Columbia University, found that girls who mature prematurely experience three times greater risk of depression, eating disorders, and behavioral problems during adolescence. The problems do not only arise from all of the factors we have already discussed but also from the tendency of the young adolescents with mature bodies to hang out with older girls.

The Importance of Being on the Lookout

Dr. Brooks-Gunn says that parents must be vigilant in supervising and monitoring their adolescent daughters in order to avoid future problems. Take a look at the following table to see what lies at the end of the adolescent road for further verification that your attention and presence are acutely needed.

Emerging Voice and Persona

Emerging with a Healthy Voice and Persona Emerging with an Unhealthy Voice and Persona

Increased empathy Distrust adults
Good balance between caring for others and caring for self Elusive
Ability to interact successfully Co-dependent personality
Development of core self Loss of self in relationships
Strong but pliable identity A victim mentality
Abundance of family Builds lop-sided relationships
Extended relationality Hold onto family feuds
Greater intuition into self and others Substance abuse or eating disorders
Ability to build authentic relationships Unhappy
Vibrancy Lethargic, sullen

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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