Talking with children aged 9-13

Most children begin to show signs of puberty at this age. They become conscious of the differences between their bodies and those of their friends. They may become anxious about what is normal.

At this age they’re likely to want more information about the changes their body will be going through.

What 9–13 year olds need to know about

  • Puberty changes and body parts.
  • Sex and reproduction.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Contraception and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Pregnancy choices, including abortion.
  • Periods, wet dreams, masturbation.
  • Love and relationships.

Questions 9–13 year olds might ask

What’s oral sex?

You could say This means using your mouth or tongue to suck or lick the sexual parts of a man or woman’s body to make them both feel good and to give them pleasure. Sometimes adults do this, when they both want to.

My friend was talking about wanking. What does wanking mean?

You could say Wanking means rubbing or touching the sexual parts of your body in a way that feels good. It's also called masturbation and it's something that both boys and girls can do if they want.

My friend says boys will only like me if I have big boobs. What will I do if they’re small? (Alternatively boys might ask about penis size)

You could say Girls grow breasts when they go through puberty – some grow bigger than others. It’s quite normal, like different sized hands and feet.

It’s not true that boys will only like you if you have big breasts. You can feel good about yourself whatever your shape. Your body will change a lot during puberty. How you look is only part of what makes you attractive to boys and other people. Your personality and your interests make you who you are and that’s what boys will like you for.