If you’d like the Barbie dolls to be the only young things in the house sporting boobs any time soon, I guess it’s time to work on being supportive and happy and economically good, because researchers say your parental investment during the preschool years will make a difference. According to a new study, girls who grow up in households with marital conflict, depressed dads, and less supportive parenting hit puberty earlier than peers in stable, supportive homes. The idea is that early childhood experiences can influence sexual maturation rates in girls, and early puberty has been linked with mood disorders, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and reproductive system cancers. It has also been tied to earlier instances of eye rolling and the phrase, “Oh my gawd, you are ruining my life!”
There’s other factors involved in the age of onset of the hormonal roller coaster. “Children whose mothers had started puberty later (a genetic factor),
whose families were better off when the children were in preschool,
whose mothers gave them more support when they were in preschool and
who had lower Body Mass Index when they were in third grade developed
secondary sexual characteristics later than their peers.” Crap, I don’t even remember when I hit puberty. Yesterday, I think? I should mention that some of the results of this study come from mother-daughter reports of development, never my favorite method, but oh well. And to think, all this time I’ve been worried about getting organic milk when I should have been trying to be more loving and well-off. It figures.