In situations where girls are showing signs of puberty as early as age 6, should parents fight it with drug treatments, or figure out ways for their child to accept what is happening?
‘I would have a long conversation with her family, show them all the data,’ Greenspan continues. Once she has gone through what she calls ‘the process of normalizing’ — a process intended to replace anxiety with statistics — she has rarely had a family continue to insist on puberty-arresting drugs. Indeed, most parents learn to cope with the changes and help their daughters adjust too. One mother described for me buying a drawer full of football shirts, at her third-grade daughter’s request, to hide her maturing body. Another reminded her daughter that it’s O.K. to act her age. ‘It’s like when you have a really big toddler and people expect the kid to talk in full sentences. People look at my daughter and say, “Look at those cheekbones!” We have to remind her: “You may look 12, but you’re 9. It’s O.K. to lose your cool and stomp your feet.”’