Once you and your pediatric endocrinologist have settled on a treatment plan that works for you and your child, it’s time to prepare your kiddo to embark on their healing journey. Try these simple techniques to ease your child’s mind — and your own.
Provide a ‘why’
First, make sure your child knows why they’re receiving treatment: medication will temporarily stop puberty to decrease their rate of bone growth and pause other early maturation concerns… In kid speak, this may translate to ‘Medicine will help with the symptoms you’re having and keep you healthy.’
Use language they understand and ask if they have any questions or feelings they want to share.
Prepare them for pokes—
If your child will receive a shot (rather than a surgical implantation), it’s generally best to tell a two or three year old right before your appointment. Kids four and older should have a day or two of advance preparation: something like ‘When the nurse gives you that medicine we talked about, you might feel a little poke. It could hurt for a minute, but I’ll be there to hold your hand. And pretty soon, you’ll start to get better!’ You can reassure kids who have already experienced a series of vaccination shots that this time is different: it will just be one poke.
—Or an alternate treatment administration
If you and your pediatric endocrinologist have opted for a surgical implant, walk your child through what that process will entail in simple, non-scary terms.
Know what you’re in for
It’s important to know that your child’s puberty symptoms may continue to progress for a short time at the start of treatment. Symptoms may actually increase during the first 2-3 weeks as the medicine begins to work. Girls may experience mood changes, increased breast size, acne, and menstruation. Boys may experience testicular development, an increase in pubic hair, and acne. This is because it can take up to three weeks for the treatment to stop the waves of GnRH that are causing puberty. After that, symptoms should start to improve—and your child can go back to simply being a child.