Since the 1970’s, the age of puberty has gotten younger. While the changes are gradual, they add up. From 1970 to 2013, the onset of puberty has decreased in age by 0.24 years per decade and, 50 years later, kids as young as 6 years old are starting to develop into adults.
A study published in the journal Child Development found that “stressful family relationships” impacted early maturation in girls. Other research has shown that child abuse may also play a role. Some data has even shown that stress during pregnancy may lead girls to develop at a younger age.
All of this has left researchers wondering what will happen in the future. It’s already a stressful time for kids with the pandemic, school violence and an increasingly polarized society. Will all this stress force our kids to grow up even younger?