Some parents may feel that their children are the shortest among their peers. Kids themselves may feel odd because some girls and boy who are somewhat shorter than their friends may feel out of touch with their friends.
Usually, shorter kids mature slowly compared to their peers. Or it could be that the kids inherited their physical appearance from their parent. Sometimes, however, short stature could be an indication that your child is suffering from a medical condition that is causing him to grow a little slowly.
What is normal and what is not
Teens and kids reach puberty at relatively different ages. For instance, girls usually hit puberty at the age of 7 to 13 years. For boys, puberty comes in a little later, at the age of 9 to 15 years.
Girls have unique experiences. They develop a more rounded figure and develop breasts. Generally, 2 years after breasts show up, girls receive their first periods. Boys, on the other hand, experience an enlarged testicle, penis, while both girls and boys begin to grow both pubic, and armpit hair. Boys become a little muscular, begin to show facial hair and their voice deepens.
Some kids develop much earlier than others do, while others mature a little later than others in the same age group.
Please note that your child may not develop as fast as his friends for a number of reasons. If your child is a little short, it could be a case of familial or genetic short stature and not a lack of growth hormone for height. That means your child inherited his height from you.
If your doctor establishes that your child doesn’t have any growth problems, then your child will eventually reach a normal height. However, you should expect your child to appear a little shorter than standard height for his age.
Children who show constitutional developmental delays tend to grow at a normal pace when still young, but that changes once they reach puberty and they mature a little slower than their peers. Children who show constitutional development are usually referred to as late bloomers.
When a doctor suspects a case of constitutional development, he might choose to have your child x-rayed in order to compare his bone development to that of kids of his age. Children with this kind of growth often have bones that are a little younger than normal.
In the event that a deficiency causes your child’s constitutional growth in growth hormone for height, the doctor will recommend a few measures to help your child grow properly. In some cases, however, poor growth may not be due to insufficient growth hormone for height, but because your child is not getting enough calories and proteins in his diet.
Medical issue such as heart, kidney, intestinal or lung disease can also cause slow growth. In addition, sickle cell anemia has been found to cause children to develop poorly. However, with some treatment, a doctor is able to help your child achieve normal development.
Causes of delayed Growth
A common cause of poor growth in children is a compromised pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, a small organ at the base of your brain, is responsible for secretion of growth hormone. If this organ doesn’t do its job properly, a child’s growth will slow or stop altogether.
This problem can arise at any given age, and a common indication in teens and kids is poor development at a rate of 2 inches per year. A child with poor growth usually has a normal body that is a little smaller.
Slow growth may be due to a damaged or underdeveloped pituitary gland, which may occur during or right after birth. Sometime poor growth could be due to a tumour lodged on the pituitary gland causing it not to work properly.
What the doctor will do
Doctors often chart a child’s growth right from birth to ensure your child is showing a growth curve in terms of height and weight. In case your child’s curve flattens, the doctor will examine your child for signs of developmental issues.
The doctor also examines your family’s growth curve because children with inherited short stature will show a similar growth pattern to that of their parents. In fact, later bloomers often have relations who also developed slowly.
In some case, the doctor will recommend treatment for a child whose body doesn’t produce enough growth hormone for height. If your child’s growth is slowed because his body doesn’t generate enough growth hormone, the doctor will treat this condition by providing growth therapy.
Poor development makes life a little difficult for a child because it affects how he perceives himself. Such a child will have low self-esteem. The best way to help such a child is to arrange a session with a mental health expert to help him process all the feelings or concerns he may have about his growth. Your doctor may also be able to help by providing information on how to improve his growth.