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Dear Dish-It: Go Shorty?

Dear Dish-it,


I'm an 11-year-old girl and I'm still SHORT. I'm the shortest person between Grades 5 and 10 - and I'm in Grade 7. Why am I still short?


kgm


Dear kgm,


Great question! For most kids, height isn't something they can change, so what do you do if you don't like how tall or short you are? It might be girls feeling too tall and boys feeling too short. But some really tall boys might not like all that height and some shorter girls might get tired of all the jokes or of feeling like they're staying little while their friends are growing up.


Nice Genes

But the truth is that everyone is growing up, it's just that they're doing it at their own pace. In other words, your body grows on its own schedule. You can't wish yourself taller or stretch yourself. Or if you're already tall, you can't do anything to hurry up your friends up so you're not the tallest one.


For kids concerned about their height, there are two big questions:

    1. When will I grow taller (or stop growing)?
    2. How tall will I be?

    Your genes, which you inherited from your parents, largely determine how tall you will end up being and how fast you'll grow. Kids get taller more quickly during growth spurts, times when their bodies grow fast: as much as 4 inches or more in a year during puberty, for example!


    Height Happens

    Your biggest growth spurt happened when you were a baby. In that first year of life, you grew about 10 inches as you got bigger and stronger. Since then, you've probably seen your height increase a few inches a year. You might find out how much you've grown during your annual checkup at the doctor's office or when your pants get too short.


    After babyhood, the next big growth spurt for kids comes during puberty, a time of many changes when boys and girls grow bigger and start to look more like adult men and women. But no one can tell you exactly when you'll experience these changes. Puberty starts at different ages for different kids and it is a process that takes a couple of years. So the getting taller part will happen at different ages, depending on the kid, and whether he or she is a boy or a girl.


    In general, puberty starts:

    • between ages 8 and 13 in girls
    • between 9 and 14 in boys

    During puberty, boys and girls will have a growth spurt and grow to their adult height. So that means girls who start puberty the latest will still be getting taller in their mid-teens. For boys, the latest to reach puberty will still be getting taller into their late teens. A few of these boys may grow taller even into their early 20s!


    How Tall Will I Be?

    You might want to know how tall you will be. Will you be nose to nose with your mom or dad someday? There's no way to know for sure how tall a kid will be as an adult, but it's easy to get a clue: Look at your parents and the other adult members of your family. How tall are they? Chances are you'll be around the same height as your parents. If one parent is tall and one short, then you're likely to end up somewhere in between. But you could be taller or shorter, too. Boy, there are a lot of "buts" when it comes to height! That's because your height is determined by your genes: the complicated code of instructions that you inherit from your parents. Genes tell your body how to grow and determine lots of things, including how tall you are.


    But those genes don't make you an exact copy of your mom or dad. Kids only get some of the genes from each of their parents, and parents don't give the same bunch of their genes to each kid. If you have brothers and sisters, you know this is true. Brothers and sisters can look very different even though you have the same parents. Even identical twins can end up being different heights!


    Worried About Your Height?

    Here are some things some short or tall kids might have to deal with:

    • You’re too short to ride the rides you want to ride at an amusement park: This one is upsetting. You're all ready to board the super-fast roller coaster and the ride operator says you're too small. Sometimes, you will be allowed to ride with an adult, so try to have one handy.
    • You still have to use a booster seat in the car: Though you haven't used a car seat for a long time, older kids are supposed to use a booster seat until they are 4-feet-9-inches tall. The seats are meant to position the seat belt properly in case of a crash. If your friends don't have to use one and you do, you might feel funny about it. On the plus side, sitting higher makes it easier to see and might help if you get carsick and need to keep looking out the window.
    • You’re a girl who's taller than the boys: This can make a girl feel awkward, especially when it comes time to be paired up, like at a school dance. Eventually, this evens out, but it takes a little while because many girls have their growth spurts before the boys do.
    • Someone teases you about being too tall or too short: This kind of teasing is the worst. You can't change your height, so what are you supposed to do? As with most teasing, try not to let it bother you. Tell a teacher, parent, or another adult if it's bothering you and the person won't stop.

    What You Can Do Right Now

    If you are still worried about your height, talk to your parents and your doctor. Most kids don't have a growth problem that needs help from a doctor, but it's always OK to ask if you're concerned.


    So for most kids, it seems like there's not much to do but wait to see how it all turns out. But you can do something right now: Eat healthy and take care of yourself. If you get the nutrition, sleep, and exercise you need, you're likely to reach your maximum potential height. In other words, you'll grow as tall as you were meant to grow. And even though you may hear people say it, taking extra vitamins or supplements that you can buy in a store won't help you get taller. Just stick to a healthy diet if you want to be the tallest you can be!


    Kids who wish they weren't so tall should still eat healthy and take care of themselves, of course. Eating less won't make you end up any shorter unless you really starved yourself and made yourself sick. As they get older, most kids learn to feel comfortable with their height, whether they turn out tall, short, or somewhere in between.


    Sound Off

    What do you think kgm should do? Have your say by leaving a comment below this story!


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    Are you worried about your height?

    • Yes - I think I'm too tall
    • Yes - I think I'm too short
    • Sometimes, but I'm not done growing yet
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    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    Wonderfulcalico
    My parents have always been aggressive and abusive and I only just noticed it a couple months ago. Over time they've gotten worse (specifically my mother). Whenever she gets mad she'll yell at us and if she gets mad enough she'll hit and push us around. Whoever we get into arguments it's always one- sided and she always wins, even if she knows she is wrong. An argument we had not to long ago was about me not taking care of myself. She looked at my hair and started to touch it and told me "Your hair isn't soft why is it so dry, it's probably because you aren't taking care of your hair." Then she goes on to tell me that she's going to cut it and all of this other stuff when she knows I'm conscious about me looking like a boy ( Used to get called a boy for having short hair). As the argument goes on, I start to tell her things that she knows she is wrong about. She proceeds to yell at me then grabs me by the face and say "If you don't lower your tone and listen to what I'm saying I'm going to knock you in the head." Then she goes on to tell me she remembers nothing I was saying and that it's a lie. She also hit me when I didn't clean the laundry room correctly and whenever she gets fed up. I'm constantly having to watch what I say and do, because I'm scared that I'm going to end up hurt. She also likes to degrade me and tell how bad I'm doing. She's said plenty of thing like when I didn't have my bed covers tucked in she yelled at me and hit me and I said "Do you expect me to just stand here and take this", and she replied saying "That's what you are supposed to do you are the child and I am the adult, you take whatever I do until I'm done." Another time is when I had my band concert and I had to pick out the right attire. When we went shopping to get the clothing I chose slacks when she liked a skirt better, we went on to fight in the store and she bought the slacks. When we got home she said to me that real girls wear skirts and dresses and boys wear slacks and pants. This hurt me because she knows I have a past with people telling me I look like a boy etc. Another time I started to sleep on the floor, because I was practicing a minimalist life. When I left my pillows on the floor she found it and questioned me on why they were there. I told her it fell of my bed when really I left it there. Later when I told my dad, he told her and she got mad because I was getting cat hair on my pillows. She then proceeded to ask why I lied and I told her sometimes lying is better then the truth (I knew she would get mad that I was sleeping on the floor so I lied) then she told me that I was never going to have a relationship, a job, or friends ( This hurt me because I don't have friends now). 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I've limited my talking to her, because all she does is break me down. Like when there was a Proactive commercial and she said, "Ha, you need that." That hurt me because just the other my mom was telling me how I don't take care of my face and that's why I have acne. My older sister and I barely talk, because whenever I try to talk to her she's mad for what ever reason and when my parents were talking about hitting my sister she was in the corner laughing. My cat Preston is very young and I got hi,abo a year ago. I get very sad and often cry, because I've seen him turn out scared and aggressive just like me because he's been through what I have. One time he pooped in a clothes basket (It's right next to his litter box) my mom grabbed him by the neck and hit him while she smothered his face in his poop, all while yelling at him. I was going to call the Animal Protective Services, but I got too scared and I realized how lonely I would be. Please help me I'm not sure what to do anymore. Also sorry for the very long post!
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    Error101
    Error101 posted in Family Issues:
    Dear Kkmr324, I hope you get to feeling better as time goes on.  It does get better but like you said you can't actually get over it.  Losing someone to cancer is awful and I have never lost a friend and I hope I never will and I am so sorry that you did, but I have lost family to cancer and it is horrible.  I hope your okay. :(
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    Kkrmr324
    Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
    A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
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    Kkrmr324
    Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
    A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
    reply 5 days
    Tennis123
    why are you allowing that to control your happiness? why can't you have true happiness instead of chasing some dream for momentary satisfaction? You're 12. This is when your core beliefs, values, and outlooks on life start. Don't mess it up choosing to be sad over something like that.
    reply 6 days