A Stable Father Prevents the Early Onset of Puberty


Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 31/7/17. We felt it deserved another run.

The cult of modernity requires its adherents to believe that civilisation is on a linear upward path of progress and improvement. Coming to harsh conclusions about the degeneracy and sickness of our epoch is not allowed, despite the evidence of steep decline in core facets of existence like social cohesion, happiness, education, health, relationships, fertility rates, wages and governance.

Every now and then though the commissars of thought in the press make a mistake and accidentally report reality without a view to subversion, normally because they don’t realise the ramifications of what they are reporting on.

The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an extract from a book entitled “The New Puberty” by Amanda Dunn, under the title “Something is happening to our kids, and it’s time we talked about it”. The subtitle was “We are seeing a major shift in the development of children, particularly girls. We cannot afford to ignore it and hope it will go away”.

The extract observes that children, and particularly girls, are reaching puberty earlier. The main cause that the extract discusses is childhood obesity, i.e. previous generations did not have calorie surpluses like children do now, therefore the body is effectively receiving calories at such a rate that it “believes” it has the raw materials to begin the adolescent growth and transformation process and therefore does so earlier. In addition, the evidence indicates that menarche has also gotten earlier due to better nutrition as well, i.e. the additional calories are signalling to the body that it now has the availability of resources to create a baby.

Another article from the Herald observed that there was a clear socio-economic and stress link:

“Boys who grow up in hardship are more than four times as at risk of starting puberty aged 10 than those who grow up in safer, wealthier households. And girls who grow up disadvantaged are twice as likely to start puberty early than others.”

The findings suggest that early-onset puberty may be an evolutionary response to trauma and struggle. “When we are raised in sub-optimal living conditions that means we have a higher risk of premature death,” associate professor Sun said. “That means maybe we will die before we’re successfully reproductive, so we would choose an adaptive strategy to mature earlier, to have our first baby earlier, and maybe we could have more kids to ensure our genes transfer to the next generation.”

This was all logical to me so far, the body is responding to stimulus (more calories and/or stress) and reacting in a manner best suited to achieving Darwinian success by passing on its genes. The thing that piqued my interest though, is that while it is well established and acknowledged that our diets are more calorie intensive and that childhood obesity is a problem nowadays, I don’t seem to recall it being as widely acknowledged that modern childhood is significantly worse or sub-optimal, and much interest in analysis of why that is the case.

Let us start with the potential causes of these more stressful childhoods that we are allowed to discuss. Most people will concede that childhood may be more stressful nowadays due to social media and hyper-sexualisation via fashion and popular culture, but these forces are not unstoppable forces of nature. Children are exposed to social media and hyper-sexualisation because adults are choosing to let them be exposed to it. We could choose not to to expose them if we were so inclined. Given the consequences of early puberty, perhaps we should be inclined, “entering puberty young (before 11) correlates with a host of problems, from teenage pregnancy to depression. Only 2% of those who do so go on to enter higher education, regardless of their parents’ IQ and educational level.”

Another major societal change is the large increase in divorce and single mother households. Now this is an area you are allowed to talk about as long as we don’t attribute blame to anyone or to particular social movements:

“On average, a girl whose father divorces or separates from her mother and leaves the family home before she is 10 comes into puberty five months earlier than a girl from an intact family. But the impact of fathers is not limited to whether they are physically present. In intact families, girls reach puberty later if they have a positive rather than a negative relationship with their father; the more he is involved in her upbringing, the later she will have her first period. If the father is absent through illness or work rather than as a result of divorce or separation, the girl’s pubertal age is unaffected. Interestingly, too, an absent mother or a girl’s quality of relationship with her, does not affect the point at which she comes into puberty.”

The end of that quote bordered a little bit on thoughtcrime by implying that a father has a role to play that cannot be filled by a mother, but lets press on:

“Overall, the enormous increase in the divorce rate and in single-parent households since 1960 seems very likely to have played a major role in the decreasing age of puberty. However, it is not clear precisely why an absent or emotionally unengaged father should trigger earlier puberty. The strongest clue comes from the fact that if the father leaves the family home before the girl is six, she is twice as likely to have early first periods and four times more likely to start sex early. It suggests that the disruption to the mother, a lack of cash and all the other problems that go with single parenthood, probably make the girl more likely to be emotionally needy and to be eager to be able to use sexual allure as soon as possible to make people love her. The more times a girl’s family environment changes (with the mother taking new partners) in childhood, the greater the risk of early puberty. If there are three or more new partners, a girl is five times more likely to have a teenage pregnancy.”

Hmmm it might not be clear to the author of that piece why an absent or emotionally unengaged father might be a trigger, but it stands to reason that children are consciously and subconsciously aware if they are under the care and protection of an adult male, i.e. a patriarch. When they know they are not, they are more stressed as a result. I’d even go as far as to posit that boys’ bodies will seek to mature faster to become their own protectors and girls’ bodies will seek to mature faster in order to attract and incentivise a protector.

Further supporting evidence of that hypothesis is the link between having older brothers and a later menarche that Australian researchers observed in girls. Once again it would appear to be a direct result of these younger sisters being aware that they are under the protection and care of their older brother(s), whilst girls without older brothers are aware that they aren’t. All of this aligns with the previously discussed Darwinian imperatives of ensuring survival of the genes.

Given the well documented correlation between physiologically altering levels of stress in a child’s formative years, early puberty and a variety of undesirable life outcomes, shouldn’t we as a society be making an effort to push back? Maybe the patriarchal role of the father as the protector of the family should be restored, maybe divorces shouldn’t be encouraged by social movements and subsidized by governments?

The heresy I am committing is implying that things are worse now then they were before, and that our society is an instigator. The facts and trends show that childhood is objectively more stressful and therefore worse now. Society has made choices to create conditions for children that result in the children experiencing levels of existential stress that are literally altering their biology. Criticism of these societal choices is frowned upon, as these choices were “progressive”.

It should be clear that there is no escaping biology, and realism about biology is certainly not welcome in this “modern age”. I’ll finish this piece with the ultimate thoughtcrime I found whilst researching this, and will let you draw your own conclusions.

“Living in a homogeneous neighborhood may also be helpful: early-maturing fifth graders of Mexican descent showed fewer symptoms of depression by seventh grade when they lived in Hispanic neighborhoods compared with similar girls living in more diverse neighborhoods, according to another study. It is unclear, however, why homogeneity may have helped.”

  • Ralphy

    Congratulations Connor. This piece with your skillful erudition and analysis is humbling to this lesser mortal and why I love my XYZ. The only comment I would dare to make is questioning the actual percentage of the blamesharing rightly attributable to the internet’s role in all of this? Outstanding piece Connor.

    XYZ and your very talented writers ought to consider Rowan Dean’s and Spectator’s Thawley Prize for an Aussie Essay. Now open until October with 5k to the winner.

    I read the last 3 winner’s efforts and they were really… stratospherically first class… imho. I would love it if an XYZ writer won and we could all share in his/her reflected glory. On the Speccie website including past winners.

    • Thank you very much for the kind words Ralphy!

      I’ll definitely advocate for David or Moses to receive such an award. I personally work a job which would make it unwise for.me to reveal my political views, hence my preference to avoid any public attention.

      • Ralphy


  • What about estrogen in our food chain ?
    It is everywhere, the natural type and the synthetic type.

    In meat, dairy, eggs, fish.
    Plastic bottles and containers, even the “BPA free” type, leach synthetic estrogen when exposed to the UV in sunlight.
    Even cash register receipts contain BPA, to stabilise the ink.

    Tap water contains a myriad of chemicals that cannot be filtered out, unless you invest in some high tech $$$ equipment.
    Estrogen from the BC pill leaches into water supplies as well, via female urine.
    Many people flush old pharmaceuticals down the toilet.

    Lots of estrogen might partly explain the 11 yr olds who are built like 18 yr olds.
    A better/increased diet, compared to 200 years ago, means you are taking in more of these hormones, especially synthetic ones.

    Our food supply is rapidly deteriorating, look at all the food contamination recalls in the past few years. Even baby formula is contaminated.

    • Karen Dwyer

      There are also essential oils (like lavender) that are oestrogen-esque. Lavender oil doesn’t affect females but can be quite “upsetting” of male hormones.

    • sadsak

      Ever tried buying food products without soy in them? No wonder certain politicians have big tits.

  • Bikinis not Burkas

    When equating the comments in italics to my lifes knowledge I say, Bullshit!

    Oh hang on, that maybe why I am seeing 5 yo Muslim girls in Hijabs, very hard life and bleeding at an early age, presumably from their owners (fathers) doing what is common in Pakistan and raping them to see if they are still virgins!




    • Wide Awake

      Coming to an Australian suburb near you soon!

  • To a father, there’s no more terrifying a word in the English language than “Menarche”.

    • Wide Awake

      I’m surprised the feminists haven’t tried to have its name changed, but then again it is usually seen as something negative in today’s society so it’s probably ok that it starts with “men”.

    • Bikinis not Burkas


      That’s when you force them into a Burka, right?
      Abu Dawud (32:4092) – The Apostle of Allah… said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands” This was narrated by Aisha.

      • Indeed, the quick imprisonment
        of the child as she becomes a young woman.
        Teaching her that it is her role not merely to be modest, but invisible, or be deemed an acceptable rape victim.
        Islam objectifies humanity far more than anything else. Truly a religion for the rapists.

  • Karen Dwyer

    Fascinating, Connor.

    Darwinian theory for my part a load of hooey but I would absolutely agree that a patriarchy (which is not actually tyrannical by mere use of the word patriarchy) is a stable structure. It is a distorted patriarchy that is tyrannical (note BnB’s examples) not patriarchy itself.

    All our friends’ children LOOK like children. They are well fed and well nurtured, so they certainly aren’t waifs. Their faces, physically, are children’s faces and their voices are children’s voices. They are articulate, intelligent, and creative. They have responsibilities (chores) but they are not made responsiblevfor their parents’ emotions. But, having been allowed to be children rather than mini-sexpots (of either sex) they are children still.

  • Personmed Ansikte
  • entropy

    And the flip side is boys raised by single mothers who don’t get laid until their late twenties.

    This topic makes me sad. No fault divorce is toxic. How much damage are we going to do to our society to ensure that women don’t have to take responsibility for their own actions?

    • Larry Larkin

      It’s hard to get laid when you’re in prison, which is what is highly likely for a boy growing up in a household with just a mother as a parent.

  • John Ray
    • entropy

      You think it’s low IQ?

      Which would explain age of puberty dropping while IQs are rising… how?

      • I appreciated his rejoinder, although it did straw man the article a bit.
        Do you have a source for the IQ is rising stat?

        My understandng is that IQ is dropping in the west but because of immigration not due to dysgenics. IMO the west is dysgenic but not at the pace required to explain the trends we are discussing.

        • entropy

          I apologise if that’s the case, I only scanned it.

          The Flynn effect is the substantial and long-sustained increase in both fluid and crystallized intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day.

          These are both generational trends, so I doubt low intelligence causes early onset of puberty. Although low IQ probably correlates strongly with diet and social issues that do influence the age of puberty.

  • These pre pubescent ho youngsters should be changing their tunes and emulating a good role model…..like…Taylor Swift, who is an accomplished young lady.

  • computer hacker

    Well written article mate.
    I’m speculating here but for every screwed up kid (single parent, early pubescent) There are at least half the class (maybe 10 or so) who want to mimic that one due to “coolness” or popularity.
    Couple that with all the MTV celebrity trash and selfie obsession has made it into a fierce competition. What is very worrying is the amount of pictures they publish online everyday.

    The wider societies standards are gone. Its now ok to be fat, or a slut, or have an STD. Even adult women (especially fat ones) are going down this path and its disgusting.

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  • KaptainAmericana

    ………………….12-yr old’s trying to look like Brittany Spears sluts. These girls are headed for big trouble without Dad around.