*5 Steps for Talking to your Daughter About Puberty is a guest post. If you are interested in writing for A Modern Mom’s Life, please visit my Guest Posting page.*
Adolescence is a very significant time in every girl’s life. What happens at this stage could possibly impact them for the rest of their life. As a parent, your hands-on involvement in your daughter’s personal matters during puberty is crucial during this time, though it can be challenging (especially if this is your first time going through this). One way this could take form in is being the first to introduce concepts concerning puberty. If you’re lost as to where to start, take these five steps to help you guide her throughout the whole process.
Try these 5 steps for talking to your daughter about puberty
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1. Start gradually and as early as appropriate
As you know, every girl’s timeline is different. Some may start experiencing signs of puberty as early as the third grade but others won’t until they’re almost finished with high school. There’s no way of predicting whether your daughter will be an early or late bloomer but it’s good to educate her early on, so she’s prepared either way.
There’s an abundance of resources nowadays and information can be mismanaged when it gets to your daughter. The ideal situation is that you’re the one to introduce these concepts to her before she gets too curious and seek information on her own. The appropriate time for this could be as early as she turns 8, though it’s better to open it up gradually and not drop all the information on her at once.
2. Explain the physical changes
Since physical changes are the first things to become evident, this is a good place to start. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following are some of the common things to mention when talking to your daughter about bodily changes:
- Forming of breasts
- Becoming more rounded in the hips and legs
- Growth of pubic hair
- Rapid increase in height and weight
- Occurrence of menstrual periods and side effects such as cramps
- Appearance of pimples
- Curiosities about sexual intercourse, sexuality, and pleasure
3. Offer assurance and project positivity
With no one to compare themselves to but their peers, your daughter might feel alienated or left out if she’s an early or late bloomer. If she’s the first one to wear training bras or the last one to get her period, it’s inevitable for her to feel alone or the odd one out in her group.
At her age, the pressure is greater to fit in with the majority. With the changes, she might also feel insecure about her body because of how it’s starting to look different than her friends’. This could become more stressful for her if she’s not armed with the knowledge and understanding that it’s different for everybody. They’re bound to catch up to the same experiences eventually. Until then, provide reassurance and positive perspectives about the changes she’s going through, especially relating to her body image.
4. Go deep into emotional and hormonal changes
The physical changes that happen externally are often accompanied by hormonal changes within the body. All these effects in conjunction with each other may affect her emotional wellbeing too. As your daughter starts to look at herself differently from her peers, she may also start questioning things about her identity.
She might try to figure out who she is as an individual but not necessarily know how to figure that out. As a parent, this is a wonderful time to be nurturing and understanding with your daughter. Engage with her by asking questions to help her discover her individuality, and also be there to lend a listening ear when she wants to open up. As she goes through new experiences, relate to her by sharing your personal experiences and wisdom about the things she might be confused or conflicted about.
5. Keep the conversation open
Some parents may think they just need to have “the talk” one time and that would be enough. Though that might be effective for some, consider having an open line of communication with your daughter.
Your daughter will go through puberty for a long, sometimes extended, period of time. It’s good to let her know she has a solid support system behind her. Be open to her questions so she knows she can go to you for things she doesn’t quite understand. It’s not absolutely necessary but if it would make both of you feel better, track her changes so you’ll know if they are happening at an abnormally slow or fast rate. This can also help her easily know the different changes her body will go through.
The idea of talking to your daughter about puberty may be uncomfortable. It could be awkward at first, but preparation is the key. Knowing how to handle it and what to say takes the pressure off of initiating the actual conversation for the first time. Once you get the hang of it, it will be much easier for either of you to talk about the topics in the future. In turn, your relationship with your daughter can also take a boost. Ultimately, you’ll both be thankful you went through the experience together!
Allena Rissa is the founder and editor of The Better Fit, a website focused on helping women find the right bras for their unique shapes and sizes, along with feeling confident in their own skin. Allena became interested in this when she learned over 80% of women wear the wrong size bra (including herself!). Since then, she’s become an expert on the topic and is focused on educating women on how to find the best type of bra for each of life’s occasions.
My daughter just turned 10. That means she will be blossoming at any time. I’ve already been having “talks” with her – short conversations about her body, or my body, as the case may be. I also make sure to tell her that I am here, at all times, if and when she has questions. We also have a lot of female family that my girls spend time with on weekly basis, so I’ve told her she can talk to them too. I feel that by starting early – answering questions with real answers when they were smaller – has hopefully created a safe and open relationship for us. Stay tuned to find out if either of my girls actually come to me with questions about puberty!
Have you had daughters go through puberty yet? How did that go? Share your experiences with me – maybe I can use some of the strategies that worked for you.