It seems like just yesterday you were reading "Goodnight Moon" to your little girl, and now — right before your very eyes — she's growing into a woman. As she develops, your daughter is bound to have questions about the physical and emotional changes of puberty.
As a parent, it's your job to listen to her concerns and keep the lines of communication open. Here are some tips on how to make that happen:
- Answer questions openly and honestly. Let your daughter know that you're available any time to talk, but also schedule time to talk (don't always wait for her to initiate the discussion). If she has questions or concerns that you can't answer, talking with her doctor may help provide reassurance.
- If you haven't already, start the talk early. By the time a girl is 8 years old, she should know what bodily changes are associated with puberty. That may seem young, but consider this: some early bloomers are already wearing training bras at that age. As a conversation starter, you might tell your daughter about what puberty was like for you when you were growing up.
- Talk about menstruation before she gets her period. Girls who are unaware of their impending period can be frightened by the sight and location of blood. Most girls get their first period when they're 12 or 13 years old; others get it as early as age 9 or as late as age 16.
- Make it practical. Most girls are interested in practical matters, like how to find a bra that fits and what to do if they get their first period at school. Your daughter will appreciate concrete assistance, such as taking a measurement for a bra or getting some pads that she can stash in her backpack or locker, just in case.
- Offer reassurance. Girls often express insecurity about their appearance as they go through puberty. Some develop breasts at a younger age or get their period early, while others may not start until they're a little older. Reassure your daughter that there's a huge amount of variation in the timing of these milestones. Everyone goes through them, but not always at the same pace.
If you're not entirely comfortable having a conversation about puberty, practice what you want to say first or ask your doctor for advice.
Remember, it's important to talk about puberty — and the feelings associated with it — as openly as possible so that your daughter will be prepared for the changes ahead.Back to Articles
Changes become more dramatic and complex with the onset of puberty, and kids are likely to have lots of questions. These articles can help you become a trusted source of information, comfort, and support for your kids.Read More
Connecting With Your Preteen
As your preteen becomes more independent, staying connected may seem like more of a challenge. But it's as important as ever – here are some tips.Read More
I'm Growing Up - But Am I Normal?
When you're growing up, lots of changes happen and everyone wonders: Am I normal?Read More
Concerned about your growth or development? Puberty can be delayed for several reasons. Luckily, doctors usually can help teens with delayed puberty to develop more normally.Read More
PMS, Cramps, and Irregular Periods
Most period problems are common and normal. But some might be a sign that there's something else going on.Read More
When Will I Get My Period?
It's normal to be a little worried or anxious about getting your period. Find out more in this article for kids.Read More
Talking to Your Child About Periods
Kids reaching puberty should already know what's going to happen to their bodies. Here are some tips for talking to your daughter about menstruation.Read More
Boys and Puberty
On the way to becoming a man, a boy's body will go through a lot of changes, including your body growing bigger, your voice changing, and hair sprouting everywhere. Find out more.Read More
Precocious puberty - the onset of signs of puberty before age 7 or 8 in girls and age 9 for boys - can be physically and emotionally difficult for children and can sometimes be the sign of an underlying health problem.Read More
Puberty was awkward enough when you were the one going through it. So how can you help your kids through all the changes?Read More
My Daughter Is Embarrassed About Her Period - How Can I Help Her?
Find out what the experts have to say.Read More
All About Puberty
Voice cracking? Clothes don't fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn't have to be. Read all about it in this article for kids.Read More
All About Periods
Getting a period is a natural part of becoming a woman. Find out more in this article for kids.Read More
Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty
Voice cracking? Clothes don't fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn't have to be. Read all about it.Read More
When Will I Start Developing?
Lots of girls and guys worry about when their bodies will develop. The fact is that physical development starts at different times and moves along at different rates in normal kids.Read More
Female Reproductive System
Learning about the female reproductive system, what it does, and the problems that can affect it can help you better understand your daughter's reproductive health.Read More
Your Daughter's First Gynecology Visit
The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here's how to make her feel more comfortable about a well-woman visit.Read More