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
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