Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tips for Talking to Your Daughter About Puberty #parenting

In a blink of an eye, my daughter went from not wanting to grow up to talking to me about bras and shaving.  As a woman (yeah, that first-hand experience thing kicks in) and a counselor, I know these can be tender years for girls.  They are becoming more aware of what their friends are doing and more aware of themselves as human beings.  They become somewhat more self-conscious (notice I said somewhat--seems very hit and miss).  They are transitioning into teens.  Hence the word tween came about.  They want to grow up, but they still want to be kids.  They are beTWEEN.

I never shied away from talking to my children about their body parts and what they do.  I never wanted my children to feel embarrassed or ashamed about their bodies.  I wanted them to know the importance of their bodies, including the reproductive organs, and to learn to respect these parts as special.  So, having talks about puberty haven't been difficult for me.  Here are some tips I have to share to make your talks easier.
  1. Think about when you want to talk with your daughter.  If she had a bad day at school, this is not a good time.  When you are out to lunch, out for an evening walk, or relaxed days at home would be better times.
  2. Evaluate your values.  Many times, we haven't figured out where our values lie or we are carrying over preconceived ideas we experienced growing up.  Think about the bigger picture.  What message do you want to send to your daughter about her body, puberty, sex and growing up?  Don't limit your thinking to the here and now, but consider the long run.
  3. Evaluate your knowledge of the topic.  Understanding how your body works will make it easier to answer questions.  There are some great books out there that can help you with this.
  4. Let your daughter know she can ask you anything.  And if you don't know the answer, suggest the two of you research it.  Be careful of internet searches with her present, though.  You may get more than what you bargain for.
  5. No matter how funny the question, never laugh at your daughter.  This can close the door to future conversations.  Remember, she has no clue.
  6. Use teachable moments.  When you see something on television or hear something on the radio that ties into puberty and growing up, start a conversation about it.  "She is concerned about what her friends think about her, what do you think about that?"
  7. Talk about it often, but not too frequently or you will tune your daughter out.  When using teachable moments, be perceptive if you daughter is in the mood to talk about it.
  8. Remind your daughter that she may have feelings and emotions she has not experienced before, and that it is okay.  Also remind her that feelings, emotions and situations don't last forever.
  9. Determine what you feel is an appropriate age for activities such as shaving legs, owning a cell phone, wearing make up, wearing a bra, etc.  Then re-evaluate along the way.  Just because your daughter doesn't need a bra, if every other girl in her class is wearing one, you may want to allow her, too.
  10. Purchase some books on puberty for your daughter.  Once again, make sure these books are in line with the values you want to share.
I hope this helps.  Remember, your little girl is growing up and wants and needs guidance from you.


Hobbies on a Budget said...

It's an exciting time but scary too to watch our little girls growing up! Great tips!

Unknown said...

I remember having talks with my oldest daughter who is now 23. My next one is 9 and we've started our talks... age- and situation-appropriate, specific. My next daughter is 7 so I have a little while before I have to tackle that conversation.

It's sort of a fun time for me as I really enjoy the growing up and life changes children experience. It's like I get to experience it again with them and I can be there for them.

Great post.

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