Have you suddenly felt that change in your little girl that makes you feel that she is no longer little? The mood’s different, so are new found friendships, a definite care for appearance and growth spurts. Welcome to that time of your life when you need to break the pre-teen ice and have the first ‘puberty talk’ with your little one.
Puberty brings in emotional and social changes besides physical changes in young girls. The age for puberty varies and so do the changes, every body is different after all. Initiating the conversation may seem like a big deal because it would be the first time you would be breaking the ice on topics never discussed before. All you need is patience and all your little girl needs is the confidence that she can turn to you for any queries.
The right age to talk to your daughter about puberty is any time between ages 8-10. Young girls are increasingly attaining puberty sooner than before and in the current scenario, this seems the right age to break the ice.
She may show defiance because that’s what kids approaching puberty do, handle it with care and love as you would. You can also fish for books which may form a good bedtime reading for her and involves conversations around puberty, fit for her age.
THINGS TO TALK ABOUT
Young girls go through many changes as puberty sets in. You should make sure that you touch upon, each of these. Thanks to the gamut of information available to children, they are sure to land on something even before you strike a conversation. Be gentle and discuss all of the topics below:
Breast develop in various stages, right from the appearance of a bud to them becoming fuller and firmer. The process can be sore and painful at times. The size of the breasts depends on genes and other factors, hence it’s important to let your child know that all sizes are perfect. This is also the time to start talking about the usage of right bras.
Shaving and waxing will find their way into the talk. Sudden hair growth in the pubic area and armpits besides some facial and bodily hair will be visible. It’s important to get them to understand the dos and don’ts of body hair removal and how having body hair is nothing to be ashamed of.
Oily Skin and Acne
This can be embarrassing and worrisome for some, acne will be popped and some may leave teeny tiny scars. What’s important is to let her know that this happens to some teens and it’s okay. It also is the time to get her to wash her face more and provide face washes, fit for the same.
Hormones will start their course and the sweat shall smell. It may be the right time to touch upon hygiene lessons and deodorant. It would also be a good idea to explain genital hygiene here.
Change in genitals
The genitals will grow and become more pronounced in appearance. Though the uterus may not be visible, but it will grow too. It’s good to talk about this and ease in the organ functions into the dialogue, setting the ground for future talks on Periods & Reproduction.
She may find it strange to see discharge from her vagina. Explain to her that it’s normal and is also cleansing her vagina in a natural way. It may feel uncomfortable for some, but is not a cause for concern usually.
Once the vaginal discharge begins, it’s the perfect time to speak about menstruation. Explain the process and make sure that she is prepared and positive about them. Do talk about menstrual myths, ensuring that she knows that periods are nothing to be ashamed of.
New hormones trying to settle in might make her feel very unsettled. Mood swings, confusion, tears are common. Make sure she knows that you are always there for her and she can come to you to share, discuss and question, anything.
Attention to looks
It’s evident that friendships will develop with the opposite/same sex and she will take extra care of her appearance. Make her feel confident as this is a very sensitive phase. This is the time for lessons in respect, for oneself and others too.
Get Her Puberty Ready!
It’s necessary that your little girl is ready and knows what to expect. If she gets her first period, she should know what to do and how to deal with it. Hence, it’s vital to have a pragmatic approach well before she attains puberty. All it needs is for you to instill the confidence in her that it’s a natural process of change and you shall be there by her side (Albeit, without adding any stress or pressure) 🙂
In my upcoming articles, I shall touch open each of these topics in detail and also cover the ‘how to’ of the conversations to help you ease into the talk.