When is the best time to talk to young girls about puberty?
It is important to have this conversation early and not to wait until puberty starts, which on average is around age 12. This is why it is recommended to have this talk at age nine, as some girls reach puberty any time between age 10 and 14.
How to talk to girls about puberty
– Clarifying the differences between the male and female body
By comparing the girl’s and her mother’s bodies to the brother’s and the father’s bodies. And by highlighting the apparent discrepancies, such as the facial hair in males and the nonexistence of breasts.
– Using a relaxed body language
A mother needs to be relaxed while speaking to her daughter about this important topic. She must use body language reflecting that she is calm and relaxed and not embarrassed or anxious.
– Speaking in a calm voice
Mothers should speak calmly to their girls about this topic and do so while smiling continuously. In addition to explaining everything with composure and answering all questions without shame or hesitation.
– Maintaining eye contact
Dear mom, please do not be ashamed while talking to your daughter about puberty, and do not look away when speaking to her. Be brave and look her straight in the eyes during this conversation. You are a mirror to your children, showing them that this is an embarrassing topic, will send a message to your daughter to be embarrassed about it.
– Calling it as it is
Make sure to use the proper names for the reproductive parts, and don’t use baby language to hide, as there is nothing to be ashamed of. Use words like Vagina, Vulva, and breasts. Use illustrations from medical sources, or biology books to explain the of female organs, to explain to your daughter without any embarrassment.
– Presenting with positivity
Girls get scared of periods, especially if they reach puberty early. Therefore, it is crucial to present the topic positively. Telling a young girl that the start of her period makes her a potential mother, as this is a sign of fertility and that she will be able to have babies and start a family in the future.
– Instilling confidence
Some of the signs of puberty in girls such as breast development, and the growth of body hair especially around the vagina, can make a young girl feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. So, it is essential to explain to her that these are normal signs of growth and that she should embrace them with confidence.
– Checking on information from friends
Girls talk! Especially about periods. So, ask your daughter what her friends who already reached puberty before had told her. This will help you better in having a guided conversation. She might know, for example, that one of her friends feels severe pain because of her period. In this case, you need to tell her that the pain is normal, doesn’t last long, and is not scary, since there are pain killers, and home remedies that ease it.
– Using the conversation to share useful information
This conversation for many moms can be embarrassing and is an excellent opportunity to satisfy a little girl’s curiosity about her body, and the changes she will experience at this stage. I advise mothers to talk to their daughters about everything related to puberty, from signs of puberty, to how to properly use a sanitary pad, all the way to sexual education, how pregnancy happens, and protection from sexual abuse. Be your daughter’s go-to source for this information, to educate her properly and protect her.
Some girls, especially those reaching puberty at a younger age, go through a phase of denial about these changes. A girl might be upset about her growing breasts, the hair that started growing in different parts of her body, and about her period as well. The mother’s role, in this case, is to accept this denial, which is a normal reaction to this change, to work towards changing it into an acceptance, by continuously talking about these changes as a normal part of a girl’s development into a future woman. And to make use of the positive way periods are portrayed on TV through the sanitary pads advertisement. A mom can also take her daughter shopping for pads while explaining to her the different types, and which ones are better depending on the period’s flow.
Accepting mood changes
Your daughter is a little girl surrounded by butterflies and rainbows, and suddenly after puberty, she is a young woman suffering from hormones affecting her mood. So, what can mothers do to help their daughters accept this hormonal change?
Early education is key for accepting these changes. Therefore, a girl needs to know about these changes before they happen, including the mood changes, anxiety, and stress that come with puberty. Present these changes as a normal sign of the starting of a period and provide advice on how to control them. Tell your daughter to exercise, listen to music, accept her body and love it. In addition to avoiding caffeine, sugary foods (even if she craves them), and spicy food that worsen the symptoms.
It is essential to break the shame and taboo barrier that usually, and needlessly surrounds the topic of menstruation and puberty. And to reassure the girls that there is nothing to be ashamed of. There is shouldn’t be any shame or awkwardness in talking about this in front of the father or the brother, this is a normal thing and there is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, when boys are used to this issue, this will reduce their bullying of other girls about it at school. Spreading this culture must be normalized, this will eradicate this type of bullying, and turn these boys into understanding men who will support their future wives.
A father shouldn’t feel embarrassed about buying sanitary pads, or period pain medicine for women and girls in his family. There is no shame in a father taking his daughter to the doctor to be treated for period pain. This positive role the father plays will have an important effect on a girl’s acceptance of her body and of the changes, it is going through. Which will give her confidence in her body that will be later useful in her relationship with her husband. She won’t be ashamed of sharing with him the changes she goes through before and during her period, to get the support and understanding she needs from them.
Acceptance is the key to letting this phase pass without stress, in addition to welcoming it positively with the support of the parents and the rest of the family.