Have you wondered how to go about talking about puberty with daughter? This is a conversation that can strike fear in the heart of even the most laid back parents! Aileen Rogers of Ready Girls shares her Top Ten Tips for discussing puberty with your daughter.
Since starting Ready Girls, I have suddenly become “The Period Lady”. Women of all ages from 70 to 17 are telling me their stories of how they found out about puberty, and their first period experiences. Some stories have been hilarious and some have been quiet sad. Suffice to say however that there is an underlying theme and that is, we want to improve our own daughter’s experience of both the education process and the first period experience.
Also as a parent we have to realise that this is a difficult stage for us as well as our daughters. It is very emotional for us all. We have to accept that our little girls are growing up. This sometimes can be the difficulty parents have when broaching this topic. We don’t see our daughters as old enough to be having “The Talk”. So try and look at the confident young adult that is emerging and view it as any other conversation you would have with her.
#1. Don’t have one big talk
Val Mulally, a highly respected parenting coach, advises to “Drip Feed” the information. Don’t leave it to one big talk. This makes a mountain out of it, and can build it up in your head and make you more nervous about it.
#2. Answer her questions
Your daughter will start to ask questions when she is ready to learn. Answer with confidence and be relaxed – if you are nervous, your daughter will feel that it is not ok to discuss this type of subject with you.
One child might take the information in their stride, while another might keel over laughing, as was my experience. It took me about 20 minutes to stop her laughing after I explained the birds and the bees.(A story I am saving for her wedding day).
#4. Concise answers
As she asks questions, answer them with concise answers. Use the correct language and words. Words can have different meanings and interpretations for an 11 year old!. (Again, I learnt this when I used the words “sensitive” and “excited” in relation to the birds and the bee’s story!)
#5. Don’t underestimate her knowledge
Don’t underestimate the level of knowledge she already has on the subject. And, don’t overestimate the amount of information she wants to receive.
#6. Periods can start young
Girls as young as 8 and 9 are getting their first periods. So keep an eye out for the signs. There are lots of them and we cover them all on our website.
#7. Make sure she is prepared
Make sure she has a Ready Girls period pack in her school bag so that if she gets her period in school she at least has everything she needs to get home to you.
#8. Don’t leave chats till secondary school
You should certainly have had these chats with your daughter before she starts secondary school.
#9. Dad’s role
And Dad, well you can’t be mam but what you can be is understanding and supportive. Be there for her, it is vital that girls at this age have a strong male role model to look up to and you are it!
#10. Stay at Home Dad
If you are a stay at home dad, a separated dad etc., you may be with your daughter when she gets her first period. So be prepared. Have Ready Girls in the bathroom for her. Read a period book or two so that you have the lingo and a basic understanding to talk to her.
Lots more advice can be found on Ready Girls website.
Related: Your Teen’s Self-Esteem
Do you have any tips for parents of daughters about discussing puberty? Share them with us in the comments below.