How & When to have the Puberty Talk with your Daughter

How & When to have the Puberty Talk with your Daughter

Puberty talk. Adolescence. Hormones. Growing up.

It’s that phase when you go through every imaginable change possible and are confused, worried and wondering what on earth happened with your body. We’ve all been through it. Yet, how many of us are comfortable talking about it with our kids, our daughters and our sons?The puberty talk is something we all need to have, as parents. It’s a very normal, biological process and it would help if we approach it in exactly the same manner.

In today’s post, I will be referring to how you can have the puberty talk with your daughters. For those with sons, I highly recommend the links mentioned at the end of this article.

When should you have the puberty talk?

Most of us would have had this talk with our parents around 12 or 13. But, things have changed now. Experts now recommend that you speak to your kids between the ages of 8 to 10 years.

One reason is, of course, that the onset of puberty could happen around the age of 9 these days. Another is that with access to information and the internet being ubiquitous, it’s better if they hear it from you, instead of half-baked tidbits from their friends or other sources.

How to have the puberty talk

Here are 5 steps to have the #puberty talk with your daughter Click To Tweet

How to have the puberty talk with your daughter. Tips, links, videos and other resources for you to check out today.

1. Prepare in advance

First, take deep breaths and relax. If you are a mom, you’re familiar with the way the body works, the changes it undergoes each month and what that felt like when you first experienced it.

The key thing to remember here is that you have to feel comfortable before you talk to your child. How do you do that? Well, you can read up literature on the subject and watch a few good videos on how to approach it. (See links below)If you’re still nervous, practice before a mirror.

Do you find yourself flushing or being ashamed? Start over. Breathe again. Tell yourself this is a normal talk.

2. Use the actual names for the parts of the body

Puberty is a normal thing. You know it and I know it. It’s the kids who don’t know it yet. Do you use the actual terms for the parts of the female anatomy, such as breasts, pelvis, vulva, vagina and cervix? You should.

If you don’t, start saying it out loud (remember the mirror trick) and don’t cringe or giggle when saying it. That’s what will transfer to the child when you are talking to her.

Think of it as a lesson in biology class and you are looking at a diagram that shows the female reproductive system. We all learnt it, right? That’s exactly what you are doing. In fact, get a diagram of the system and explain it to her in a clinical way. Straightforward talk is always the best.

3. Ensure the child is not tired or inattentive

Find a time and a comfortable space like the couch or the bed when you can snuggle up with the daughter. I love this method because it’s a way for me to release the awkwardness around topics that we don’t generally address.

In our case, we sat on our couch, side by side, reading from the pamphlet we had and calmly discussing the most natural thing in the world. Make sure you have 20 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted time when you can broach the subject, answer questions and clarify any doubts the child may have.

4. What you should cover during the talk

Jumping straight into period talk can be a bit confusing for the child. Start off by talking about how a girls’ body changes physically.

  • Speak about the growth of breasts and the need for a training bra or a support bra.
  • Explain other physical changes such as hair growth under the arms.
  • Acne is another important aspect to address.
  • Refer to the emotional changes too, such as mood swings, sudden and intense feelings towards other kids and temper tantrums.
  • Then, talk about menstruation.

When you begin talking about menstruation, explain clearly what happens inside the body. This is to help them process what happens. My daughter’s school had a detailed pamphlet handed out to each girl. Yet, she was still a bit curious. So I explained wherever she had doubts.

I calmly used the words given for each body part. There was no giggling or snickering and she was very mature in the way she received the information.

*Some kids may snigger, by the way. Don’t shame them for it. Gently smile and explain that this is the same for every woman. Do not yell or make it uncomfortable for them.

Next, speak about sanitary products that are useful during menstruation. Explain the differences between a sanitary pad and a tampon. Some places provide a starter kit while some moms actually put together a simple kit right at home for the kids to carry with them. This is a very sensible decision, in my opinion. The school’s pamphlet too had a section devoted to this aspect.

Affirm that menstruation does not change anything for their physical activity. Kids can still play, run, jump and do everything they love even with their cycle. A good physical routine should help them stay fit and comfortable even with all the changes in their body.

5. Use tools/aids such as books and videos

I’ve put together this list of resources you can use when you have the talk. These are all excellent for the frank way that they approach the subject.

The books are extremely useful too. I have a copy of the first one given below and it’s simply perfect!

As a cautionary note, do read the books once before you start the talk with the child. This is to ensure that you are completely comfortable with the topic. It will also help you anticipate the kinds of questions that the tween may pose.

Videos on Puberty

How to tell your child: Puberty in Girls

Menstrupedia video on puberty for girls

How to prepare for your first period

Recommended Reading (Books)

Just for Girls: A Book about Growing Up

The Care and Keeping of You

The Period Book: A girls’ guide to growing up

For Boys: Just for Boys

Recommended Reading (Links)

Talking to your son about puberty

How to talk to your son about puberty

So, have you had the puberty talk with your daughter yet? How did it go? Is there anything else that you particularly addressed?

Do share your thoughts.

If you found this post useful, feel free to share it with parents in your circle who may have tween daughters.

*Featured images courtesy: Shutterstock

Linking up with Nabanita’s #MommyTalks Linkup

Also linking up with Tweens, Teens & Beyond. It’s a lovely linky for parents of tweens and teens. Check it out for some cool posts!

Not Just The 3 Of Us

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32 thoughts on “How & When to have the Puberty Talk with your Daughter

  1. Very useful pointers, Shailaja. Most times it’s our own discomfort that holds us back or makes the talk/s clumsy. I got the elder son Just for boys which is a very useful book for boys about puberty. After he read it, he approached me with the questions that I answered. We have had regular talks since then. Unfortunately, they did not have any sessions for boys at school but did have a couple for girls which was quite stupid, in my opinion. We have also spoken about sex and contraception. I guess the information sharing must continue after the initial talk. And the funny part is that most moms do this talk with sons instead of dads. I guess everything sticky is left to the moms to handle.
    Rachna Parmar recently posted Review of Littleapp WebsiteMy Profile

    1. So true, Rachna. Moms are expected to do it. This school had one session for boys as well, I believe. Our awkwardness must disappear if we are to have open conversations, as you rightly said. Thanks for sharing the post too 🙂

      I have added the ‘Just for Boys’ upon your suggestion, so thank you!

  2. This is such an important topic, Shailaja. And something that I will keep in mind for later. I was 12 when I got my first period and I hadn’t discussed anything with mum before that. Nothing was told in our school as well. So, I know how important it is to have this talk and early too because my sis got it at the age of 10 and she was really confused. I’m happy to know that schools these days are handing out pamphlets and even taking this seriously. I think if we can do this talk right a lot of the awkwardness that girls feel in the later years may disappear and rightly so.

    Oh and thanks for linking up with such an important post 🙂
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted #MommyTalks | Results & MarksMy Profile

    1. So true, Naba. There is no reason to feel ashamed at all. Kids need to know the natural, biological process. I felt this was a good way to link up with your linky this week 🙂

  3. This post is really wonderful! Talking about puberty is as important as it is sensitive…you have everything covered!

    I have two boys and my elder one turned 13 this year…I felt it was important for him to know about puberty and changes it causes both in girls and boys, so yea, we did have our ‘talk’. He was all ears, and had questions on pimples that his friends were having and hair on his own body…there were so many questions! We even spoke about attraction towards the opposite sex… I told him he could come to me whenever he needs to talk to about anything under the sun. He wanted me to make a ppt for his friends, which I did and sent it across to their parents…I wanted to share it on my blog, but I don’t know if blogger supports ppts.

    1. Shubhangi, that sounds amazing! Especially with boys, it’s difficult to get them to open up and share. How wonderful to hear about the PPT. Both blogger and WordPress do not support PPT, but you can create a gallery of the images and run a slideshow. But it takes more effort.

  4. With firstborn it was much easier to talk about as she reads a lot of book and I had given her ‘Just for girls’. Spoke with her when she was eight and when the actual onset happened she was absolutely cool. The second born is now slowly being told about certain things but her questions make me go bonkers. I really feel happy that our generation is taking time to introduce such subjects to the kids instead of shying away. It helps a lot. It avoids a lot of unnecessary problems and confusion in the young minds. Very well-drafted, Shailaja!
    Rekha recently posted Dearest AmmaMy Profile

    1. That’s very comforting to know, Rekha. That she was comfortable with the onset, I mean. Second ones are always mischievous 😉 My younger sister would agree. You’re right about the current generation being more aware. Let’s hope this signals a change in the way we talk about all of this. Thank you 🙂

  5. My parents did not prepare me or my sister for this and when we got our first period we had no clue what it was. I would not want any girl to go through this.

    I’ll be bookmarking this post and sharing it with all my friends who have girls.
    Soumya recently posted Book Review: Paths Of GloryMy Profile

  6. Very important post, especially for parents of this generation. The generation past may have gotten away with silence but today’s generation has hundreds of access points online and not necessarily all are reliable or accurate. Better to have the conversation with a trusted parent than a misguided peer
    Roshan Radhakrishnan recently posted Tea Culture of the WorldMy Profile

  7. It is a good thing that the schools are taking the initiative to educate the girl students about menstruation and parents (mainly moms) are also preparing the daughters. In my times, I faced it unprepared and there was confusion mixed with tears. Thank you for suggesting ‘Just for boys’. I will order it right away alongwith Just for girls so that it does not escape my mind when the appropriate time comes. I think mainly with boys, they should be aware of the changes in both the sexes .
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted New interest – Google Voice Search #MondayMusingsMy Profile

    1. Absolutely right. We need to educate both boys and girls about the various changes. It will also help the boys be more empathetic towards the girls when they are going through these changes.

  8. This is the most useful piece of writing. I remember my mother sitting me down and telling me all about periods. I have had the talk too, over a year ago, but I left out much of the science, preferring to focus on the facts because she was too young. I just didn’t want her to be caught unawares. Now maybe is a good time to elaborate upon the science of it. I suspect this time it’s going to be way easier. It’s going to be tougher with my son though I did have a talk with him too.
    Obsessivemom recently posted Raising Financially Savvy TweensMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Tulika:) I know that for you it’s double the pressure but so glad to hear you’ve already broached this with N. Yes, we don’t want them caught unawares! Do check out the ‘Just for Boys’ book for H. I suspect that may make it simpler.

  9. I never had this talk with my mom … and frankly I cannot even imagine a talk like that. I mean… so awkward 😛 But I guess if kids are made comfy from their younger years to talk about puberty and body changes, then in future too they would be open to talk about it instead of hushing it away.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted The Hair ProblemMy Profile

    1. That’s the point 🙂 It shouldn’t be awkward. And if it comes from the mum, it’s so much better, right? I mean I’ve always had a very open discussion on all things possible with both parents and that’s thanks to the way they’ve been with us. Always grateful for that.

  10. I’m lucky my Mom spoke to me about periods when I was barely 10/11. As for my 9 yo I have spoken to her about it very comfortably as we have a dog at home who chums every six months and she has seen it wear a diaper.
    I told her in a simple manner that when the egg in our body does not turn into a baby it is expelled from the body and that’s when we have periods.
    Though I haven’t spoken about the bodily changes etc but after reading your very useful post I feel it’s a great idea to do so. My 9 yo sees the 19 yo and I use a sanitary napkin and we don’t hush it up so again she has a fair idea.

    I’ve been meaning to get the Just for Girls book for her but I thought it was too early till a few months back. Maybe now is the time.
    And I was trying to recollect the name of the menstrupedia video as had heard it somewhere but couldn’t remember.
    This is such a valuable post Shailja. You don’t know how many mothers will be thanking you at this point of time.

    I’m now just clueless when is the right time to talk to them about the birds and the bees and sex. Will you write a post on that too?

    My latest post:

    http://natashamusing.com/2017/06/keeping-happiness-intact-mondaymusings-mg-highlightsofhappy/

    You are mentioned in this post.
    Natasha recently posted #Micropoetry – RageMy Profile

    1. So thrilled to hear about the way you have gone about explaining it to your daughter, Nats! I recall feeling the same way, looking for videos and resources and figured this would be something parents could use. Glad it’s helpful 🙂

      Definitely going to write about the birds and the bees but maybe in a couple of years from now. I think 13 or 14 should be good for that. Thank you so much for the shout out on your blog. I do appreciate it!

  11. So so so very helpful. I was in need of this desperately. Inspite of being a doctor, i find it somewhat tricky to handle this talk with my own daughter. Thank you for the tips.

    1. How did I miss the fact that you are a doctor?? Shows how much/little we know of people online 🙂 Thank you, Prasanna! Coming from a doctor, this made me extremely glad 🙂

  12. Ironically both my teens hit puberty at the same time as my daughter was so early (just 10 years old) so our house was a hormonal pressure cooker for some time. Both mine had very informative talks at school with outside experts brought in to talk about it which prepared the ground to some extent but of course the parent chat is essential to cover the finer details. I bought them both a book, left it with them and then we sat down and discussed it when they were ready. To be honest it was really straightforward but having an open and naturally communicative relationship certainly helped. Some great advice and tips here. Thanks for sharing with us. #TweensTeensBeyond

  13. A lovely message for those facing ‘the talk’. Ours was a mixture of prior knowledge and confirmation and clarity from me. The school did the lesson a year early in Year 5 so most things were covered in that too. We keep an open flow and keep it light hearted and part of everyday conversation. Moods and hormones, we have discovered, are best covered after the event. Lovely to have your here at #tweensteensbeyond for the first time.

  14. My girl is turning 9 this year!!! And was just wondering how to approach the topic to her. Slowly and steadily i suppose … but it is time I spoke to her about it… I like the idea of using aides rather than just bombarding her with info

  15. These are brilliant tips. I have three daughters so I’ve had three goes at this now. I had to alter it for each one, as they are so different. I think it’s important to take your lead from them. So true that it is happening a lot earlier these days and I think that is taking a lot of parents by surprise. Thanks so much for joining us at #TweensTeensBeyond

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