How should I prepare my tween for puberty?
Real Mom Problem
“My daughter is not very open with me on the subject of puberty and her changing body even though I have tried and still try all of the time. I don't want her to be embarrassed about her changing body.”
- 1. Start talking to your tween about puberty early, so he or she gets the information from you and not from other kids
- 2. Consider helpful aids such as books, movies, TV shows, amd health websites
- 3. Recommended books include "The Care and Keeping of You" for girls and "The 'What's Happening to My Body' Book for Boys"
- 4. Remind them that you're always there to talk and answer questions
Real Mom Solutions
Preparing your kids for puberty can be tough. It's a confusing time for them -- and for you! See how these moms helped prepare their preteens for puberty.
Start Talking Early -- And Keep It Up
Puberty has not been discussed at school yet, but we've had some talks at home about our son's body changing. Use proper names for things and try to make your child comfortable enough to ask you questions.
I started talking to both of my girls at age seven because that is when I personally started going through puberty. My mom never had the chance to have a talk with me BEFORE I started my period (age eight) because she never dreamed I would start at such a young age. I didn't want my girls to be unprepared like I was. I make sure that I keep the lines of communication open for them in case they need to talk to me about anything. Nothing is off limits at this point in time.
Our daughter has already seen the video on puberty at school. She came home and gave me the packet she got. I told her to read over it and then come talk to me. I asked her if she had any questions and if she knew what she was reading and watching. She said she did.
Ask your daughter if she knows what a period is. See what she says. Then tell her! Just tell her it's a normal part of growing up for girls at her age and explain all the stuff that goes with it. Show her how to put a pad into her panties and make a little pack to keep in her backpack in case she starts at school. And don't be afraid to talk to your daughter! She looks to you for this kind of guidance, and though she (and you!) may feel embarrassed at first, you both will feel so relieved after she understands what's happening to her body. I've always talked to my girls about periods and the changes they will experience with puberty so they won't be scared, and hopefully they know they can come to me with any questions they have. I didn't want them getting misinformation from friends at school because kids can be pretty creative! My 11-year-old daughter and I are actually attending a class this weekend that is all about this. She is learning a lot and we are having fun with other girls learning about their bodies.
I didn't have that talk with my own mother so I wasn't too sure how to talk to my oldest daughter. But when she turned 11, I took her for a drive and talked to her about her body changing and getting ready to prepare her for making babies (I did NOT go into how that happens, though). I told her there is an organ inside her called a uterus that has tissue inside it to eventually cradle a baby when she is ready to become a mom. And I told her until that day each month the tissue will need to be released from her body and that happens by having a period. I explained that the tissue becomes blood. And at that point she asked me "Is that what those pad things are in your bathroom?" So I said yes and I would be happy to give her some for "just in case." I told her to carry one with her in her book bag and if it happens to arrive when she is at school, she can tell the school nurse and call me.
I sat my daughter down at seven years old and told her all about puberty. She is a child that likes to be prepared for EVERYTHING. So I felt I should explain it then. We continue to discuss it now. She will be nine soon and every month now gets super moody, so I know it is getting closer. My mom never explained anything to me and I didn't want my daughter to be unprepared!
While my kids have never approached me with the question about when puberty will happen, we have had numerous discussions regarding it, and about sex. I always jump on the chance to have a discussion. I never push the question to the back burner. I take any and all opportunities to educate my boys.
Provide Books to Help Them Understand
I started talking about periods when my oldest was seven years old, which technically meant that my older middle daughter was five since she got fascinated with the topic after she heard me talking about it to my oldest. I found it easier to talk about the womanly changes of a girl's body by giving them the American Girl book, "The Care and Keeping of You." They both read it and now have no problem with coming to me for any questions they have on the subject, which is what I was hoping for. I also started having my nine-year-old start hiding panty liners in her back pack just in case she starts her period at school.
To help break the ice for the puberty talk, I used a book called "The 'What's Happening to My Body?' Book for Boys." It helped a lot. I gave my son the book when he was nine and we started discussing it in bits and pieces. If you don't start talking to him, he's going to learn things from his friends -- and who knows what kind of misinformation he'll get from them. It's really awkward at first, but as you talk more and more, you do get more used to it.
A book is a great way to start out. Maybe you could start a conversation with, "Hey, since some of the other boys in school are older than you, you might notice...," and go from there. Our first son started needing deodorant in second grade and noticed fuzzy underarm hair in fourth grade, so you do need to have some conversations as soon as possible.