How to talk to your teen daughter about puberty

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Puberty is an important time for girls, in part because they go through so many different physical and emotional changes. Here are tips on how to talk to girls about puberty.

1. Remember your own puberty

What were you too embarrassed to talk about? What do you wish your mother had told you at the time? Or what did she do that made you feel better back then? That will help you relate better to what your daughter is going through now and talk to girls about puberty.

2. Let her know you're always there for her

When girls start puberty, they may feel too shy or embarrassed to talk about the changes they're going through – even if they're desperate to share their feelings or ask questions. It's important to let your daughter know that you're always available to chat. Start by letting her know that you’re always willing to talk. And critically, it's important you remember that 'talking' also means really listening to what she has to say.

3. If she’s moody, don’t take it personally

All the hormonal changes of puberty may mean your daughter has mood swings and bouts of feeling sad or down – she may even react by being openly sulky and rebellious. It’s important not to take this personally, as it’s a normal part of her self-discovery and growing up. Remember that puberty is a time of adjustment when your daughter will be discovering new interests, becoming more aware of sexual attraction, and perhaps feeling that you don’t understand her.

4. Help her expand her support system

There may be times when your mother and daughter relationship is strained and she simply won't want to discuss certain things with you. Try not to take it too personally (remember, your daughter's emotions are in flux at the moment). Rather, encourage her to reach out to other adults – her other parent, grandparents, step parents, carers, teachers – should she need to talk about growing up with someone other than you. Reassure her that your feelings won't be hurt (even if, truth be told, they are a little bit), because what you really want is for her to get the support that she needs. Learn how to encourage her to open up to a trusted adult about her period.

5. Encourage her to do a little reading on her own

A good way to prepare her for any conversation is to suggest some resources (books, articles, websites) and let her do a little homework. Part of making good choices is making informed choices. You can share articles such as Prepare your daughter for her first period (article 19), 

6. Create opportunities to start a conversation

Your daughter may have a lot of questions as she goes through puberty – mainly of the 'am I normal?' variety. Here are some potential questions or topics that you can perhaps use as conversation starters which can help you to talk to girls about puberty.

Let me explain to you what exactly is puberty

It is perfectly normal to put on weight during puberty

Your first period will soon happen

Puberty changes how you think

You can express your feelings a lot better

You might feel really emotional

You might cry a lot

You will feel a lot more womanly

You will think you're weird

Puberty will pass: don't freak out

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