There really is no magical age to have "the talk" with your daughter. Every year, Van Wert Health presents an event called "It's a Girl Thing" where staff from Van Wert Health present information about adolescence and growing up to young ladies ages 9-12. This event can help get the conversation started with your daughter and encourages ongoing, open dialogue about all the changes her body and mind will go through as she grows and develops.
Talking about puberty isn’t a one-time conversation as as a parent, it's your job to listen to her concerns and keep the lines of communication open. Here are some tips on how to make that happen:
- Be honest, open and reassuring. Puberty can be such an awkward time. Help your child understand that they’re not alone in this.
- Sometimes kids only want an answer to one question. Give them little bits and let them digest that. You don’t have to cover everything in one conversation.
- Look for age-appropriate books and read them with your child.
- Leave a human development book in an easily accessible place in your home. Tell your children if they’re too embarrassed to ask you a question, they can get the right answer in the book (rather than a wrong answer from a friend). Every girl who attends "It's a Girl Thing" event receives a copy of the Care and Keeping of You resource book, which is intended for girls ages 8+. Your pediatrician may have more recommendations.
- Don’t worry about saying things perfectly. Take a deep breath and dive in. It’s OK if it’s not perfect. The important thing is that it’s coming from you.
- When you’re asked a question, follow up with a question: Was someone else talking about that? Do you want to know more? Did your friend have a question?
- Points to emphasize: This is nothing to be embarrassed about. Everyone goes through puberty. It’s a perfectly natural and healthy process. Your child can come to you with any questions.
- I’m sure you remember from your own adolescence that puberty can be hard to go through. You can help make it easier on your child by empowering them with knowledge so they know why their bodies are going through these changes.