Discussing Puberty with Girls

It might be your worst nightmare, or a bonding experience you are looking forward to, but almost every parent will admit worrying about raising the topic of puberty with their child. Girls and boys need a slightly different ?talk?, so knowing what to say to one and what to say to the other can be a minefield. After all, we all want to strike the right balance between giving them all the information they want or need and giving them too much information and confusing them.

Discussing Puberty with GirlsEven worse is the thought of frightening them; it is a scary time for many children and however far away from approaching puberty they might be, a certain amount of apprehension is natural. Girls reach puberty between the ages of 8 and 13, but earlier or later are not unheard of. If you are concerned about how your daughter is developing, speak to your doctor.

What do Girls Need to Know?

You need to establish how much detail you want to go into with your daughter. Describe in language they can understand that hormones in their body, especially Estrogen will be making lots of changes. Explain these changes;

? Body hair ? this will grow under the arms and in the pubic area. It’s completely normal and everyone has it, boys and girls. They will also notice more hairs on their legs as well. Explain that this is all part of growing up and nothing to be embarrassed about.

Body odour ?

this is a difficult subject for many girls. Around the time of puberty, they might notice that their body smells differently, especially under the arms and between the legs. This is normal and it just means she might want to shower more often, or choose some nice new toiletries.


spots are difficult for self-conscious young people. Ensure she knows that any acne she has won?t last forever. Make it easy for her to get products to help and if the problem is severe, discuss it with a doctor.

Body shape ?

the body changes during puberty so that the hips become wider and the breasts develop. Whether your daughter is flat-chested or has already developed breasts, she will probably be self-conscious about them. Make sure she has a good fitting bra when she feels ready for it and explain that everyone develops at different rates, so what they have now, is not necessarily what they will have later.

Periods ?

this is the aspect of puberty that is usually the focus of the ?talk?. Periods usually begin up to two years after the breasts develop but this is a very rough guide, and your daughter may begin a menstrual period at any stage during puberty. Make sure your child understands why periods happen ? explain that the body cleverly prepares the womb for pregnancy each month with a thicker lining. When this lining isn?t needed (i.e. the egg is not fertilised, there is no pregnancy), it is passed through the vagina as blood. If your daughter is not aware of periods, she might be alarmed at this! Explain that this happens to every woman each month and it is normal and natural and healthy. Show her some of the products women use during this time ? let her see the sanitary towels and tampons and explain how they are used. Encourage her to be prepared for a period arriving by carrying a few items with her. Again reassure her that there is no ?right? or ?wrong? time for a period to arrive.

Emotional Changes ?

one of the things that parents might leave out when discussing puberty with their child is the effect it may have on how she feels. She may feel self-conscious, shy and embarrassed easily. She may feel physically awkward. She might find that she loses her temper more often or is prone to mood swings. Make sure she knows that these changes are caused by the same hormones that cause the physical changes.

Most importantly, reassure her that these changes will happen to everyone, and everyone gets used to them. Puberty can be difficult, but it doesn?t last forever.