The ups and downs of growing up can leave parents confused, and their daughters bewildered. Every girl’s experience of puberty is different, but this tumultuous time can be easier if you understand what's going on beneath the surface.
Girls Puberty: help your daughter through the transition to womanhood
Puberty in girls: help your daughter through the transition to womanhood
“Where once upon a time girls spent hours on the telephone, passing notes and dealing with drama in the school hallways, these days friendship troubles can be amplified by misreading cues from texts and social-network posts.”
Dr Tara Cousineau
Ask a few questions of your own
Let her answers guide you as to which changes she's finding particularly difficult to cope
Give her space to talk
Use open-ended questions that require more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer, for example:
• What changes have you noticed in your body recently?
• How much have you talked about puberty at school?
• How much do you know about what happens when you start your period?
Get ready for the changes
Organise a shopping trip to choose bras, pads and tampons together. It will save her the embarrassment of asking and give her the opportunity to ask questions
Share your own experiences
Share with your daughter what puberty, and waiting for it, was like for you. Find photos of yourself at her age to look at together
Your daughter's bound to hear some myths and exaggerations about puberty. Help her sort the fact from fiction by giving her puberty facts and being straightforward in your approach
Consider buying her a book about puberty
look through it together or, if she wants to read it alone, encourage her to talk to you afterwards
- Make sure your daughter knows about breast and menstrual changes – it will reassure her to understand that all girls go through these changes and you're there to answer her puberty questions
- Talk to your daughter privately about the options for sanitary protection and how she feels about them. Then next time you're in the supermarket or pharmacy, buy her the sanitary towels and tampons she wants to try when she starts having periods
- Shopping for a first bra can be awkward – some girls resist a bra when it's obvious they need one. A cropped top, bralette or sports bra can help with the transition to a proper bra
- Encourage your daughter to keep a journal or diary (for her eyes only) to help process her feelings. This is a time of huge change and writing things down will help her negotiate her way through it
- Support your daughter in adopting healthy habits, like eating balanced meals, exercising and getting a good night’s sleep
- Stay relaxed. Mums and dads can serve as important role models during their child's puberty. Do this by staying calm and treating your body with respect, eating healthily and being physically active. Handle the high emotions of puberty by taking quiet time for yourself and remembering you're the adult in the relationship