Q&A: Starting the conversation about puberty

Q: Our daughter is almost 10 years old. I’ve assumed that “the conversation” about puberty was still a ways off, but now I’m not so sure; she’s growing up so fast. What do I need to know?

A: There’s some debate about why it’s happening, but there’s no question that puberty is occurring earlier and earlier in girls. For some, it could be as young as seven or eight. Puberty brings about big changes in a girl’s physical development and body image. And that can be scary if she isn’t prepared for what’s coming. That’s why helping your daughter learn what to expect can be crucial to her building a healthy identity.

From a practical standpoint, it’s usually best if mum handles these conversations if possible. She has the personal experience to draw from, and daughters tend to feel more comfortable with another female. This means single dads might want to consider having a trusted family member help out, or perhaps a woman who your daughter knows and respects.

This conversation takes a bit of preparation. Our organisation provides numerous helpful Resources on these issues.

The main thing is to connect with your daughter and reassure her that the coming changes are normal. Be positive and encouraging. And remember, even if your daughter has already entered into puberty, it’s not too late to have an open conversation. This is a great opportunity to reinforce that you’re there to support and walk with her as she grows into womanhood.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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