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How to Talk to Daughters About Early Physical Development


By Jodie Lynn
www.ParentToParent.com



QUESTION:

My daughter is only 10 but she is already developing breasts. She is very embarrassed and certainly doesn't want to discuss it with me. How is the best way to handle a conversation with her pertaining to this sensitive topic, as I'm sure she will also start her period soon as well?

ANSWER FROM READER:

My daughter also developed early at nine years old. Although it was a couple of years later when she started her period, we asked her pediatrician what to do, especially since she had a great relationship with her. We were happy that her doctor was female and could relate well with her. She also made suggestions to us that were doable. We definitely experienced some challenges, since she didn't want to talk to us about the change. She was an only child but she did have a cousin who had also developed early and was three years older. We asked her if she was comfortable in sharing some of her experiences with our daughter and she agreed. This helped immensely. In fact, between the pediatrician and her cousin, she did become more comfortable with the situation without too much embarrassment. If your daughter has someone she can talk with that she trusts and respects, even if it's a friend or relative that has gone through this, maybe try that first. - J. K. in Chicago, IL

FROM JODIE:

The early physical development of young girls is more commonplace than many parents realize. In our everyday, harried world, we just don't anticipate our kids physically developing quite this early and apparently, neither do they. It's usually embarrassing to most girls this age, but can sometimes also be a tad upsetting to the parents. They can certainly sense our uneasiness, which makes them feel that much more awkward. Most elementary schools will show students in the fifth and sixth grades educational videos on the developing bodies of both male and female, including the reproductive system. Some have even started as early as fourth grade. Parents receive a permission form from the school which parents have to sign in order for the student to view it. Check with your daughter's school and ask if this is an upcoming event. If so, maybe prepare her for it and talk to her about what she is going to see. This way, you can use the topic as a tool to talk with her about her own development. Try to prepare yourself first, before you go in for the information session. You want her to understand that this is just part of life and is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. If you discuss things in small doses with a little time in between, it'll give her the opportunity to digest what has already been said. If she refuses to participate too much in the conversation, take this as a sign of a stopping point. When she is ready, she will come to you.

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including eDiets.com, KeepKidsHealthy.com, ClubMom.com, BabyUniverse.com, CatholicMom.com, MainStreetMom.com and MommiesMagazine.com. Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit www.ParentToParent.com for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.

 

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