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Educate Your Daughter About Puberty

Talking To Your Daughter About What Changes To Expect During Puberty

If you have a daughter between the ages of 9 and 13 years old, you might be wondering how it's possible that she's already growing into a young woman. That's right, this is the age when most girls experience puberty, and while it might be hard for you to accept, it's important you start talking to her about the changes she's going to experience.

You'll especially want to point out that there's a natural variation in when girls develop so that she's not insecure about developing too fast -- or not quickly enough -- compared with her peers.

Generally, girls begin puberty with breast development, which starts as lumps under the nipples. Girls begin to grow hair under their arms, on their legs, and around the genitals. Their bodies change as well. They generally go through a growth spurt and develop wider hips and a smaller waist. Due to hormonal changes, girls begin menstruation usually between 9 and 16 years old.

You might consider providing your daughter with some helpful books that will answer her questions about development, such as "Changing Bodies, Changing Lives," "Our Bodies, Ourselves," and "What?s Happening to My Body? Book for Girls: A Growing Up Guide for Parents and Daughters."

These books can provide a common language for you to talk about puberty, and also about dating and sex. It is important to preview any books before your discussion to make sure they are consistent with your values.

It's also important that you talk to your daughter about menstruation. This can be a scary thing for girls if they haven't prepared for it! Have feminine hygiene products available and make sure your daughter knows how to use them.

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