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Your Refresher Course in Puberty

It probably feels like 5 minutes ago you were changing her nappy and now you’re wondering when and how to start talking to your daughter about her first period?

Cast your mind back to your 13 year old self…

Whether you want to double check your facts or are unsure where to start, we wanted to make it easier for both of you by providing helpful advice, tips and resources specifically for you, the bearer of puberty news!

Ok, so it might be unchartered territory for you, navigating hormones, mood swings, irritability and body changes. It may be a while since you experienced all of this and the world has changed since then but together, we’ve got this. All the information you need, questions you’d like answered? It’s all here!

Reassurance is key

While some girls see “teen” changes as an exciting phase in growing up, many wonder if what they’re experiencing is normal, especially if they’re the first or last in their class to spot the signs of puberty.

Our first tip; reassure and remind your daughter that she is unique, one of a kind, and will experience the signs of her first period and other changes at different times from her friends.

Puberty for most girls, begins around 11 or 12, but can start as early as 8 or as late as 18.

The first signs might be breast development, hair growing under the arms and between the legs, but it still might be a couple of years until her first period arrives.

Because your daughter is unique, it’s impossible to predict when she’ll start seeing signs of puberty so use this time to prepare. Make sure your questions are answered so you can provide the information, guidance and reassurance she needs when she’s ready.

Signs your daughter is going through puberty:

  • Breasts starting to develop
  • Discharge in underwear
  • The body starting to change shape and size
  • Pubic and under arm hair growing
  • Body odour more noticeable
  • Hair often greasy
  • Noticeable mood swings
  • Spots may start to appear on the face, chest and back
  • Stomach, lower back and groin cramps experienced

Talking about periods

The most common first sign of change, breasts can start developing two years before her first period. She may start to feel self-conscious and be wondering when and if she needs to wear a bra but might be too embarrassed to ask. Why not try giving some gentle guidance and offer to take her shopping for her first bra fitting? Don’t be disappointed or surprised if she declines though, she might need more time so try again in a few months.

This is something lots of teens ask about, so we know it’s a common concern. Discharge is one of the clearest signs that a period is about to start. It’s completely normal for discharge to vary in colour throughout the month from clear to creamy yellow.

You could suggest your daughter uses panty liners to help her feel fresh and clean, it’s why we designed liners specially for them. They’re smaller in length, narrower and come in re-sealable pouches, perfect for storing discreetly in a school or sports bag.

Weight and the worry about weight gain can be part and parcel of puberty. Hips may become wider and the tummy a little rounder, but it’s important your daughter knows these changes are a sign that she’s normal and healthy so should be celebrated.

Puberty is such a busy time for the body, it is vital your teen eats a healthy diet. Perhaps consider increasing mealtime portions, if she feels the need to snack a lot between meals.

It’s only natural that sprouting body hair might make your daughter self-conscious. She might want to remove it ASAP. We hear from girls as young as 10, wanting to know how to remove hair from their legs, under arms and pubic area! So, if you find your daughter is one of them, the decision about whether she removes any hair must be yours. If you say no, perhaps suggest discussing it again in 6 months’ time, rather than closing the door on the subject altogether.

OK, so she might be hogging the bathroom longer than you’d like but she’s trying to get to grips with lots of change. She’ll probably sweat more, need to wash her hair more often and potentially have a few spots on her face or back.

To make this time positive and less stressful for her, why not help your daughter find some toiletries of her own and offer advice on a good skincare routine, reassuring her that the odd breakout of spots is completely normal.

Can you remember your pubescent years? Happy one minute, angry, frustrated and tearful the next! The teenage years can be a rollercoaster of emotions; and whilst it’s a strain on her, both physically and mentally, it can be hard on those close by too.

But it’s good to talk, so why not wait until things have calmed and then let her know you understand what she’s going through and offer to listen when she wants to talk.

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