My daughter just turned 10 years old and is in fifth grade. All of a sudden, I’m dealing with pre-teen/teen issues! Toward the latter half of fourth grade, I realized I needed to have “the talk” with her very soon.
Years ago, a pastor’s wife who I looked up to, told me a good time to have “the birds and the bees” talk with your child was age 8 regardless if you’re a boy or a girl. The mother should speak with the daughter and the father should speak with his son. Well, my daughter turned 8 and I avoided the issue because I thought she was too immature to handle it. I realize now that I should’ve had that talk because by 4th grade, your child will hear about it or something along the lines from their friends especially those friends with older siblings!
This past spring, I was getting questions like “What’s a period?” and “When do you start wearing a bra?” I couldn’t handle those questions and ran away from them! To help me out, I got the American Girl book, The Care & Keeping of You:The Body Book for Girls. I had heard it was a very useful resource for many moms. Plus, my daughter loves American Girl. (If your daughter isn’t of age yet, beware of those American Girl dolls!) The book has turned out to be an excellent resource for both of us!
I wish I had spoken to my daughter when she was 8 years old so she’d hear everything from me first, but alas I was too chicken. So, she heard various things this past spring from friends and on the bus and I just turned a deaf ear cringing each time and avoiding the issue! Yes, I couldn’t believe I was acting just like my own 1st generation Korean mom! Shame on me. I wanted to have a much better communication system with my daughter than I did with my mom. Anyways, that’s another topic. My daughter’s birthday was August 13 and for her 10th birthday, I made lunch reservations at the American Girl Café at the American Girl store on 5th Avenue in New York City to celebrate the occasion. I planned on having “the talk.” I think it went well. We talked about the changes in her body that she’d be experiencing, about having her period and what it is. I just didn’t touch on the subject of sex because she’s still too immature for that subject and I didn’t want to start her thinking anything! Okay, I was too chicken!
I could tell she was listening to me, but not really that interested. I think she was having such a good time being at the American Girl store she was a bit distracted. My daughter had her 10 year physical this past week and the doctor noticed her breast buds and talked about the changes her body was going through and how she was expected to have her period in about two years. My jaw dropped to the floor because I couldn’t believe it was just two years. Anyways, my daughter seemed to be listening very intently to her pediatrician. I love my pediatrician! I wish she had spoken to my daughter first! Apparently after her physical she went to school and told her friends that her breast buds popped out. She also discussed what a period is to her friends. This was on the school bus and during recess. A friend of mine (the mother of one of my daughter’s close friends) told me this because her daughter came home with a wealth of information from my daughter! Thank goodness she had already had this talk with her daughter this summer. I was mortified. One important note: my daughter told her friend that I never discussed what a period is with her!!! Hello? What was that whole conversation at American Girl Café on her birthday? I guess she wasn’t listening to me.
Well, I’m sure I’ll be having more talks with my daughter as she enters the teens and I hope to be as communicative and open as I can be.
For those of you who would like more resources on how to speak to your daughter about this. Please check these out:
- The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls (American Girl Library)
- The Feelings Book: The Care & Keeping of Your Emotions (American Girl)
- Is This Normal?: Girls Questions, Answered by the Editors of the Care & Keeping of You (American Girl)
- Period. A Girl’s Guide by Joann Loulan
- Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for those Shaping the Next Generation of Women by James C. Dobson