Most teenage girls will get their period when they are 10 to 13 years old. However, some kids will mature very early, and develop the early signs of puberty (growth spurts, developing breasts, hair growth) as early as 8 years old. Studies show that the cases of early onset puberty have dramatically risen.
When this happens to your child you will need to give extra support and keep extra watchful eye. Though your daughter is physically maturing, she still acts like kids her age and may not know how to deal with being the first of her peers to ‘look different.’ Here are tips on how to help.
The first thing you need to do is to talk about the situation, honestly and with no embarrassment. Explain that all girls go through this but she may have gotten it earlier. There is no need to talk about sex, unless asked. Instead, talk about how these changes mean that she needs to practice certain hygiene and be more conscious of how she behaves, because she is now ‘a lady.’ You may also want to get her books that help explain the bodily changes in a way that kids understand.
However, don’t just plop the books on the bed and let her read it on her own. Browse the book so you can adapt the terms and be familiar with how the book explains things—it can create a starting point for your own conversations. Think of this as a new chapter in your mother daughter relationship, where you slowly introduce her to the proper way of carrying herself or taking care of herself now that she has taken the first step towards becoming a woman.
Your child may be teased by her peers, so you may have to teach her to assert herself and rehearse ways of dealing with this with grace and composure. Help her think of one liners like ‘It happens to everyone!’ or ‘Hey, it’s no big deal! Everyone’s unique!’ that can help her cope with what others say. At the same time, keep an eye out for any signs that your child is going through emotional strain or is developing insecurity issues. Keep reaching out and talking to her and let her know that you’re around if she needs to talk.
On a more pragmatic level, schedule a trip to pediatric endocrinologist to rule out that the early onset of puberty is not a sign of another condition.
Photo from telegraph.co.uk
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