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Words that matter

Words that matter

It is always a cheerful moment when you have daughter. They seldom leave you alone and are a constant company for mothers. Having daughter is ride of a time machine, you never quite understand when and how did they grow up so fast.

You see them transform into a young girl from little bouncy ponytails running around the house. And as they turn 13, basically hit puberty, it is exactly the time when you can tell them about changes they will be going through. When you talk to your adolescent daughter about puberty, you should emphasize that these changes are part of the natural process of growing into adulthood, stimulated by hormones. Talking about subjects like periods (menstruation) can make parents and kids feel a little uncomfortable. But they need reliable information! Helping your daughter understand their bodies will help them make good decisions about their health.

Now, it is not easy to start talking about all this. There are times where you must step in. So how do you begin the talking process?

There are many opportunities to talk to your daughter. Especially once they start their journey by the age of 10yrs. Many parents have a notion that girls hit puberty once their breast starts to develop. But that is not the case, the peak growth period (in height, weight, muscle mass, etc.) in girls occurs about one year after puberty has begun. Menstruation (period) usually starts about two years after the onset of puberty; on average, the first menstrual period occurs just before girls turn 13.

While some girls start puberty very early, some might start very late. There is no need to over-react to this phenomenon. One thing to keep in mind is that you, as a parent need to fully respect her desire for privacy but keep track of your daughter’s bodily changes. As the age ranges above indicate, there are wide variations of the "normal" onset of puberty. Keep reminding your daughter that while she and her friends will grow at different rates, they will eventually catch up with one another. Avoid good-natured teasing of your daughter about her pubertal development. Because most girls feel self-conscious during this time, they will become embarrassed if they are kidded about the changing shape of their bodies and general appearance.

Talk to your daughter about various changes she is going to go through; the following physical changes that will happen during puberty. The changes are listed in the order in which they generally occur.

Body fat increases
As your daughter grows, she will be turning into a young woman. Thus her body weight will increase, her buttock, and thighs will get heavier while her waist will start to look curvier.

Breasts begin to enlarge
Puberty is commonly recognized by breast development among girls. When breasts start to develop, young ladies may notice small, tender lumps under one or both the sides that will eventually grow bigger over the next few years. When the breasts first begin to develop, it is not unusual for one breast to be larger than the other. However, as they develop, they will most likely even out before they reach their final shape and size. As her breasts develop, she may need a bra. Some girls are comfortable with the first time wearing a bra however, some girls feel embarrassed, especially if they are among the first of their friends to need a bra. Be supportive and sensitive to her needs and reactions.

Pubic hair grows
Hair will start growing. Under-arm, legs, hands, pubic area and they will, with time get thicker and curlier. This may alarm some girls and will ask question. Don’t shy away from these doubts of theirs. If she decides to shave, be sure to teach her to use warm water and soap, and a clean razor made for women. It is a good idea for her to use her own personal razor or electric shaver and not shared one with family members or friends.

First menstrual period occurs
Spend some time helping your daughter prepare for her first period. There is no reason for a girl to be surprised by the first onset of her cycle, not knowing what is happening or why. Menstruation may begin sooner or later but once your daughter’s breast development has started, the two of you should fully discuss the topic of menstruation. If you do not have adequate knowledge, ask your family physician. Some doctors schedule special educational visits at the time of puberty.

It is important to discuss the biology of menstruation, describing it as a normal bodily process. Mention that the periods may be irregular, particularly in the beginning, as her body adapts to rapid physiological changes. Also, let her know that several months before her first period, fluid may be secreted by glands within her vagina. This substance may be clear or white in color and watery to thick in consistency. Make it clear that there is nothing to worry and that this occurrence - called physiologic leukorrhea - is normal. Explain that she may experience some cramping before or during her periods.

Most importantly, discuss hygiene related to menstrual cycles. Be sure your daughter has the supplies she will need for her first period. Since she may be away from home when that first period begins, discuss how to use pads or menstrual cups. Your daughter should understand the need to change her pads or tampons several times a day.

Many girls will ask if they can participate in activities such as swimming, horseback riding, or physical education classes during their periods. Reassure your daughter that she can take part in normal activities while menstruating. Exercise can sometimes even ease the cramps associated with periods.

The most important part about having this topic discusses is that your daughter should know where to rush in need of help. Your one step towards openly discussing these topics will help build an open and clear relation with your daughter.

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