Nothing is more distressing than experiencing bodily changes without an explanation. Instead of asking for help or sharing their concerns, many girls will remain bewildered and confused about puberty. To avoid this, talk with your daughter and open a dialogue about female health.
You can prepare your daughter for the upcoming changes and keep confusion at bay by talking to her about what to expect well before the process begins. To ease through these conversations, you must first learn how to talk to your daughter about female health, menstrual cycles, and visits with the gynecologist.
Important Topics to Cover
Before you start the conversation with your daughter, briefly plan out the topics you will discuss to keep the dialogue moving forward. Otherwise, your daughter may end up feeling too overwhelmed to absorb the information you provide. Make sure your talk touches on the following points to cover the most important aspects of this confusing time in her life.
1. General Body Changes
A rundown of the potential puberty changes can help your daughter accept the bodily alterations as a normal part of growing up. Tell your daughter about body fat distribution changes, breast enlargement, hair growth, and acne during your talk. Discuss the need for sports bras and regular bras, facial cleansing routines and a healthy diet. Encourage your daughter to come to you if any changes feel startling or abnormal, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
Without a descriptive warning, the start of the menstrual cycle completely catches preteen and teen girls off guard. Far too many girls have noted feeling like they were stricken with a disease or even dying upon noticing the flow of period blood. Learning how to talk to your daughter about her period will help ensure she never feels this way when this event occurs. You should give your daughter the rundown on the way the uterus works to prepare her for this monthly event. Also, your talk should touch upon monthly cycle irregularities, personal hygiene requirements, and the use of pads and tampons to give her the information she needs.
3. Gynecologist Visit
After puberty begins, a trip to the gynecologist is in order. Since gynecological exams can feel intrusive and embarrassing to young girls, try to discuss what to expect at each visit. Your daughter’s first appointment with a gynecologist will help establish a pattern of regular checkups in order to facilitate early detection of problems later in life. Your daughter will likely need to undergo external examination of the genitals and a breast exam, but pap smears do not occur until about 21 years of age.
Tips for Establishing a Dialogue
As you approach these talks with your daughter, be prepared for a variety of reactions, ranging from embarrassment to anger. You must remain calm and present the facts in a brief, informative manner to keep the dialogue going. Answer any questions your daughter may have as completely as you can. If you cannot provide the answers she seeks, write down the questions for her gynecologist to address during the first appointment. Girls who resist receiving this information from their parents often accept the facts from their gynecologist instead, so do not worry if the conversation does not go to plan.
Helping Your Daughter Navigate Female Health Care
Start these conversations early to help your daughter through the process of puberty. By understanding normal bodily changes and functions, your daughter can better detect developing problems and report them to her gynecologist. To schedule your daughter’s first gynecologist visit and subsequent appointments, contact The Woman’s Clinic in Little Rock by calling 501-664-4131.