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When to talk about puberty, periods etc?

(36 Posts)
basildonbond Sun 24-Feb-13 09:19:44

Dd is 10 and although she's not showing any physical or emotional signs of puberty yet I've noticed that some of her friends are starting to change shape.

She's not raised the subject and I don't want to steam in with a load of details which aren't relevant to her just yet but obviously don't want to leave it too late ...

I've got a book for her (usbourne's 'what's happening to me?) but having read it through I'm not sure she's quite ready for it

She knows about how babies are made etc and that people change as they become teenagers - do I need to do any more until she either starts changing obviously or starts talking? Fwiw I was very late going into puberty - didn't start periods until I was 13 and no pubic hair anywhere/ breasts until I was about 17

seeker Sun 24-Feb-13 09:25:01

Why do you think she's not ready for the book?

I'm not going to be much help here because I think both girls AND boys should know everything there is to know long before 10, but could you start the conversation by asking her to help unpack the shopping and talk about your tampons or whatever? Good to talk while you're doing something else so it's not so intense. Her friends might well be starting soon, so you want to get in first with the facts, before she hears all sorts in the playground.

basildonbond Sun 24-Feb-13 20:28:04

because she's not showing any interest at all! I've tried raising the subject of changing bodies when we've been doing something else (e.g. going through her wardrobe to see what fits) but she doesn't take up any opening gambit and it seems a bit forced to keep on going when actually she wants to talk about ponies ...

she's not at all interested in boys at the moment (thinks they're annoying), is not into pop culture (showed zero interest in High School Musical when all the other girls at primary were obsessed, wouldn't know who One Direction were if she fell over them, only wants to watch nature docs on tv), would happily spend every waking moment at the stables, in a swimming pool, reading a book or playing the piano.

She's very well aware that some girls bodies have started to change as she swims several times a week with a club and it's pretty obvious

One of her big brothers is going through puberty now so we've talked in general terms about how teenagers' bodies change and how it can be an emotionally turbulent time, the other one hasn't started at all (is 13). We did the where babies come from conversation years ago (at an age appropriate level at the time) but she's not asked any further questions

My dilemma is, do I wait for her to raise the subject, even if it's very tangentially or do I insist on talking to her/making her read books etc and risk boring her/scaring her/her thinking it's completely irrelevant?

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 24-Feb-13 21:40:48

I would err on the side of telling her earlier rather than later for several reasons:

You have a window of opportunity now to start a pattern of being able to talk about this stuff together naturally and without embarrassment. If you wait too long, you risk her entering that phase of being so mortified that she doesn't really hear anything you are saying.

It's much better for her to receive accurate information from you than myths in the playground.

If and when her school does PSHE about puberty or sex ed, she would be better off having some idea about the content of the lessons rather than going in totally clueless, as happened to some of DS1 and DS2's friends.

Meglet Sun 24-Feb-13 21:45:39

10 isn't that young TBH, I'd tell her now. DS is only 6 but he had the talk on how babies are made when he started reception, to stop him picking up silly rumours at school.

I was going to do the puberty thing in a few months, way before it kicks in at school so he also understands when his friends start to go through it.

snice Sun 24-Feb-13 21:48:32

I'd be amazed if she wasn't about to learn all this at school in PHSCE given that shes 10 so either yr 5 or 6

MrsSham Sun 24-Feb-13 21:53:14

I personally feel comfortable with very young children knowing these things as young as they need, but I have a dd that asks about these things at a very young age. So I can kind of see the awkwardness in approaching the subject with a dd that does not question, but you have already showed that the subject is relevant and you have also pointed out some ideal opportunities where the subject can be elaborated on.

If you not sure about how to go about it just give her the book, tell her you found it in the book store and thought it would be ideal for her to either read together or on her own, tell her you can answer any questions she had.

Or you could leave to school, do they do this kind of subject in y5? I would rather go with the book and general chats where you give information rather than general discussions though.

MrsSham Sun 24-Feb-13 21:55:19

I ment specific chats, that does not even make sense now grin

ripsishere Mon 25-Feb-13 00:43:59

I'd be surprised if she didn't know about puberty and periods from the school playground.
In your situation, I'd leave the book in her bedroom.

Crazyx4 Mon 25-Feb-13 17:38:41

I know what you mean about the book. I got it for my 10 year old but did feel there were some things in it that weren't relevant to her age or maturity. Will hang onto it for another few months. We have had talks so she knows the basics. I think you just have to use your judgement based on your own child, not everyone else's. I have a friend who told her 5 year old absolutely everything, which I feel is irresponsible as I am conscious that my younger daughter will be told in the playground by her.

MrsSham Mon 25-Feb-13 18:50:55

Why is it irresponsible to tell young children?

ThreeBeeOneGee Mon 25-Feb-13 18:55:12

I don't think it's irresponsible to give the information to a younger child, so long as you add the rider that most parents prefer to decide when to tell their children about this stuff, so it would be inappropriate to share the information they have just learnt with their friends in the playground.

seeker Mon 25-Feb-13 18:59:15

Irresponsible? To give children accurate factual information? What a very odd thing to think!

MrsSham Mon 25-Feb-13 19:00:55

I don't agree, that then gives them the message what they know is wrong. It's just the way it goes as far as I'm concerned and young children in my experience just take that kind of info for granted and tend to not feel the need to share it with their peers.

Hulababy Mon 25-Feb-13 19:07:13

My DD is 10 (11 in April). At Christmas she began her periods. She had been developing for well over a year before that. In her Y6 class there are 3 out of 11 girls who have started already. I know the girls talk about it so it's important to have covered it at home before the talk starts imo.

It would have been very irresponsible of me to have NOT told her about puberty by now imo! She has known about puberty and periods since being much younger, she also covered puberty and periods in Y5 last year at school. She's had the Usbourne book for a couple of years.

DD knows about sex and how babies are "made"; not sure when exactly tbh - but for a year or so I think. She has know how babies get out since being a toddler.

ELR Mon 25-Feb-13 19:08:26

Maybe inconvenient for the other parents but not irresponsible.
If you feel it's not the right time, I would just give her the book to read. My dd is also ten and I have not sat her down and told her everything but we have had various conversations over the last year about periods, boobs, pubic hair ect.

Crazyx4 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:54:02

I'm not saying people are irresponsible for telling children things. I think I worded that last one badly. (Sorry, v v tired tonight). My 6 year old knows plenty and I am very open with her. My friends child though seems to know way more than she should and I do worry what my own dd is hearing. (Friends dd has often come out with "did you know...".) i think each child is an individual and you have to judge the appropriate time to tell them things. My 6 year old knows a lot more than my 10 year old did at that age because she is naturally more curious. My 10 year old isn't really interested in asking for any more info and, like OPs child, isnt that bothered. I think you have to follow your instinct and take their lead a bit.

seeker Tue 26-Feb-13 10:54:03

"My 6 year old knows plenty and I am very open with her. My friends child though seems to know way more than she should"

What sort of things?

raomegha Tue 02-Sep-14 07:46:16

Its better for kids to know things before they start with puberty. Instead of getting shocked with changes they go through , its always good be keep kids prepared and explain in detail what changed they would face .To make it easy for parents i m sharing and interesting video i m sure i would helping making a better understanding.

stripedtortoise Tue 02-Sep-14 07:58:03

I don't mean to be rude, but whether she likes One Direction is not going to impact on whether or not she has periods.
She's going to get her periods no matter what she watches on TV and you should tell her all about her regardless of her interest in boys.

LizzieMint Tue 02-Sep-14 08:22:58

I've just ordered the same book for my 8 year old, I'd rather she knew all the info well in advance. I don't have periods so it's not something that has ever come up and it's about the only puberty-related thing we haven't talked about yet. But I was 10 when my periods started so I want to give her plenty of time to get used to the idea.
Generally I would say the younger the better.

ilovepowerhoop Tue 02-Sep-14 08:29:02

I talk to both dd (10) and ds (7) informally in the car and just general chit chats. I have got dd the Lillets starter set and some towels/tampons. Some of the girls in dd's class have started already and she has got pubic hair and is developing breasts so I dont think it will be that much longer until she starts her periods.

I sympathise, my DD (8) and DS (10) have never shown the slightest bit of interest, despite an open door policy in the bathroom. However I have made sure we talk about puberty and sex, partly by means of a book, partly just through chat as the opportunity arises, but I have definitely had to do all the running on this.

Heyho111 Wed 03-Sep-14 22:43:08

I totally agree with seeker children should be taught much younger and it built on. She probably knows a lot of info already and quite a bit of incorrect stuff as well. I'm not sure what info there is to worry about. It's all natural development. Making it something inappropriate to talk about naked it an issue. Then the problems start.

oldspeckledtam Fri 05-Sep-14 11:28:53

I sat down with my 8 year old just this summer. I bought her the What's Happening to me book. We read the headings and discuss it in simple terms and I did periods in detail. Then sent her off with the book and told her to come yo me with questions. She has had her nose in the book solidly for a week now, with odd questions every so often!

Dd has many friends with older sisters and I wanted to talk to her before she got second hand information. She knows she can't share the book, or talk about it with any of her friends UNLESS I've spoken to their mum already!

I am pretty sure she'll get a basic talk in Y4 at school at some point, so there will be no surprises there now. I think that it's my duty as a parent to educate her on this and while I've found it difficult on a personal level, my discomfort comes second to my desire to keep our communication open and honest.

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