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DSD(10) denies starting puberty(54 Posts)
DSD is 11 in 2 months. She started puberty at the end of last year and has had her period since the summer which she is all completely in denial about. She insists that she hasn't started her period, doesn't have boobs, doesn't have body hair and doesn't need deodorant whenever I've try to talk to her about it which I know isn't the case. She spends most of her time here and its not something that her mum will have anything to do with so leaving it to her isn't an option. Her dad tried to talk to her but basically just told her to come to me and I will help and dsd denied to him that anything was happening.
I've bought her everything she could possibly use and nothing has even been opened. Deodorant isn't a huge problem as she showers every morning and only smells a bit by the end of the day but it shows how set she is on refusing to acknowledge anything to do with puberty. Not wearing a bra or shaving also wouldn't be an issue if she wasn't interested in either but she refuses to wear anything other than baggy tops with sleeves and long trousers so she obviously isn't comfortable with her chest or body hair.
She has pads in her room and in the bathroom which she knows about and how to use but chooses to use toilet roll instead which shes hidden in various places in her room. Every month her underwear, bedding and most of her clothes end up with blood on and stuffed in the bottom of her wardrobe. I put a special rubbish bin and laundry bin with a lids on in her room but they still go somewhere else and I've put pads in some of her underwear for her to just take out but they have just been pushed to the back.
I've tried being sensitive and kind about it. I've haven't spoke to her about it out loud for the last two months and have given her a few notes instead and have always cleared everything up discretely for her so she doesn't get embarrassed but I ha vent achieved anything.
I feel really out of my depth, I'm not very good at this sort of thing and I think we are probably quite different. Its not something I was embarrassed about or would have done at her age so I can't understand how she feels or why despite being given everything she needs to make it easier to deal with she is still choosing to make everything more difficult. I'm starting to get frustrated by it now and have no idea but what I'm supposed to do next. I'm considering being a bit strict with her and making her come and clean up if I find anything but don't know if that's the wrong thing to do and will just push her away and make it more difficult?
I suspect me being just her step mum and her not having a mum she can talk to is part of the problem which is also something I am no good at talking about.
Why don’t you show her how to do laundary so she can do it herself? A lot of kids prefer to do their own laundary at that age. As for sanitary products, this is where her dad needs to come in. It is absolutely unacceptable for her not to wear them. You should buy every single type of product you can — tampons / lillets / silk lined pads / cotton / scented / unscented / washable and he needs to tell her she must try them during her period. He needs to be tough here because one leakage at school will make this, clearly depressed little girl, even more depressed through bullying etc.
I think you need to leave her, you seem very over invested.
She is clearly very embarrassed. You are making it a big thing, she wants to down play it. The more you go on, the more she will withdraw.
Leave her alone.
She is very young, still in primary and most of her friends won't have started yet. Once she gets to secondary and everyone has periods it may be different.
Leave the pads out in the bathroom. You don't need to put special laundry baskets out, that's making it a big thing, you don't need to go in her bedroom. You know she has toilet roll hidden all over the bedroom? Why? You've clearly been looking around.
Give the girl some privacy. It's her home too. You've nothing to be frustrated about she's not hurting anybody.
I would be more than happy to leave it alone if she was dealing with it and just didnt want to talk to me but she's not.
I don't want anything to happen at school or when she's anywhere else
Show her how to use the washing machine and stop being discreet about clearing away her mess. She needs to face up to this before she gets bullied. Toilet roll doesn't cover the smell.
Is there a woman or older teen who she admires and looks up too who could have a chat with her maybe?
Really it should be her parents dealing with this.
What you're describing isn't unusual at all. It's a bewildering time and she'll wonder what the hell is going on. She'll start to get her head around it in her own time.
You've done the best you can for now. Make sure she's got access to what she needs but without being over the top. One pack of sanitary towels, liners and tampons is sufficient, and a little purse to put bits in for school. She knows she can talk to you if she needs to, no need to push it and definitely no need to tell her what she "must" do, that's just going to shut down what is currently a good relationship.
And if you do realise she's started, or she's got PMT, the occasional bar of chocolate left by her bed will always be appreciated and hopefully make her smile!
Surely leaving a not coping 10yo to her own devices is terrible? Her df needs to step up, and try the not so softly approach. Not using sanitary products will mean she smells imo! I still remember the poor girl from school who's dm didn't buy for her and frankly she stunk. Target for bullying and her self esteem.
totally disagree with steak and kidney.
She is in primary school, of course you know if she has things stuffed in her bedroom, you go in to clean and change bedding etc.
There is a difference between giving privacy and ignoring a genuine problem. Of course she can downplay it, but she is bleeding all over her bed, the house, her clothes!
I would be strict, but I would do it like this.
It is not acceptable to leave blood stains all over clothes and bedding, because you are not using sanitary products, that is not how the world works. You have tried very hard to provide what she needs, and she is choosing not to follow any of it.
So - ultimatum, she has to do something. She can choose who she talks to, or where she gets her information from, (give her lots of suggestions - Dad, auntie, pharmacist, school counsellor, GP, GP practice nurse, internet) but she needs to find out how to look after herself. You are there and very happy to give her as much support as she needs, but you are also fine for her to get that support from elsewhere.
I would also mention that many girls find it all a bit much at first, and it can help to talk to someone. I would then drop in a name casually, if you can think of anyone. Is there an older girl teen who might help?
I'm just going from how I'd feel I suppose.
I'd not want to talk to you, I'd be ashamed and embarrassed.
Perhaps like others have said, a note saying for hygiene reasons she has to use the pads.
Good point about self harm though.
I don't want to jump onto something that takes this way out of proportion, but this sounds like my behaviour towards the start of puberty when I was young. I too started puberty around then, refused to act like it was happening and wore baggy clothes, but I was being sexually abused. It made me turn away from anything to do with my body changing because I didn't want to be becoming more 'desirable'. I'm not saying anyone is abusing your DSD but it might be worth having a think about? I'm so sorry to even be writing this OP and hope so, so much that she's just hating puberty because it sucks, not anything worse.
I had a similar situation with my DSD, now 13. Several years ago I bought pads and casually showed her where they were. I also asked if she knew about periods (she said yes, and changed the subject), and told her she could always come to me. I left it at that, assuming she would indeed come to me, but she didn't; I deduced that she had started her periods because of the stained underwear, month after month. If I asked about it, she denied having started, so I felt there wasn't much I could do, other than remind her where the pads were (though the stock never dwindled). Things went on like this for quite some time, with me asking occasionally if there was anything she needed, and her saying no. She did tell me at one point, once she had conceded that she had in fact started her periods some time ago, that she brought pads from her mum's (she's with us half the time), and I replied that if she was happy doing that, it was fine, but that we could also buy them for her here; she quickly changed the subject, so I dropped it.
Then, just last week, she confidently told me, in front of DH, that she was running out of pads, and asked me to buy some more for next month. I feel sorry that she didn't feel able to talk about it sooner, because I imagine she must have been feeling quite alone, but I think she needed to get to this point on her own.
Perhaps now we'll be able to tackle the BO issue, which we also have...
You think a 10 year old needs to shave her body hair??
This child is being let down by both her parents. Her father needs to step up, since she lives with him.
Has she read any books about growing up? She's quite young and must be embarrassed, but obviously you'd want to stop her leaving clothes and loo roll about like that. Girls Only by Victoria Parker is a good book which might help.
Poor kid. I hid it for the first few days (I was only 8) but it quickly became too heavy to hide with toilet roll. I’m sorry but I do think you need to get someone else involved in this (like GP or someone at her school) because this doesn’t sound like she’s in a good place.
My DD, who I am very close to and we talk about lots of things, finds talking about periods/sex/etc, excruitiatingly embarrassing. If your DSD is still in primary, she probably won't have had the Sex Ed lesson either. If you find it hard to talk about (and I would have with my DSD too) I think the advice to get a good book, a range of sanitary products and a gentle talking too about laundry may be helpful.
She is still very young and this is a difficult time. Be kind.
This sounds exactly like me at that age. I started age 10. I was absolutely in denial about it. I also hid stuff around my room and refused to talk about it. My mother sat me down gently after a few months had gone by and explained she was worried. She bought me books on the subject (well before internet days) and after a few weeks went by I started to accept it and use pads etc. She also bought me some 'fancy' pants and said if I didn't use the pads I'd ruin the nice pants. I didn't use the pads at first and my nice pants had to be thrown away! This kick Started me thinking I needed to accept it. I don't think she needs to shave yet though - she can do this in her own time if she chooses to. I would also let her choose her own deodorant too, mum tried to make me use the same as her but I just wanted the cool stuff!
Another vote for period pants. They do need to be washed after use though and in a special cold waster wash (the ones my DD uses anyway, not sure about other brands).
My DD wears them every day of the month, prefers them to normal undies as she doesn’t have to worry about period coming on, starting at night when she’s in bed etc, all covered. Not sure what brands you have available there, we are not in the UK and my DD uses a USA brand that ships internationally. Lots of funky colours/patterns for teens.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Buy her period pants and get rid of all her old ones and get her new ones.
Her dad needs to sit down with her and you and speak to her and yes she may cringe but she’s being let down big time! You can’t just assume she knows how to use all the stuff you should all sit together and explain it all.
Can her mum not come by to explain it all?
As a Head of Year in a secondary school, I dealt with this three times. One girl was being abused. One was emotionally very young, scared and wanted to ignore all the ways her body was changing.The other was struggling with her sexuality. I am not suggesting any of these is the case with your DSD but just saying sometimes there are underlying reasons that are not straightforward. Could you talk to the school nurse?
I was being sexually abused. It made me turn away from anything to do with my body changing because I didn't want to be becoming more 'desirable
This, and the secrecy about her room, did cross my mind as well
Get Modibodi period pants, enough for her to wear a pair each day. Then get rid of all her other underpants. Period pants remove all those problems which you've been concerned about - she won't have to use pads or tampons, won't have to use toilet paper either. There won't be blood on her clothes or the sheets. She won't have any leaking accidents at school.
By removing all those issues, you may find that she becomes more comfortable about the whole situation of having an early puberty. As she gets older and her friends also arrive at puberty, she'll find herself amongst girls who are just the same as her, and she may well adjust at that time. Good luck .
@HoppingPavlova and anyone else who's DD uses period pants. I have been looking at these and am unclear if one would last all day or if she would need to change them while at school like you would a regular tampon / pad / cup or even more frequently perhaps. . What brand do you recommend? You mentioned funky colours etc which sounds nice.
Thank you for the replies. I definitely need to have the conversation again with her when she gets back from school. Even if she gets upset and refuses to say anything, I will go through it all and the different options of things to use and people to talk to that she has.
She read a book called 'What's happening to me' and we spoke about everything about this time last year and she was fine with it, would ask me lots of questions and bring the conversation up randomly throughout the day. I think (hope) she just didn't feel ready to start so just ignored so it might go away and has now worked herself up into believing its a really big deal.