Pimples. Body odor. Hair in weird places. The tween and early teen years are full of so many changes. There are physical and emotional changes going on. Ready or not, puberty is going to arrive sooner than later.
As we talked about growing up one day, Emma declared she wanted to know what was going to happen to her body before it happened. She wanted to be prepared. She didn’t want any surprises.
So, what’s a mom to do when her daughter wants to be prepared, and mom is so not ready to go there? I don’t remember having discussions about puberty with my mom. I wanted Emma to be ready for changes, and I did not want her learning everything from her friends. But, I didn’t know exactly what to say to her. I didn’t know how much information was enough information without being too much.
How to Talk to Your Daughter About Puberty
Be open to discussions. Answer questions. Talk about what’s going to happen to their bodies and their emotions as they go through puberty. It’s ideal to start having conversations between the ages of eight and ten, because kids are going through puberty younger and younger these days. I remember noticing changes in some of the girls in a 4th grade class I taught many years ago.
Be prepared. There are so many resources available to help moms and daughters discuss these changes. Several years ago when Emma and I first started talking about the changes her body was going through or would be going through in the next few years, I gave her The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls. This is a great book to have on hand when you’re ready to talk to your daughter about puberty. It’s a pretty comprehensive book about puberty written by the people at American Girl. The fact that it said “American Girl” on the cover made Emma most excited to read it.
While it’s a very comprehensive book, it lacked a Biblical foundation. Last year, I discovered a brand new book written by the authors of The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. The Talk is the first book in a 3-book series of devotionals for families focusing on sex education. I read it with Emma last year as an introduction to the body and sexuality.
Changes: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty is designed to introduce 8-12 year olds to the physical and emotional changes that come with puberty. Whether you, the parent, read the book and use the information as a natural extension of household conversations or you use the book as a daily devotional, Luke and Trisha Gilkerson have written a book that will make these conversations less awkward.
The book starts with a chapter discussing Jesus’s adolescence. How cool to think that Jesus went through the same changes that your kiddo will! Then, you’ll discuss puberty and hormones before diving into the changes that boys and girls will both go through. You’ll wrap up the devotions with a study of physical attraction, and how it’s all part of God’s design.
Prepare your tween. When you talk to your kids about puberty, you can bring up the fact that there are hygiene products on the market just for them. Manufacturers have created a whole line of products designed specifically for tweens.
For better or worse, Axe carries a whole line of hygiene products for teen boys. From body sprays and deodorants to face wash and shower gels, your guy will start wanting to smell good. Just a word of caution, a little bit of Axe goes a LONG way. I promise.
We’ve got all of the above in our house. Some are already in use. Some are on hand for a day that is approaching faster than I’m ready for. But, we’re as prepared as we can be.
Tweens notice changes happening in their bodies. They notice hair starting to grow where it wasn’t before. They may be getting an occasional pimple. They are starting to have body odor. They may be having growth spurts. They’re changing. And, they’re noticing. Whether or not they say it, they do want to discuss those changes with you.
The authors ofChanges: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty have graciously offered my readers a discount! Use the coupon code Embark10 to save 10% off Changes or the Sex Ed Bundle (The Talk & Changes). This coupon is good through 11/19.