You don't want to leave it to the gossip she hears at school. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret doesn't quite spin it the way you'd want it presented. And you certainly can't count on school sex ed to do it justice. So how do we parents talk to our daughters about when Aunt Flow comes to town?
What's happening to me?
When I went through this girly right of passage, my mom bought me a great book What's Happening To Me?. My friend Kittie and I would sit on my bed and read this puppy out loud, roaring at the funny pictures -- the flat-chested girl holding up the giant bra, the boy standing on the end of a diving board with his Johnson sticking straight out, the poor kid changing his sheets after his wet dream. We hooted our way through the book, but at the end, we didn't really know that much about what would actually happen when the Judy Blume moment occurred.
So when I got caught unprepared at school, wearing a white skirt without any feminine protection, I found myself scuttling like a crab with my back against the lockers until my friend Jennifer rescued me with a clean pair of gym shorts and a giant maxi pad diapers that left me doing the bow-legged walk of shame. Way to welcome in womanhood. Just call me Big Red. Woo hoo, thank you very much.
That was a long time ago and despite the fact that there is more education out there for girls and women than ever before, my experience is still shared by a lot of preteens even today. There has to be a better way!
My daughter has a little ways to go before I face this issue, but it occurs to me I will have to face it! How might we help our daughters experience this puberty moment without the undue embarrassment many of us faced? Here are a few tips.
12 Tips For Helping Your Daughter Mature Gracefully
Most of all, let your tween know that you're here for her, no matter what, and that being female is a blessing, not a curse. How you model this time in her life will lay the groundwork for how she feels about being a woman. You want her to embrace her femininity, not resent it, so stay positive, demonstrate your own feminine power, and you will raise an empowered daughter who isn't afraid of her period.
Dr. Lissa Rankin is an OB/GYN physician, an author, a nationally-represented professional artist, and the founder of Owning Pink, an online community committed to building authentic community and empowering women to get- and keep- their "mojo". Owning Pink is all about owning all the facets of what makes you whole- your health, your sexuality, your spirituality, your creativity, your career, your relationships, the planet, and YOU. Dr. Rankin is currently redefining women’s health at the Owning Pink Center, her practice in Mill Valley, California. She is the author of What's Up Down There? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St. Martin's Press, September 2010).