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DD1 is starting puberty; bringing up old issues for me

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

This is just a post in hopes that some moms who have BTDT will have some words of wisdom or commiseration!


My oldest DD, who is just shy of 8.5 years old, apparently is starting puberty. We know this because she complained to my DH (who is a pediatrician) last weekend that one of her nipples felt weird and bumpy underneath, and when he checked, he could feel breast buds (which I don't think where there when she had her well-visit in August, if the doc checked).  


Anyway, he's assured me that she's on the early side of normal for this but still normal... and I was definitely needing a bra by the time I was about 6 months older than her (and got my period as a young 11 year old), so I know that nothing is really amiss.  But.  As soon as he told me, my first response was to be heart broken. I know that sounds ridiculous and dramatic, and I've mostly gotten over that first response, but it was still my initial reaction.  I think it was a combination of factors.  First, that she is our oldest (of 3) DD, and the very idea of her actually growing up seems so crazy and scary... but more strongly, my own memory of the misery I felt at being the first and most developed girl I knew as a child. I just hated it.  I remember feeling sad and confused because I still felt like a little kid inside, but knew that I no longer looked like a little kid (like my friends) and was aware on some level that the world saw me differently. I know that her experience may be totally different (I definitely hope so, and will do everything in my power to assure it), but it breaks my heart to think of her feeling that way.


Anyone else have any weird reactions/feelings when their younger-than-expected daughter started growing up?

post #2 of 4

((HUGS)) You can't fight genetics. But you can try to make this a very positive experience for her and break that cycle of feeling bad about puberty. I'm sure she knows other girls in her class who are also starting to develop. These days kids are developing sooner and she's probably not going to feel like an oddball. Do you know any of the other moms well enough to talk to them about it? Also, I think it's more normal for kids to start these things early than when we were kids. She can still be a kid, still be innocent and play and have fun. The responsibilities that come with growing up are not something she needs to worry about yet, puberty or not.

post #3 of 4

in our family we start soon and end soon. from my gma to my dd we all started at 10 and all 3 generations were in menopause in the 40s. 


so early wasnt 'early' for us. it is the normal. 


i did not have the heartache you do. kinda. i really didnt want dd to start early coz i didnt want her to suffer with the cramps we all did. she does too - poor thing. 


according to me i feel we still dont understand 'puberty'. for me puberty begins much earlier and it is emotional. i feel all the troubles our kids go through between 5 and 6 is really the first sign of puberty. 


dd had a really hard time during that time. she went thru hell. she is 11 and in puberty but it was different at 5. she was mean and confused and horrible. i had to take care of myself to feel compassion. once she came out of that ... that's when my grieving began.


because it no longer was about physical milestones that was so obvious. it was all those subtle things. she was so grown up about things. about tantrums. while i celebrate watching her flourish into a young woman, i miss my baby. 


when she started a bra i was quite excited for her actually. i remember how excited i was about my own bra. 


after that i had to scramble. no more time for grieving. i was just trying to survive parenting. suddenly things are different and "i" had to change. tough. tough. tough. ten was the worst. emotional ying yangs. no more lecturing. no more saying but more about not speaking. silence today works better than any no. of words. she does not being told or reminded. so i give her more responsibilities. and sometimes she fails but most of all she succeeds.


so now i have to parent with the future in mind. that this is who she is tomorrow. no more looking back and parenting from there. this is all new stuff and it doesnt come easy to me. i handle babies and under 10 well. after that i struggle. 


one other lesson i also had to learn. while there is a lot of commonality between dd and me - we are two different persons and her experiences are her own. i try not to parent from my experiences. i try to focus on her and guess what SHE needs/wants. it IS hard to do because you want to shelter and protect - and that's the exact thing our dds do not want. 

post #4 of 4

I think it might be okay. Check out the American Girl "Care and Keeping of You" body books if you haven't already.


My dd2 just turned 10 and while she's definitely still a kid she has a big sister who's about to turn 13 (and still not so far along, but definitely getting there, slowly but surely). Anyway, dd2 has been wearing bras and camis for a couple of years now. I see lots and lots of 3rd grade girls in little training bras. When dd1 was in 3rd or 4th grade two of her friends had some training bras and dd1, who most definitely did not need them, but was going through A LOT of girl angst,  really wanted one so I got her some. That opened a can of worms with dd2 (who was then in K or 1st, I guess). I let her have some camis, but even though she really wanted them I held off on the training bras until later—although she may have swiped a few of dd1's from the laundry.  


It was a big contrast for me because I remember not wanting to wear a bra when I really needed to wear a bra. I was in denial and trying to put it off as long as possible. 


I think meemee's advice is right on. Even when things with my girls seem like they are following the same patter they did with me, I have to remember that my kids are their own people. I think sometimes this is easier for parents who have kids that don't take after them. My dd1 has a lot of similarities with my MIL :o. I had a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around that one at first because I'm not like that, but in a lot of ways it was really helped me see dd1 as her own person because dd1 and MIL, while having some commonalities are not just alike.  I have commonalities with dd1, too, but really she is her own person. 


So recognize what this brings up for you, but let your dd find her own path. She may be really happy and excited about it. Celebrate it with her if that's what she needs. She also might just have buds for a long time before more happens — could be some influence from dad's genes, too. I'm sure you and your DH have talked about it, but it doesn't always follow the mom's pattern.

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