Anyway, I think I bungled my "talk" with my 9 year old dd. I had been worried for months about how to tell her about menstruation. I figured her friends would start talking about it soon and since some of her classmates are nearly 10, some of them may start AF soon. So, she found my Keeper in my purse and asked what it was and I decided this was the perfect opening. We were on our way out together anyway, so I talked to her while we were alone in the car together. I tried to remember to give all the important details, I don't know, I was so mixed up and nervous. When I finished talking she was silent for a while and then asked "How long does this go on for?" I told her, in this fake cheerful voice, "Oh, from about the time you're 13 until you're about 50." (I did remind her that it's only for 5 days per month.) Then she informed me that she had a bad taste in her mouth and that her stomach hurt. I felt awful for causing her stress, but it's something she had to know, KWIM? So, we ended up going out for frozen yogurt and I told her that she could come to me anytime with questions.
So, how did your daughters react? Were they stressed? If so, did they eventually get used to the idea? How did you approach the subject?
My daughter has known about menstuation from the time she was very little, since I basically had an open bathroom door policy, and she saw me using tampons and pads and asked questions. She's 9 but is maturing pretty early, so we've talked some about what she wants to use and what we should do to celebrate. I also found it useful to get a book on the subject (I got It's a Girl Thing by Mavis Jukes and it's wonderful, good info and a great, freindly-but-hip tone), mention it to her briefly and then just put it somewhere she could access it... I know she read it and has consulted it...
Maybe you could have another talk over ice cream or tea, and just mention that you were nervous talking about it and you were worried that she might be feeling really worried, and explain some about how things were when you were a kid (I know for us, all the 5th grade girls got herded into a rooom to watch a video put out by tampax, and then the PE teacher talked some and we all stared at our shoes and never mentioned it to each other again) and how you want to be more open and honest now. I would also mention that it's really a very little bit of blood, maybe a couple tablespoons, but it seems like more because it comes out over such a long period (pun not intended!). My daughter did worry about the blood loss, so we compared 2 tablespoons to the pint you give when you donate, using water. I also talked about my period, I'd buy a thing of ice cream and mention that always craved sweets right before it started, stuff like that, so she sees how its integrated into your life.
Single mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler
Having three boys I've never given this issue much thought, but your post reminded me of something from my own childhood. I had read "Are you there God, it's me Margaret" and I was actually looking forward to getting my period when I started it. I thought it was the ultimate sign that I was growing up. My younger sister, however, stared her period when she was 10, and somehow she hadn't been told anything about it. She was at school, and didn't come out of the bathroom, and then the teacher went in and tried to explain to her, and she didn't believe the teacher... It was really, truly awful. She refused to wear pads for some time, thinking it would stop if she didn't. I remember going over in my head the way I would tell my daughters after seeing how traumatized my sister was.
It sounds like you handled it really well, frozen yogurt and all. I think hearing about it from a positive source (you!) makes all the difference in how she feels about her body and being a woman. Good luck!
I'm sorry your dd got upset, but at least she won't be caught unawares now.
I think the whole penis in the vagina thing was more of a shock than periods, lol.
I do recall having many questions from my precocious oldest dd, about how babies are made, and finally having to tell her the penis goes into the vagina, when she was 4 or 5. But I managed to keep my cool, and she just accepted it.
When my sister and I were about 9 and 10, we heard about all this from a friend at a family dinner aprty, and we were so upset, having been sheltered from the awful truth until then. We had to leave the party, came home and had "the talk" from mom, with tears and all. Not a good introduction, and I made sure that wasn't going to happend to my kids.
My son is 11, and he knows all about this stuff too.
Mine also know very well, how impt it is to prevent pregnancy until they are in a stable relationship, and with good finances and time to take off and be with their kids. Several of their older cousins (on dh's side) had kids in their teens and they see how not ideal that is for the families.
BTW, 13 is late for a girl to start, no? It seems many start at 10 or 11. Mine were 11 and 12. So waiting til they are 9 to give them info is leaving it kind of late, IMO.
It's amazing when one's own daughters become women!
Yes, 13 is probably a bit later than average, but I was a month shy of my 13th b-day when I started menstruating, so I'm assuming my dds will take after me. I have a neice who was 16 before she started. Also, my dds seem to be late bloomers--they are both a bit smaller than average and my 6.5 year old just lost her first tooth, about a year later than average. I suspect most of their peers will start their periods before my dds do. But I could be totally wrong.
A great book on all of this is called Growing Up : It's a Girl Thing (It used to just be called It's a Girl Thing, if you get an older copy - it's just as good) bu Mavis Jukes. My daughter and I both read it, I got it when she was 8 and just sort of gave it to her, no fanfare, and she read parts then and has referred to it more and more as things change... it's really interesting, with lots of stories from the author's life about stuff she didn't know, as well as really good, solid information.
Single mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler
Mama to a boy EnviroKid 10 years old and a little girl EnviroBaby !
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
yes, thats a good start maybe, some real life exposure to seeing you be comfortable with pads and tampons or whatever you use might be helpful too, just a thought- blessed be-mary
And you know what else I just heard the other night on a show on TLC about girls and adolescence-that a girl's body will start the menstrual cycle upon reaching a certain weight-I think it was 105?-because then the body will be able to support a baby...Duh, you know, I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense! I thought that was mighty interesting.
I have to quit talking about this-hard to believe that my baby will ever be big enough to get her period! Where does the time go!?
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
We're pretty open about things, we also have a 2 year old (our kids are 15, 13, 10, 8 and 2) who I'm still nursing. Even my 15 year old son can be found looking over my shoulder making faces at his nursing brother, they are pretty matter of fact about it all and didn't find it at all odd that I was having another baby at 41.
Just this week I got my period and was mentioning again to our 13 year old that hers could come any time now. Our 10 year old dd was also in the room (I purposely brought it up then to start to teach her about it)...she asked a couple of questions and was satisfied with the answers.
I've read that often we try to tell the kids more than they really were asking. I remember one time reading about a child who asked where babies come from and the mom went into a lengthy dissertation about the facts of life. She got finished and the child said her friend said that babies grew inside mommys and then came out when they were big enough and she wanted to know if that was true.
I try to follow my kids' lead, answer simply and they will continue to ask questions if they are looking for more of an answer.
My DDs, ages 4 to 10, have all been told about it when they've seen me changing pads. I got "The Period Book" for my oldest on her last birthday, but she obviously wasn't interested.
I wonder how we will manage to explain it matter of factly to our son?
She and I talkabout her changes in excitement. We are planning a little ritual with her close friends for when she fIrst starts. I want her to have no shame or embarrassement over it, and we are totally open about it.
I plan on taking the same approach with my son when he gets older. DH will probably be a big part of it too. It felt briefly awkward when I first gave her the book, but after she disappeared in her room for a few hours with it, she came out with it full of comments and questions. It was cool. I hope it's that successful with our son.
We have such an open door policy in this house they have just always known.
Having two older sisters, dd(9) will say very often "I think I have cramps mommy, maybe I need to relax with some warm tea"
We did have a little celebration when each started.
My son now rolls his eyes if it comes up and tells me all the facts like " duh mom,,I know it all and this is soooooo booooring!"
My daughter has been asking more and more questions lately, and I had bought her a book when she started getting breasts and pubic hair. A word of caution!!!! Maybe tell your children with who and when it is appropriate to share that book! I took hers away after I found her up the street just after we had moved to a new town showing the book to the neighborhood boys! EGADS! We had to have a talk about it being the privelidge of other parents to tell them about life, and tell them when they want them to know! Not all parents start so early!
but apparently I have done well, because Rebecca started her period this Tuesday,,and was jumping up and down, so excited! She wasn't caught off guard at all..
For us it is just life,,,I have to chime in with DaryLLL....my kids were both at my surrogate birth as well as my one year olds birth, and can telll you all about the birth process, placentas (you should have seen them run to watch me deliver the placenta,,the Dr thought it was soooo funny!) and so on. None of it is taboo, uncomfortable or embarassing. It is just life!
As for the weight thing, I only weighed like 83 pounds wehn I got mine, I didn't weigh over 100 until after my first year of college!