Early Puberty- DD is 8 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 08-17-2010, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't posted here in years but I do lurk here from time to time. I am reaching out to anyone who has some advice for me. I am a bit shaken and I am trying to figure out what to do. My daughter, who just turned 8 in July, has been showing early signs of puberty for the last year or so. Mainly underarm odor and breast buds developing. She is slightly on the chunky side but you would only know that she has a little extra on her belly when she is in her swim suit. She is very tall for her age- she is already 4'10". (My husband is 6'5" and his sister is 6'2").

Today, we went out for an errand in the car. When we got home, the complete back of her skirt was a watery brownish red color, as were her panties. At first, I thought that it was from our trip to the pool earlier in the day and that her seat must have been damp and it stained her clothes. But our car would have to be filthy for that to be the reason (and it is not) and it had been hours since we swam so the seat was barely damp. I even dampened a white t-shirt this evening after she was asleep and sat on it in her seat to see what happened and there were no stains on the shirt afterwards. I can't for sure say that this was the beginning of her cycle but it sure seems that way.

This is completely off my radar. I am shocked. I am not prepared. I am scared and I don't know what steps to take. We eat little soy, we use no plastic cups or plates in our kitchen (at least for the last year or so), we eat mostly organic dairy if we have any dairy at all. My girls have never eaten beef or pork.

I just can't believe this is happening. I am blaming myself and yet I don't know what I have done wrong. I recognize that puberty is a part of life and I am ready to embrace it when it is time, but it just seems so early.

What I am most afraid of is approaching this all wrong. I come from a family with a lot of body shame and I do not want to pass that along to my girls. I wonder if we need to see a pediatric endocrinologist but I do not want to scare her or shame her in any way. She is highly, highly sensitive and I just want to make all the right moves from here on out.

I have to add that I have a six year old who is following in her sister's footsteps very rapidly. She just turned 6 in June and she also has breast buds and has begun to have underarm odor. She is 4'7" and towers over her peers.

Whew. I feel overwhelmed. If anyone has any advice to share, I would greatly appreciate it.
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#2 of 29 Old 08-17-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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I have no advice, but wanted to offer a hug. Just off the top of my head, I would probably make a regular PCP apt first before an endocrinologist; how much knowledge does your DD have about any changes that may be happening? I would certainly recommend the series "It's Not the Stork" and "It's Amazing" followed by "It's Perfectly Normal." Not much to offer, but I didn't just want to read and leave. Would love an update.
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#3 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the hugs. I sure need them. I have bawled my eyes out tonight and hope I can get some sleep now. I have not heard of the books you have mentioned but I will look into them. Honestly, we have not talked about the changes at all. Maybe foolish of me now in retrospect, but they are my little baby girls (I know not really- they are growing so fast and I need to acknowledge that). I had not seen them through the lens that I am now seeing them. I figured I had a year or two before we needed to start talking about body changes. Thank you for your support. I am trying to make a plan for how to proceed. I will see our PCP first, which does make sense. I am just not sure how to talk about them in front of them. I wonder if I could talk with the Dr. first alone and then have them come in to see her.

While I am on here blabbering away, I might as well get it all out. My youngest daughter is deaf and she has a recessive genetic condition called enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome, which may or may not be associated with Pendred Syndrome. Pendred Syndrome is a little scary to me and can cause thyroid problems in puberty. It has been my plan to get things lined up to get genetic testing done so we can know for sure whether she has it or not. This is certainly making me get my butt in gear and I hope that I can get our health insurance to cover the testing.
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#4 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 01:38 AM
 
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Hmm, well, I think the first thing would be to figure out if she actually did start her period.

I vividly remember starting mine and it was bright red blood. To me, watery and brown doesn't sound like the beginnings of her period unless she actually started bleeding following the brownish discharge.

I think it's time for an intimate talk with your daughter. It's important to know if she's started her period. If so, she's on the early side and I would definitely see a doctor.

But, other things could have happened. This is going to get graphic but, heck, this is important....... She could have passed gas and had a little bit of diarrhea at the same time. She could have had to go to the bathroom and was trying to hold it and not realized she got a little squirt out. She could have a vaginal infection - my DD had this and had a bunch fo green discharge.

So, I would have an intimate talk with DD to determine what you're dealing with and then go from there.

But, she very well could be showing signs of puberty and she's not really all that young. Early puberty signs can last a couple years. Changes in mood, body odor, breast buds etc... all can occur a few years before menarche.
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#5 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Amcal. I appreciate your outside view because I am wrapped up in the emotions of it all and am probably not thinking as clearly as I could about all of this. I remember my own first period as being bright red as well (I was a month shy of 12).

I am still puzzled by what was on her clothes- it has darkened as it dried and it was slightly darker on her panties than the skirt. I rinsed the panties in the sink to see if the water turned red but it remained reddish brown. So weird. I have racked my brain for every possible thing it could be. My daughter is a very neat and cautious child so it is unusual for her to have any stains on her clothes anyway. Other than the potentially damp seat in the car, there is nothing I can come up with to make the stains on her clothes. There is no odor to the stain so I don't think it was from a "shart" :P - I think that is what you described above. It would have had to have been one heck of a huge, watery shart and I can only imagine that would be a bit smelly. I appreciate the ideas though and I am going to keep thinking of other possible reasons.

I will definitely talk to her today about all of this. I read in another thread about the book called something like The Care of You and Your Body from American Girl that lots of mamas recommended. Maybe I will see if I can find that one at Borders today...
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#6 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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The Care and Keeping of You is an excellent book. They have a whole series dealing with lots of issues - family, friends, boys, money management etc.... it's a great series.

So, no shart huh? Well, then I'd probably move on to the discussion with your DD. Ask her if she's noticed anything in her undies. Does she know what a period is and what to look for?

Hugs mama!
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#7 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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I am no expert but just a few thoughts:

1) I'd definitely get her on reading material right away; regardless of whether she actually did experience menarche she will need the understanding and reassurance about her apparently changing body.

2) If it is menarche, don't blame yourself. I mean, you covered all the bases (soy, milk, plastic) - if there are other factors, they are not known to us. I wanted you to know that my mother started her period when she was 8, and surely she preceded these modern factors. It was a bit overwhelming for her, to be honest, but she did not have a mother like you. She wasn't told anything and pretty much left on her own about it.

3) As already pointed out, watery brown doesn't necessarily sound like menarche. Did you smell it? If you find such a stain again, definitely give it a whiff. Maybe it was a really wet fart, like someone mentioned . But if it's blood, it's dried blood and I'd want to find out why. There could be an infection or something.

If it were *ME* I would get her some books pronto and also gently ask her to tell me if she had any spotting. But that's tricky, you can't scare her about this. Honestly, I hid my first period from my parents even though they were open, gave me books, etc. When I finally confessed my second period they gave me a special dinner. So it wasn't like I grew up in shame but still... And compounded with the fact that you have some concern about this (and I would be too, not the age so much as the brown color), I'd tread very carefully. I think for me, I might have been reassured if I were given options on how I could tell my mother ("you can tell me, or if you just want to write a note that's fine too") and then be told exactly how my mother would react ("I'm proud of you, honey, you're growing into a beautiful young woman").

And then I think I'd let it be for now. And if I discovered evidence of another brown stain, and it's not of the "other end" variety, I would take her in to the doctor (another potentially scary thing, I'm sorry to say, but I would want old blood discharge to be checked out). But in the meantime I would not take her in, that's just me. If there's something going on there will be other signs, more dried blood or another symptom.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#8 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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Have you asked your SIL when she had her first period? Maybe your dh's side of the family tends toward early ones.

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#9 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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I just want to give you a big and commisserate. My oldest just started hers at age 9. There is a thread on here somewhere where people gave a lot of good advice.

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#10 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 11:28 AM
 
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Could it be a UTI? That has certainly made me have bloody colored urine. And it's made me feel like wetting my pants before, for sure.

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#11 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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I went through this exact same thing!!! The panic feelings are awful. I stayed awake worrying. I studied... I studied a LOT. Probably too much. (Google is not always my best friend)

I learned that the Soy formula I fed her was probably the cause of this.

I learned that the hormones in our food were probably the cause.

I learned that girls who go through puberty early are usually very short.

So... that meant I caused this by feeding her soy and eggs with hormones, and now she was going to have the body of a garden gnome and have to fight her weight for the rest of her life, and girls are going to accuse her of purposely putting her boobs on the desk in fifth grade to impress the boys..... sigh.

I even called her aunts and grandparents to find out who could have been the genetic cause of this. Her cousin Breanne is freakishly short... this must have happened to her too, her mom would understand and be able to tell me what to do. I went to a doctor to find a way to stop this.

In the end... after all of my unrealistic panic, she didn't start her period until she was 14. She's tall, and nobody has ever accused her of putting her boobs on her desk in 5th grade. In fact, they called her "Two backs" in 7th grade.

BUT, I did get one really wonderful piece of information. Someone suggested the book "the care and keeping of you" I ordered that right away, and I gave it to her. I said we could look at it together, or she could ask me anything. It was the best book ever at that age. She spent hours looking at it. When all of her friends started their periods before her, she was prepared with the information because she'd been reading about it. (I also got her "the period book")

The body oder, and the breast buds are ABSOLUTELY normal at this age, and most of her friends are going through this too. By third grade girls like those sports bras under the shirts. When my dd was young, they wore those sports bras even before they needed them. It was just the "thing to do".

I'd watch for any more staining in her underwear, but I wouldn't be convinced she's starting her period yet. There are other things that could be from.

Usually, she will start her period near the same time you did. That's usually a year or two after the breasts start to develop.. not just breast buds. I've never known any girl who had breast buds, then started her period right away.
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#12 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Just to reassure you, I started getting breast buds and under arm odor at the age of eight. However, I didn't start menstruation until I was 11 years old. What you described doesn't sound like blood. Could she have sat on something rusty or in some kind of a stain? Was there more of a stain on the skirt or the underwear?
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#13 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much to everyone's support and ideas. I am feeling much better today. Still bewildered by what that all was- not a single spot in her undies or on her clothes today.

nextcommercial, you had me laughing. that is exactly how my brain works. I googled stuff and got myself all freaked out and pictured all kinds of horrible scenarios.

NightOwlwithowlet- the stain seemed pretty equal on the skirt and her undies and I just don't have the faintest idea where she could have gotten the stain. She had only been wearing the outfit for a total of 20 minutes and she put it on right before we got in the car. We stayed in the car the whole time to drop off some library books at the drive-thru drop off. It was when we got out of the car and she was walking in front of me that I noticed the whole back of her skirt was covered in the weird stain.

She is acting totally normal and says she feels fine but the idea of the UTI is intriguing. I'd think that she would have some kind of pain associated with that, wouldn 't she?

She and I have some alone time tomorrow (we homeschool and her sister is always around) so I think tomorrow is the day to read the Care and Keeping of You book and talk a bit.

This whole thing has me reflecting on my reactions yesterday. I know I have some guilt associated with how much attention has been placed in her younger sister and there is a part of me that feels like I missed a lot of her toddler/preschool age years (even though she never left my side) because I had to work so hard to get her sister where she needed to be with speech and language. Maybe that is where my panic comes in, as I realize that she is on the verge of leaving her little girl years and it all just went by so darned fast and I wish I could do a better job than I did, knowing what I know now. Maybe silly, but that is how I feel. '

Thanks again for your help, everyone. If anything more happens, I will be sure to update. So glad there are mothers out there who understand....

I guess time will tell if this was really her period or not.
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#14 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 10:23 PM
 
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One more idea; if you put hydrogen peroxide on the stained undies and skirt, it will bubble and fizz (and remove the stain) if it's blood. Just be sure not to let it dry in the fabric.
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#15 of 29 Old 08-18-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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I empathize, my 9 year old dd is 4'9" and getting breast buds (and stinky under arms and hairy legs!!) I was just barely 10 years old when I started my period, so uggh. We'll probably have to deal with it soon. I know what you mean about body shame, I started my period not long after my parents divorced and my mom left us with our dad...all he said was "great, I just got rid of your mother and now I've got another woman stinking up the house" Dd1 knows what a period is and that it will probably happen to her in the next couple of years. I don't pretend that it's pleasant, but I also try not to over-emphasize the negatives. .
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#16 of 29 Old 08-19-2010, 12:24 AM
 
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Oh Katie . That makes me so sad. I'm so, so sorry.
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#17 of 29 Old 08-19-2010, 12:30 AM
 
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My niece who will be 9 in a few month is showing signs of puberty. AND she is also on the chubby side (she has a horrible diet of white flour and sugar)..... Estrogen in made in FAT.... I think it is very likely that the extra lbs impacts early puberty.
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#18 of 29 Old 08-19-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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Just a note: If it is menarche, it might be worth it to have her see a doctor. At age 8 it would be considered a sign of precocious puberty which can be caused by a health problem.

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#19 of 29 Old 08-19-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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Here's the thing about puberty...it happens at a different age for every girl. The AVERAGE age is 12...but that's only an average. There are girls that do start as early as 8 and while it's not necessary common, it can still be normal. Likewise, there are also girls who don't start until 16 or 17 even. Again, can be normal, just not all that common. I started at age 15, my dd at age 11, barely, my sister, age 12, my other sister, age 16. So even within families, it can vary widely. There are lots of factors, from genetics to diet, to body composition to all sorts of other stuff and I don't think an early start can be specifically attributed to any one cause.

I can't guess what that stain might have been. If she's got a UTI and had an accident she could be too embarrassed to say anything. Have you asked her?
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#20 of 29 Old 08-19-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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Not to confuse you further, but my first was not bright red. It was brown. I was an earlier starter than my parents were expecting (10) and I didn't know what it was. For a day or two, I thought it was a shart (what a funny word!). So, please let your dd know it will be coming so she doesn't think what I did!

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#21 of 29 Old 08-20-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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My first period was brown, too.
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#22 of 29 Old 08-20-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Just a note: If it is menarche, it might be worth it to have her see a doctor. At age 8 it would be considered a sign of precocious puberty which can be caused by a health problem.
Unfortunately, at least in my area, this is not true. My daughter started showing signs of precocious puberty at age 6 and we were informed that 8 is considered within in the normal range. If a girl starts to menstruate at age 8 they will not do anything to stop it.

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#23 of 29 Old 08-20-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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My grandmother had her first period at 8, and I had mine by 9- I joke that before that I was the tallest kid in my class, and it was all downhill from there. I wasn't scarred for life by developing early. No one ever made a big deal about it, so there wasn't any shame associated with it.

Oh, and I was the girl in 5th grade with her breasts on the desk so the boys would notice- not because I wanted them to, but because they were SOO there. Unfortunately, my mom- a lifetime a-cup bra-avoidant woman didn't see the need to help me find one of those. That was a far greater struggle for me than the period. No c-cup should go unsecured in grade school P.E.
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#24 of 29 Old 01-20-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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Dear Crankpotgirls:

I am not usually one to leave comments or feedback on any sites, but reading your post really hit home... My eldest daughter is 8, and she too has already started to develop breast buds, underarm/pubic hair, and I just recently noticed a bit of b.o.  I am afraid that her period may not be far behind . I understand that these changes are normal, but I was not expecting them to come at such an early age. I started menstruating at 12.  To me, she's still my "baby". I am totally unprepared to have the period talk with her. I don't want to overwhelm her with information she may not be ready to completely understand. She is still so innocent and loves to play with Barbies and with her younger siblings. I'm afraid that her body is developing faster than her psyche.greensad.gif

 

I would love to hear how this all turned out for you!!

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#25 of 29 Old 01-20-2011, 08:32 PM
 
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If the development is happening rapidly, especially if it is very rapid in both girls then your dds' pediatrician may recommend doing some additional testing with an endocrinologist.  If she has slow growth over time then it is very likely that they won't look for other causes.  I think you should start reading the books about development to both of your girls so they know what is going on and I suggest preparing them for the possibility of being short.  Girls who go through puberty early tend to do all of their growing quickly then they stop and they are typically not tall.  That may be easy or hard for them depending on how many people have told them how tall they will be and how hard they take it when they are not tall.

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#26 of 29 Old 01-24-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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I agree that 8 might be within the normal range for both the beginnings of puberty and the first period.

It doesn't sound to me like your daughter started her period. Although my first period was brown, it was obviously coming from my vagina- the position of the spots on my underpants and also the evidence when I wiped after toileting made it obvious it was no "shart". I was actually 13 when I started my period but started getting acne, breast buds, body hair, and BO when I was about 9.

Books are great but you are really the best source of information for your child. I think every 8 yr old girl should understand some basics: that a "period' is when blood comes from your vagina, it comes about once a month, most of us use pads and/or tampons, it doesn't hurt like when you cut yourself but sometimes like a tummy ache, and that menstruation is about fertility and related to having babies, etc. Also I think even very young kids should know the words for vulva, vagina, clitoris, etc.  

I know it must be sorta weird to see your daughters growing up- maybe even alarming- but also there is a lot of potential for bonding there. Once my mom stuffed her bra with always maxi pads and strutted around the room while I cracked up laughing...those kids of moments are precious too. Making sure she knows that you "like" her body and the things it does, is a cool way to love your daughter. Maybe some day (OK in 20-40 yrs) your daughter will invite you to the birth of your grandchild! 

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#27 of 29 Old 01-26-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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I understand your panic, but you (and your daughter) are not alone at all. I got my period at age 10 in 1986. My best friends were age 11, 12 and 14. My little sister was age 13. I was not chubby, and my mother got her period at age 14 so who knows why I began earlier. shrug.gif I am 5-4, and have always been an average height. 

 

Precocious puberty is defined generally as onset before age 7 or 8 in girls. It doesn't seen abnormal for your daughter to be starting her period now. I do read that it's increasingly common for girls to start at her age, for unknown reasons. 

 

I was less obviously ashamed (and less shocked) by the onset of menstruation at 10 than I was when I first noticed breast buds at age 9. When I went to my parents with concerns about my lumpy chest my father reacted with quiet (a sort of common discomfort, but he was never unkind) and my mother was nervous, but seemed confused about my extreme upset. I actually refused to let my mother take me bra shopping and secretly made my own sports bra (my poor mother). eyesroll.gif I simply did not want this to be a big deal.

 

So I had shame about developing early, and I worry about how I will deal with my daughters first signs of puberty (although she only just turned 3!). Like you, I want her to be healthy as possible and to preserve her natural childhood, so I try to avoid pesticides, plastics and soy. I'm accused of being obsessive, yet I do give her non-organic food at times, and the rest of my family is not at all careful about these issues when with her.

 

I also understand that most water supplies have a lot of estogenic compounds in them from run-off, not to mention fluoridated water possibly disrupting the thyroid, and so... what do you do? It's just not easy to avoid it all. You're not to blame. 

 

I agree with the advice to get the books, initiate a conversation, and to keep the dialog open and easy with your daughter.

 

I do believe that trying to be comfortable and even humorously celebratory about the onset of puberty is a good thing. Crack some jokes. Make fun of the cliches. I remember a sort of vague feeling of taboo around the whole subject when I was there. "Womanhood" seemed like such a heavy deal (in sex-ed class, with my friends, with the boob-obsessed boys in school) and that scared me more than the details of blood and bras. I was still a kid, you know? And I didn't want my parents to be worried.


Mother caffix.gif to DD born Jan 2008 and DS born Nov 2011. 

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#28 of 29 Old 01-27-2011, 07:55 AM
 
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i hope everything is well for you mama and your girls.   blessings~~

 

 


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#29 of 29 Old 01-27-2011, 12:59 PM
 
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I have not read all the replys so maybe this has been said a lot but, from reading your post I am not sure your dd has started her period. Is it possible to ask her about it? Have you guys talked about puberty and menstral cycle. My dd is 8 and know that she will begin to develop breasts soon and can start her cycle in the next few years. I told her when I started mine (12 yrs) but, also told her that some girls start sooner and some start later and that is normal.   I talked to her about this becaues I didn't want her to freak out when it happens (like I did) .If she started her period I think she would have noticed blood on tissue when she went to the restroom, so I would ask her.  Good Luck and Big Hugs!!

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