Regardless of the age, as your daughter or someone you're close to hits puberty, she'll likely feel frightened, embarrassed, and confused. Development can begin as early as 8 years old, but might be as late as 13. Breasts begin to grow, pubic hair arrives, and your daughter experiences a growth spurt.
Being available and honest in discussions with your daughter or friend about these changes can help. Another way you can show support of these changes could be going bra shopping together. Ask her if she's more comfortable with sports-like bras that might flatten rather than accentuate her breasts – some girls prefer that until the shape of their breasts develop more fully. While she should probably have a neutral-colored bra for wearing under light shirts, picking out some fun colors and designs can help her enjoy the experience. Also consider investing in camisoles, as that added layer might make her feel more comfortable.
About two years after her breasts begin to develop, your daughter will have her first period. While the experience will most likely be painless (cramps don't occur until several months into regular menstruation), you can help her have an emotionally pain-free experience. Your attitude about your own menstruation even before it happens to her will likely affect her thoughts. Treating it like a celebratory entrance into womanhood rather than a curse can help immensely.
There’s no doubt that we all have that “awkward” school photo from our tween years. Share a photo of yourself on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.
Dr. Julie Drolet
P.S.Did you recently have an appointment with us? Fill out this survey to tell us about your experience.