30 answers

Birds & Bees Talk - Tucson,AZ

Help moms! My daughter, Bailey, is 9 yrs old and we have never seriously discussed sex or her period. She is extremely moody and hormonal and, after talking to a few friends, I've learned some girls can start their period pretty early. My own personal experience with my mom was a huge box of Kotex placed strategically on the top shelf of my closet. That was it! So, as you can imagine, I'm clueless as to how to even begin this conversation without crying (due to my own sadness that she is growing up) and scaring my daughter to death. HELP!

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So What Happened?™

Wow! What great, great ideas! Thanks ladies so much for all of the input. You all have made me change my thinking. This is a time to cherish and celebrate instead of dread. I'm already looking for the books and planning a celebration for down the near road. I love Mamasource! Have a great day and I'll let all of you know how the "Talk" actually goes. God bless, L.

More Answers

Hmmm, this talk is always a bit uneasy but I used a book to help me out. My wonderful mother in law sent a book about the body by American Girl which you can find in Barnes and Noble bookstore. Maybe you can use it as a reference for conversation. Anyway we talked about changing body parts, boys and girls, and how a baby is made. My daughter who was around 9 or 10 at the time knew more than I thought. Try to relax and know that you have been given the awesome opportunity to educate your children in this area. I am confident that you will do fine.

K. C. Mother of a 20yr old son & 15 yr old daughter/married 18 yrs.

1 mom found this helpful

I got the birds and bees talk in Brownies... I'm sure there is something out there... Im sure it has something in it about the "TALK"... Seen it in Sam's Club..(this is the description off the web site...)

The Daring Book for Girls is the manual for everything that girls need to know, and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it's female heroes in history, secret note-passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it's not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers, although that's included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly-girls or a little bit of both, this book is every girl's invitation to adventure.

1 mom found this helpful

You shouldn't put that talk off to long. My youngest started her period just like I did at 9 years old. My oldest was 11 when she started. I bought a book that explained all facts not what they hear in school about girls and also about boys when they hit puberty. You could check out Barnes and Noble or any other book store. I did also have a simple discussion with them about the changes taking place in their bodies. I did stress that this happens to all girls and boys just at different times. There was nothing to be afraid of and if they had anything they didn't understand to please ask me and not be embarrassed. They are now 18 and 25 so I don't remember the name of the book. Good luck!!

How about getting some books from the library about the subject, age appropriate, leaving them in her room to read by herself, then have a private talk with her a few hours later to see if she has any questions?
Maybe buy her a present signifying she is growing up and ready for more responsibility, like nice jewelry or something?

I have 1 daughter 14, it's harder than I ever thought it would be. She just started her period 1 1/2 yrs ago. The doctor said look for the breast buds and 2 years later the period will start. That was just about right on. I don't think there should be "a" birds & bees talk it should be on going dialog and almost just natural conversation. My parents didn't talk about it either but I vowed I was going to say something much earlier. Start with things like deoderant and those kind of changes, share info naturally when you are having your period. ask her if she has any questions. They will let you know what they are ready to hear. You don't need to give all the details at first, just as much as she seems willing to absorb. Open up the conversation lines to make it confortable then as you go along it will be easier. I think it gets toughter to talk when they are 12 and now. If you start before then hopefully it will continue. Good luck. It's so important to talk about all these things with our kids earlier because if they don't get it from us they will find out somewhere else and we'd rather them get the right info from us. Good luck.

I have a friend who's daughter just started her period at age 11 1/2. The start of your period is called Menarchy and there are lots of ways to make it a really special time for your daughter. I would start by getting a good book about the subject from the library. read it until your comfortable with it, and then sit down and read it with her. That way you can answer any questions right away. Talk to her about how exciting it is that she is growing up, that being a young woman is something very special and being able to carry a baby is a privlidge. You probobly have some time, and you should start talking to her soon, so by the time it happens she (and you) is comfortable. When she does start, make it something really special by taking her shopping for a new outfit, or making a "woman's day" cake, or getting her a grown up peice of jewlery..Maybe a locket or a simple gold initial on a chain. Try to make it something to look forward to.
My daughter is 2 1/2 and I'm sure I'll face that day with tears too. Good luck. J.

Hi L.,

I have a daughter the same age and I have purchased several of the American Girls Books for her, including "The Care & Keeping of You" and "The Feelings Book". They have been great for her. She read through them and we talked about any questions she had, (she had plenty). I often see her re-reading the books in search of answers, she still comes to me with questions and concerns.

Some girls do start young, 9 yrs old might be a little young(really depends on her rate of maturity and to comprehend). Maybe 11yrs old might be more appropriate (unless she starts her period sooner). What I told my daughter at 11 yrs was that a womens body has a way of protecting itself. That around puberty age her body needs to start cycling it's blood to make it fresh getting ready, so when we get married and want to have children our bodies are fresh for our babies and clean for childbirth. But, my son (9yrs old)said "I know what your period is...it's a red dot in your underwear", so apparently I forgot to tell him the same story. But my daughter got it and thought it was pretty cool how the body protects itself. Hope this helps...it worked for me and I was off the hook. Whew! that was easy.

My daughter Hailey (funny, I almost named her Bailey!)is just now 10 and she is already hitting her "preteen drama queen" moments! It started at around 81/2 and that's about when she started taking an interest in sex from seeing kissing and stuff on t.v. and in movies (nothing too bad!). I keep it at this...if she asks or shows interest, I explain in simplist of terms what's going on, though I was a bit surprised at the things she knew! She is still a little bit lost regarding "the monthly friend" but as her body continues to change and she becomes more insecure about her looks, I reassure her that it's normal and part of growing up. You may want to go to a bookstore like Barnes and Noble and look in the "growing up" section of the children's section. There are some great books to find on the subject if you are unsure how to start up the conversations. I was not so lucky without my mom for support with this but had 3 older sisters and luckily one of them helped with periods, shaving, and all else that goes with growing up! My best suggestion...don't overexplain things (like my husband does!). Answer what she wants to know in simple terms but be sure she is clear on what you are telling her and definitely have the pads ready to go! Best of luck!
Jen K.

She is even lucky to get the talk. Istarted mine at 11 and my mom said you know what to do? She told me sex was for marriage and it really hurt. I guess thats why I was afraid of boys in Highschool.. There are so many books and videos to watch together, I feel its when you dont discuss it they go out and dicover the wrong way, or they can be scared like I was. I thought using a tampon made me not a virgin anymore. Talk about sheltered. I have a son and we will both sit down and discuss it. Hes 3 an if he sees me naked I get that strange look like You pulled yours off mommy!!!She has her whole adult life ahead of her and an open line of communication is great. Or you could tell her the stork brings the babies. ha ha. Good luck I am sure you will do well.

Here is a resource to get you started: http://www.beinggirl.com/en_US/home.jsp It's a website put out by Tambrands (makers of tampax)

Also, I and my daughter were invited last year to my friend's daughter's "Red Party," a celebration of her daughter beginning menstruation. It was women/girls only and each person was asked to bring a meaningful gift and to have words of advice for the girl. My daughter and I brought her a beautiful gold-leaf journal and a silver pen. Others brought things like a lavender scented heating pad, pretty/comfy pj's, etc. The mother led a ceremony giving her blessings and encouragment. There was food and music and dancing. It was truly a wonderful way to welcome her into the world of women. Food for thought...

Hi, L.!

I am a mother of three daughters and I can tell you one of the best resources out there comes from the American Girl books called "The Care and Keeping of You". I have always handed it to my daughters, asked them to read it and then we would have nightly Q&A's (very casual). It really put the pressure off from having to have a serious sit down talk, instead it opened it up to her curiosity and then I would slip in some of the important stuff :)

I also wanted to say, after having two girls who have started their periods, there is a two year window that seems to happen before (this is what you are experiencing)...you would swear they are going to start any day but they don't. My youngest will be nine in March and I have passed the book onto her... ;)

I hope this helps!

Have a wonderful day!


Hi L.,

My daughter is 16, but I can tell you that she knew more about the "Birds & Bees" from her friends at school than I could ever have explained, but I am fortunate that she trusts me for the truth. She has always asked (and still asks) about things that she has heard, and we discuss the subject. I never initiated the subject, but when asked, I never skirted the subject. My daughter says that being able to trust the fact that she could ask me and that we could discuss any subject, has brought us closer together as she matures....and she is maturing in to a lovely, strong young lady who knows the risks that her friends have taken (and are now facing the consequences of those risks).

My daughter and I both wish you the best - just be patient and trust her to take the information you give her - the TRUTH - to help her with her decisions.

hello im a mom of 2 age 35. I have a 15 yr old son and 12 year old daughter. I understand how you feel. growing up I learned from my sisters. my mom didnt talk to any of us.
some how my husband and I began talking about sex and menstral stuff from the age 6 with our kids it seems. We all have great since of humor. we like to laugh alot and joke around. Very verbal and straight up with each other. I think that made communication easier. I had heart to heart talks with my daughter about it as well, I didnt find it difficult.I was eager and bluntly explained to her the reality of our bodys. she listen and laughed and said gross!!then she was open to share storys about what her freinds are experiencing. She had questions.Her best friend got her period when she was eight.I think the kids know more than we think we know sometimes. It was the 5th grade when the school had the film for the kids to watch so that helped. L. good luck, I know its hard, but just be straight,the sooner, you'll feel better.

We just went through this with our 10 year old (I'm 45). The Gilbert library has a lot of great books, written with young girls in mind. They are located in the kids section. To help lessen the tension (because this is tough for any mom and all kids HATE "THE TALK"), we teased about it happening for a few weeks before it did. I also admitted to my daughter that I wasn't totally sure how to tell her things I wanted her to know. Then we went through some of the books together. I also left the books on the table for about another week so she could look at them without my knowledge. She read 2 of the 3 before I took them back to the libary. Just remember that you have to keep the communication open and not shield her from anything. I know we'll have "the talk" again when she starts her period. I know I'll dread it again. :-}

Hi L. -

It is amazing the things we can recall, as women, on how "THAT TIME" was explained to us. Recently a group of women gathered at a class and shared these stories with me - and I with them. It was amazing and I wish I had that experience to fall back on when my daughter entered puberty. What I've discovered is that this is a time in life not meant to be shamed or feared. There are wonderful books out there that give examples of "celebrating" ceremonies - done by most cultures - other than our own. Gather with a group of your friends and share your own stories - I'm sure you will laugh, cry and become so much closer. Do any of them have daughters close to your daughter's age? Maybe you can make plans to have ceremonies for all of the daughters when they reach the "age of maturity." There is a great book - Circle of Stones - A Woman's Journey to Herself - by Judith Duerk, you might want to read.

M. M. Ernsberger
Certified Herbalist

my daughter is also 9. i think we've really discussed bits and pieces here and there, when it has come up naturally. last year kids were talking about sex at school so she asked me point blank what is sex? i was completely honest, and dispelled all the "rumors" of what sex was. i personally do not want my daughter to feel like sex is a bad thing or have any negative feelings around the word. i believe having an honest and non opinionated view is an important lesson as we teach our kids that there are many options out there. in the end it's up to them to decide what choices to make and they will make better choices if they have the correct non judgmental information.

I have a nine year old, too, and we've been talking about body changes for about two years now. I am actually waiting for her period to start, because we're already in the bra-wearing stage (ah, the sadness to be told that she wasn't just extra fluffy 'up there', but that they were little boobies!). I tell her in a very factual manner what is going to happen to her body (I think it all started when she saw me buying tampons at the store way back when and asked what they were for) without making it sound dirty or nasty, just another thing you do to be a grown woman. Every once in a while, she'll ask questions, and I do my best to answer them honestly.

The most important part is to keep the lines of communication open. If you act embarassed about this, she's going to feel embarassed about it, and that could lead to her feeling very uncomfortable about her body. And as a woman, you know that's one of the last things we want to happen to our daughters.

And if you don't know how to start this conversation, why not try, "You know you're about to become a young woman, right? Do you know what happens to your body when that happens?" Then listen if she has thoughts, gently correct and explain the parts she may not know or understand, keep it brief, ask if she has any other questions, then move on to something else.

I wish you luck!


I would start by asking her what she knows. You would be surprised at what young girls have already heard about. I kept my talk to the basics about why we menstruate in the first place. I have some basic talks about the "birds and the bees" with my 11 year old, but I always let her be the guide. The other thing I have learned from my reading, is that menstruation usually doesn't start until 1 1/2 to 2 years after breast development and body odor development. Unfortunately, the hormones seem to come early. My daughter was very hormonal from 9-10 1/2 then things calmed down (and no, she is not yet developed). From everyone I know, it just seems that the hormones hit at nine. Hopefully this helps a little. (I have a 11 year old daughter and 9 year old son, am 45 years old and coming up on my 13th anniversary in April).


Hi L.
My sisters are now 11 and their mom (my stepmom) bought some books about this subject and I think some TV channels cover pregnancy, so maybe if she 'happened' to watch/read them she may start to ask questions and this could break the ice a bit?
I used to work in Tutortime and there was a little girl called Bailey in my class in 2003......could this be your daughter??

I have a daughter who is still young but i will do with her the same as my mom did with me be open & truthful. my mom believed if we were old enough to be curious then we were old enough to know the truth. sadly over the years my friends quite asking their moms questions due to getting lies or your to young & would ask me knowing id ask my mom & tell them what she said. You dont want that so be honest & open answer her questions the best you can. My mom also had a anatomy/biology book that was quite helpful. it was one used in a college class so it had pictures & diagrams was very factual but not graphic.

They have MANY books you can buy or check out from Library. However, I had the same kind of experience w/ my Mom as you had w/ yours. Things were not discused back then as they are now. I have 3 amazing boys and I HAD no choice but to discuss when my oldest boy asked me what GAY was. We were sitting at the top of the landing all of us in dead silence. I asked why he was asking... of course from a kid at school. So, needless to say that topic turned into many others. UGH I think when put into the situation, you just let loose. I didn't want them hearing any mis-information. I would just wait for a quiet moment- just the 2 of you and explain how YOU were told OR not told and let your heart guide you. That's what I did. I explained EVERY possibility for the word 'gay'. 'Sex' and other "Boy things".... Good luck. And would LOVE to hear the outcome!!!
A little about me... I'm a 40 yr old SAHM. Husband is deployed in Afghanistan. I have 3 wonderful boys 16,14 and 5

I can relate. I am a 39 yr old mother of two. My son being 16 & my daughter 11, soon to be 12 in March. She just had her period in January of this year. She was very mood for about 6 months prior to her first period. She was mean, cranky, & ate alot. Especially junk food which I always have tried to limit to both of my children. I think that your daughter may already know more than you think she knows about puberty, sex etc. My daughter knew quite a bit from health class @ school. I was very open with my daughter about what happens to a young womans body. I got her a few different pamphlets from the doctor's office that she could read & encouraged her to ask questions no matter how uncomfortable. Which, luckily she was not very uncomfortable. It's hard to watch your baby girl grow into womanhood, it is kind of sad, but also a very beautiful thing to watch your daughter turn into a woman. I hope this helps. The moodiness, hormonal stuff will get better. She just needs you to take her hand mom, and lead her.
All the best. D.

I would be amazed if your daughter hasn't heard of menstruation by now. You might not have mentioned it to her, but I'm sure the girls at school have talked about it.

I've never figured out how kids DON'T know about menstruation. Their mothers must have their feminine supply products beamed directly into privte bathrooms from space, and they must not carry supplies in their purses. How else would a kid never see a pad or tampon?

I don't have any practical advice for you because my daughter has known about periods practically forever. Of course, as a little kid she didn't understand the whole reproductive cycle, but she knew that grown-up ladies get their periods every month.

Cute story: When my daughter was a toddler I used washable cotton pads, which I kept in my underwear drawer. One day I heard her rummaging through my drawer, and by the time I got there, she had put a pad into a pair of my panties, pulled them on over her diaper, and was walking around, holding them up by the sides so they wouldn't fall down!

I was around nine when my mother told me about periods. I had already heard of them at school. I guess I DO have practical advice -- think about how your daughter might misinterperet what you say or what you give her to read, because the booklet my mom gave me made it sound like women bleed continually for years and years without end. I knew THAT wasn't right, so I figured the rest of the book was wrong, too. (It wasn't.)

P.S. I'm adding this on: Among my friends it's popular to have a "Period Party" when a girl gets her period for the first time. Everyone and everything is red, the attendees who already have their periods give advice and share stories, and the buffet table is loaded with chocolate!

L., I had the same experience with my mom that you described and I made a decision that it would be different with my daughter. I was honest with her. Menstration is a natural function in women and we must educate our daughters that there is nothing wrong or scary with the experience. It is up to us moms to educate our daughters in an open and honest way. Nine is a little young but I would suggest explaning the process as a natural part of becoming a mature young woman. I don't feel, at this age, that you have to be concerned with explaining sex and the possiblity of becoming pregnant just that this is what happens on our jouney to becoming a woman. The sex talk can come later when you notice her "boy curiosity" taking over. All parents must learn that if you don't educate your children about sex, others will, and your child might not be getting the truth from outside sources and end up in trouble. I'm a proud mom of a 20 year old daughter. Best wishes to you.

Hi! I would like to recommend a book I used with all four of our children when they turned 8 years old. It is called "Where Did I Come From?" by Peter Mayle. It is wonderful, we read it with them and asked if they had questions, they all reacted differently, but it was very effective and helps keep it light(as much as it can be!) I have 4 teenagers - one son 19 and three daughters 17, 15 and 14. Good luck!

My children are still young, therefore I can't advise anything based on my own parenting experience. But, I do have a couple ideas from my own experiences and from watching my friends with pre-adolescent children. First, there are some really wonderful, scientifically sound, gentle books out there for pre-teens. They describe the process of puberty, the feelings the child begins to have, etc. in a way that is not shameful, and instead makes the child feel empowered and good about themselves. Perhaps, after you daughter reads something like that, you could arrange a special night for you both for her to ask any questions. If she does, try to be as honest as possible, and makes the Q & A session really comfortable and lighthearted. You want her to feel comfortable about talking to you about these things, so later on, when she is confronting menstruation, boyfriends, hormones, etc. she feels like she can confide in you. Also, when she does start menstruation, you could possibly make it a celebratory event, and something happy and exciting, without overdoing it. A special dinner, treat, shopping trip, perhaps? Good luck! I hope you find something that will work for both you and your daughter that will only deepen your bond!

My parents were always pretty open about the whole "birds/bees" thing with my sister and me. I would advise to just start talking to your daughter. If she thinks it's not a big deal, then it won't be. It's just a fact of life that one needs to learn about.... Always be open to answer any questions. I have discovered that the more relaxed about talking about sex you are, the less likely your child will be to want to experiment....Very important in todays time of babies having babies....

Don't be shy. She'll find out everything soon anyway. Besides, you don't have to go into every gory detail on your first shot. Just ease in with asking her outright what she knows about where babies come from. Remember, kids aren't inhibited about anything until we teach them to be so be as forthright as kids naturally are and don't act embarrassed and she'll be cool with it. Start with things on a simple level - man, woman, baby and have incremental conversations. Talk a little at a time and encourage her to ask you whenever she wants to know more. And as far as scaring her goes, tell her she's lucky. Boys can't have babies and bleeding is the first sign that she's growing up into the beautiful woman that she will one day be. Tell her what to expect and how to handle it and how to avoid leaks. She can keep it her private special secret or share it with her best friend. Maybe if she grows up sooner than her best friend, she can even be sort of a teacher because she'll already know. When the big day comes, plan a family celebration around it. Just don't treat the whole thing as if it is a curse and she won't look at it that way. I can sympathize with the bad persanal experience. I had to figure it out myself when I was 10 and what I describe to you is what I wish I'd gotten. Good luck and have fun with it. It's very special and should be enjoyed rather than feared.

I was just talking about this with some friends last night. I think it's good to give the birds and bees talk as soon as possible, maybe with the help of an illustrated baby book, like the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy and Birth Book. As for the period thing, our book group read a poem about a mom's experience with her daughter's first period. She took her on her lap and told her about how women historically had to deal with periods-having to live apart from the men for a week, the Red tent, being unclean, staying in bed, having to wear those horrible belts with a pad attached, not being able to swim, etc.-and they laughed about it together. Then she said that women have come a long way, and now a girl's first period is a cause to be happy and to celebrate her joining the ranks of womanhood. Then the two of them went out to celebrate with a meal at a restaurant.
I remember being horrible embarrassed when I started, but I would like to make it more of a special celebration for my daughter, rather than another disgusting chore that is a side effect of growing up, like underarm hair.
Good luck.

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