27 answers

Talking to My 9 Year Old About Puberty

Hi, Ladies! I have a 9 year old daughter that wants nothing to do with any type of discussions about our bodies (broken bones, veins, babies in utero, etc.). Whenever we are looking at my younger, adopted daughter's book about adoption (it has a couple of pages that "show" what a birth mom is and how a baby is born in very basic terms) my older daughter covers her ears, shuts her eyes and says that she doesn't want to hear it. I'm very concerned about talking to her about getting her first period, other changes her body will make, and sex, etc. Any suggestions on books to help us give her information without being too clinical? We'd like to read it with her and talk about it but we need something that she will actually look at and read. Thanks!:)

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

There's a book by the American Girl publisher called All About Me. I've read it and shared it with my 9 year old. I really liked the book - it's covers just what they need to know. It's not too clinical or wordy. My friend got hers through Amazon. It's available at Barnes and Noble and you can also get it through the Girl Scouts.

get tne american girl book the caring adn keeping of you it covers everything from body changes to emotions... etc. it can be read in progression and not all at once especailily if you daughter isn't ready for it. i know my 13 yr old is slowly making her way through it. good luck mother of 13 11 8 and 16mths K. d

There is another book for you, Sex and Sensibility:The Thinking Parent's Guide to Talking Sense about Sex. It may help you prepare for the talk!
Good Luck!

More Answers

Hi D.!

We are touching on this topic now with my 9 y/o daughter now. I am a fan of the American Girl series. There are a ton of books for that age group. They also offer books on friendship, manners, babysitting, mom/daughter, coping with school, babysitting, and so much more! Currently we are reading/reviewing "The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls". We also have the workbook/journal that compliments the book. I highly recommend anything from the American Girl Library! You will also be able to read through it with her and assist her with the journal. And in her private time, she can thumb through the book and work on the journal herself. She will need your guidance, but also her space to take it all.

By the way... I have a 9 y/o girl, 4 year old girl, and a 3 year old boy as well. :)

Best of luck!
~A.

1 mom found this helpful

When I was younger my mom got us "Where did I come from?" and "What's happening to me?" (there was a video available as well that I saw later on) They were really cute and and gave me a good start on that subject. My mom also had "Our bodies, our selves" in her collection and I would read that on my own when I had questions I didn't want to ask my mom about. I bet if you have books around she'll start to look on her own. Just let her know you're always available to talk. Hopefully she'll feel more comfortable about hearing about soon.

Good luck,
R.

Hi D.,
The American Girl Book is called 'The Care and Keeping of You'. It's a very good book. My daughter is 13 now, but also did not want to talk to us about anything! Just too emabarrasing!!!! She actually hid under the table! The American Girl book cover topics such as caring for your body, wearing deoderant etc... through getting your period. (It does talk about tampons and how you use them - just a heads up) It does not have anything about 'sex'. There are some really good books out there for that topic too. I believe Marc Brown (the author of Arthur Books) has a good book on puberty etc. You can also find books for 10 and younger, 10 and older etc, so maybe you could find one that not so 'graphic' to start with.

Good luck,
D.

Hi D.,

I think you are right to want to start this conversation. If your daughter shows no outward signs of puberty, (breast buds, pubic hair etc.) then you probably have a little time.

If your daughter is extremely resistant, I would approach the subject in frequent, small, matter of fact, doses as opposed to "the talk". You could enlist her help when shopping for example by asking her to "grab a pack of those sanitary napkins off the shelf" or something like that. Make sure you make reference to your own period. "I've got my period today. let's stop at home so I can change my pad before we go to" ........ By making the conversations more casual she might be more open to it.

I also agree, I have looked over the American Girl book on "the care and keeping of you" (I'm not 100% sure on that title) and I agree it is a well done book. I intend to purchase it for my daughter (my daughter turned 9 in July and I am planning on buying her this book when she turns 10.) My daughter, however, opposed to yours is very interested in this subject, and, it seems, has been waiting to be a teenager since she was two. (this presents its own special set of problems...slow down!) I have always been very open with my girls and they have actually seen me change my pad in a public bathroom etc. so they are quite aware of menstruation and have since I can remember. I have not shared all the details yet, but have expanded on the subject as time progresses.

Best wishes on this issue. Keep up with the conversations in a slow and progressive way and your daughter will mature as well with time informed and prepared.

J. L.

There is a book put out by American Girl and it is the You boon and it is great. It was recommended by my pediatrician. I have a 10 year old and we have been reading it together and we can discuss things when we read it and I can answer any questions that she has. I hope this helps.
K. A.

What's the rush, she's only 9. Wait until she starts asking questions on her own, and then let her questions guide you as to how much she's ready to absorb at that time. Kids grow up too fast nowadays, let her be innocent just a little longer about stuff like that.

Hi D.-I have 9 year old twin girls. About a year ago, due to one of my daughter's curiosity, I gave them the American girls book " The Care and Keeping of You. The body book for girls" They read it through and through, on their own. Sometimes this sparked questions for me, but I let them do it in private, so they could really check out the "gross" parts without embarassment. I also recently got them "The girls Body Book". One of my daughters is pre-pubescent, so many of the body changes that are discussed, and illustrated, are relevant for her. I'd just buy her a book, or get it from your library. Tell her you got it for her, leave it for her in her room, and wait for the comments/questions to come.
Good luck!

get tne american girl book the caring adn keeping of you it covers everything from body changes to emotions... etc. it can be read in progression and not all at once especailily if you daughter isn't ready for it. i know my 13 yr old is slowly making her way through it. good luck mother of 13 11 8 and 16mths K. d

I gave my daughter "the care and keeping of you" from the American Girls company at the beginning of the summer. She's not a talker either, but she's been reading it and every once in a while she'll mention something she's read. If I see her reading it I'll ask her later in the day if she wants to talk about it at all. Most often it no, but a few times she's asked about something. It's really a great puberty book, but does not talk about sex at all. I'm still looking for that one. I've had a christian series recommended, but haven't gotten it yet

There is another book for you, Sex and Sensibility:The Thinking Parent's Guide to Talking Sense about Sex. It may help you prepare for the talk!
Good Luck!

I have had this same problem with my daughter, who just turned 11, and still does not want to talk about that stuff! American Girl has a great book, called "The Care and Keeping of Me". It is a wonderful book all about taking care of yourself, from eaing healthy, to personal hygine, to exercise and of course puberty.
We had to do a quick overview of it one night, because she told me after dinner that they had "the talk" at school coming the next day, and I wanted her to be prepared.
What I did, was let her stay up a little later that usual, and sent the husband off to the basement, so we could have some private girl time. I told her that I felt it was important that we talk about this because I did not want her to hear things at school that she would not understand and be too embarassed to ask about. Then I told her that she did not have to talk at all if she did not want to, but I wanted her to just listen.
I also told her that all girls, including myself are a little afraid and nervous about the changes that happen to us, and it was ok for her to feel uncomfortable about it.
I then read certain sections of the book to her, elaborating when I felt necessary, and asked if she had any questions. I also told her that she could come to me at anytime if she wanted to ask about any of it.

Also, in the book, they talk about womens products, so I took her into the bathroom with me and showed her all the different things and explained how they are used.

It's not any easy talk, but I felt it was a good talk, and although she still does not want to grow up, I feel that she is at least prepared for what is to come.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Hi D.,

My older daughter was the same way, however her school was great that at the end of 4th grade they watch what is known as "the movie" at her school. It is only girls that watch it and their moms etc are invited to watch also... The movie is a little dated, it has the original annie as the main character and it is called growing up on broadway. It does not get into the male stuff yet.. it only talks about fertilization and it a little scientific, but it seems that all the 4th graders were great with it.. the school nurse then talked about how pads work and they all get a goodie bag... I never knew until the notice came home that they even showed this to them, so you might want to ask the school if they have anything similar etc... as they get older my daughter will see a different movie in 6th grade which includes a lot more....

I also liked the american girl book, if the school does not offer something like this maybe you could get together with some other moms with girls and have a growing up movie night, so that she is not so intimidated by it maybe other girls reactions would help?

Good luck! They grow up way too fast! A.

D.,

This is the book we started using when our daughter was eight or nine.
Title: It's So Amazing
Author: Robie H. Harris

It is amazing how kids can be so different at the same age; my daughter was curious and ready to read it (most of it anyways).

Another suggestion is to have her talk to one of your siblings or mom. It might make a difference to her.

Good Luck, this is a hard subject! AND WE ALL WANT TO GET IT RIGHT! -R.

Great Book from American Girl line- "The care and Keeping of me"- you can just leave it in her room when she is ready you'll know- and she'll look at it even if she doesn't tell you.

I just recently picked up the American Girl book as well on the recommendation of some moms from mamasource. I have read it and it is a great book. When I read it I flagged pages that I wanted to read with my daughter. My daughter is 10 and we have just begun having some discussions about puberty and her changing body. I felt this was the right time for her. There is no rule that says you have to have the talk at a certain age. Maybe your daughter is just not ready yet. You could tell her that you are open to answering any questions she might and that you have an book that will help her understand her how her body will change as she gets older have and then just drop the subject for a couple of months.
According to my pediatrician once the breast buds develop you typically have at least a year until the first period.

Hope all goes well

There's a book by the American Girl publisher called All About Me. I've read it and shared it with my 9 year old. I really liked the book - it's covers just what they need to know. It's not too clinical or wordy. My friend got hers through Amazon. It's available at Barnes and Noble and you can also get it through the Girl Scouts.

There is a great book from american girl doll. I think it is all about me and dicusses developement in terms the kids appreciate. Any book store or toy store that sells their books will have it. I am sure this will be the fix. Good Luck

D.,

The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls is one recommended by my pediatrician that I gave to my 8 year old this past spring. I was pregnant with my second child and my daughter was VERY interested in knowing exactly where that baby came from! Luckily my daughter really wanted to talk about it and wanted to hear it, but the book is sort of geared towards letting them read on their own and then ask you questions. It goes over a variety of topics such as hygiene, nutrition, etc.

I also showed my daugher a few things in The New Our Bodies Ourselves, but that book would probably be a little overwhelming for a kid who doesn't want to hear it anyway. (Also it's not a book to be read alone by someone that young.) If you get that one, you might want to keep it in your back pocket for when she's a little older or more comfortable with the topic.

Also you just have to deal with it in a very matter of fact way. I discussed this topic with my daughter like I'd discuss any other question she had so she wouldn't think it was something she shouldn't talk about or be uncomfortable wiht. I did try to stress to her that she really should come to me with questions or things she wanted to talk about because I'd like to prevent her from getting too much misinformation from kids at school!

Good luck! :-)

The books and strategies recommended by the other moms are great. I'd just like to add that you shouldn't be afraid to have her talk to her pediatrician without you in the room. Call the pedi (especially if she's a woman) and see if you can make an appointment with her or even with a nurse if your pedi is a man (if you think your daughter would be uncomfortable with a man) - even have the doctor do a mini-physical so it comes up in the context of an exam and not a special "talking appointment" as my friend calls them. Your daughter might accept it in a medical setting.

There is a great book from American Girl that is all about your body and emotions. I got it for my daughter and she read it in the comfort of her room. It talked about hygeine and puberty and a bunch of other stuff. Its at book stores and on the web for american girl.

I think you are wise to want to get her the information. The truth is that she could have a period at any time. It's not just a recent phenomenon, even though I hear that the onset of menses has been getting earlier. My mother had a friend who got it when she was 9 and thought she was dying. My mom and her friend are now 75.

Your daughter is clearly embarrassed to discuss it with you. That's fine, that's her way. I suggest you make the literature and information available to her. That you buy her some supplies to have ready, and let her privately read and explore the information that comes with the supplies.

You certainly will want to give her some of your own perspectives and insights, and you should. Just don't expect her to do the talking! :)

Just wait a little while. If she's uncomfortable discussing it now- don't push it! Just wait till she's ready. Even a few weeks may be all it takes.
If she's not ready now- forcing the issue will only cause problems.
-S.

I highly recommend the "Body" book by American Girl. I can't recall the full name - something like "All about your changing body" but I put it on my girls' beds and left it and then casually asked a few days later if they had looked at it and if they had any questions, saw a particular part, etc. to open the discussion. They read the parts they wanted to then, an went back to it as they had more interest. Mine didn't want to talk about it either, but it has to be done! Good Luck! K. Johnston
A little about me: Married 23 years, 2 teen girls and I own my own paint-your-own pottery and art business that includes my watercolors and art classes in Mansfield.

I have been also thinking about this also, my daughter is eight and is getting into the joking around about boyfriends, babies, etc. Someone told me about this book, I am reading it first and it seems very good, I am going to give it to her to read in parts.....The American Girl Book about Our Body. Good Luck

As a single mother of 3 successful grown children, two girls and one boy, and a former school nurse (preschool to grade six)I have recommended the following book many times: The ''What's Happening to My Body'' Book for Girls
by Lynda Madaras, Area Madaras, Simon Sullivan (Illustrator) B&N Bookstores
(They also have one for boys)
I got one for each of my children at about 9 years old. I read it first, talked to them concerning what it was about, then gave it to them to read privately (if they wanted to), and encouraged them to come to me with any questions, clarifications or concerns. Sometimes we would read a chapter together and talk about it afterward. It made it easier to talk with them and opened the door for the Family Values talk as well.
My kids loved their books so much that they kept them for years as "reference books". I knew that they were getting accurate information in a format they could understand.My youngest daughter used to have PJ parties (WITH OTHER PARENTS PERMISSION) to read the book and "study" together.
I hope this help to answer your question, and give you a direction in your plan for this difficult subject. I have found that it helps alot to have a long term plan for issues with preteens and teens, so WE don't fall off in the "ditch"
Remember---Different subjects will keep coming up at different times, and you can never assume that you're finished with any subject.
Best of luck,
M. (Grammy to four)

PS. Children of this age really do want to know, they just are very embarassed about these things, so they pretend they don't want to hear it. That's why I gave them the option to read it privately first. My kids were adamant that they didn't want it, but I'd catch them reading it under the covers with a flashlight !!!

There's this book called the Care and Keeping of You. It goes through each of the changes she will experience step by step. It does show how to put tampons in and it shows pictures of a girls changing breasts. It doesn't get very clinical about it though and is a very easy read. It also doesn't go into sex and babies or anything, but I think at this age that's okay. I took it out from the library for my nine year old daughter and I to read together since she is experiencing some changes to her body. We read it together every night. Actually, I need to take it out again because we didn't get through the whole thing. She flipped through it though and I told her if she had any questions about things she ask me and she did spot the tampon section and was very curious about that. So we started reading there, but she wasn't quite ready for it so I told her we could start from the beginning. It talks about your hair and teeth and how to take good care of them and stuff like that in the beginning. So I think it's a nice way to ease into discussions about it. The pictures are really just drawings so nothing is too graphic. I'd check it out from the library if I were you and give it a quick read through to see if it's something you might be able to sit down with your daughter and talk to her about. Another thing that helped me before I did this my daughter had her 9 year check up and the doctor told her a little about her changing body. Just the hormones and stuff and how they are going to make her act emotional and stuff and then she'll see little hairs beginning to grow and little buds on her chest, but that it all takes years to happen and it doesn't happen overnight and stuff.

Good luck.

M.

too funny, I also was going to suggest the book from American Girl. You can even borrow it from the library (Groton Public Library by me). I think it's called "all about me????. don't quote me on that though. I have an older son that is already going through puberty so it was good for my almost 10yr old daughter to read too. She is also like your daughter, she'll talk about stuff but doesn't want to hear it. So, I got her the book, let her review it at her pace then she would ask questions. Worked out.

good luck

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.