When to Start Talking About Puberty and All That Comes with It?

Updated on May 29, 2013
C.S. asks from Crescent City, CA
14 answers

My daughter is 8. We have never talked about puberty other than when you get bigger you grow hair and boobies like mommy. I am thinking about having some more indepth discussions about this subject with my daughter. We have a very open relationship and I trust that she can and will ask me anything. She has before about other things that come up, just not this topic. So, I have a few questions?

A lot of people say wait untl they start asking questions...but what if she doesn't? She hasn't yet, which either means she is hearing from others and hasn't thought to ask...or she isn't paying attention to other kids talking.

My neice (who is a year older and is ALWAYS willing to share wonderful (though not always accurate) information. My daughter has told me lots of things that she has been told and we talk about it and dicuss whether or not its true). Well she is getting ready to take family life in school and I would rather have the talk with my daughter BEFORE her cousin gives her a lesson.

I also don't have a period myself, so I feel like its a little harder to explain. Its not like she has been naturally exposed to the subject as some of my other friends have with their daughters...

Basically, I am thinking about going to the library for a couple books that we can read together (I would of course read them first)...I just don't want to give too much too soon...at the same time I don't want to wait too long either...


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So What Happened?

I completely forgot about the American Girl Book! I actually checked that out at the library a few months ago and wen through the first few parts. Then told her we would go through the rest later...Its a great place to start.

Also, as for the Actual SEX take. She heard the word the other day and said it was on a test they had at school. I was like, WTH? Anyway, it was by the name part of the test as in BOY OR GIRL. We talked about what that meant and I asked her if she knew any other meanings of the word and she said no. Im good with that for now. Innocence is golden to a point.

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answers from Washington DC on

Around this age/within the next year, consider getting her The Care and Keeping of You. It's a good start.

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answers from Los Angeles on

This question gets asked every now and again and I am always baffled at how moms manage to get the bathroom privacy to avoid this topic. At least its making more sense with your case and irregular periods.
I have been having age approprate conversations with my daughter since at least the age of three, if not age two. At 5 she knows about monthly bleeding, that its called a period, that it will happen to her too, that she will grow pubic hair and breasts and about what age that starts to happen, that the mommy's "baby house" is getting ready for a new baby every month, and what tampons and pads are for. This is not too much for a 5 year old. And to be honest, that we started talking about it so young has actually made it a lot easier on both of us.
So I'd say today is the day for the talk. Sure, get a book. She is not too old by any means to know about periods. Heck aren't girls having their periods at 9 and 10 these days anyways?

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answers from Dallas on

NOW! I think this conversation should already be happening.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If she's about to learn it in school, I think having a talk with her at home first is a good idea. Otherwise, I think you can wait a bit. Wait until she starts to have the changes herself, or if her friends are going through puberty but she's still showing no signs - she may want reassurance or have questions about why they are changing but she isn't. I still think of 8 year olds as pretty young and don't feel the need to burden them with all of that info just for the sake of hearing it from you before hearing it from their friends or cousins. BUT, if she's learning about it in school or if she's starting to show signs herself, I think opening up the dialogue is a great idea.

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answers from Dallas on

As an educator.... believe me...at 8 she knows more than you think she does. We see it and hear it when students chat and during subjects relating to animals, mating, etc.

During 4th grade, there is a talk with the girls and the boys separately. it is sad that this is the only information some children get because their parent dismiss it as something dirty, embarrassed or just don't want to do that part.

As a parent, I was talking to my daughter when she was a toddler. The "talk" is not a "talk"..... it is ongoing communication that progresses to more and more detail. The idea is to have open communication so that she will come talk to you about anything.

I don't have a period either but that doesn't mean you don't talk about it and give her options of pads, tampons, pain relief, etc. Girls hit puberty and have periods at different times. She needs to know what to expect so she won't freak out or be embarrasssed if it starts at school. The school nurses are prepared for girls who have no idea what is happening when they come to her bleeding... so sad.

Start your conversation now. You don't have to have great detail. If you feel uncomfortable, talk while you are walking in the park, driving, etc.

Be there to listen to her and answer her questions.

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answers from Chicago on

I shared with my daughter around age 9 bc I figured she'd get her period at that age like I did. Sure enough, she did and it didn't freak her out. I didn't discuss sex until last fall (age 10.5). And like your daughter, she wasn't asking questions AND I discovered she was curious about it bc kids at school were talking about it. Bc of that talk, she had began to explore on her own..... online!!!

I found a book called Sex, What's the Big Secret. I sat her and my 6 y/o down and had a nice and simple book read/discussion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

The school will be giving her the talk in 4th grade, because girls are going through puberty as early as nine now. I'd do the talk before then. It's time.

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answers from Wichita Falls on

8 is a good age to start. Your library will have resources, but I would also talk to the school and find out exactly what will be taught in the family life class so you can parallel some of the information. Instead of "The Talk" it should be a series of discussions (like it sounds like you have already been having) and take one issue at a time.

Your doing a good job, more than most parent (who close their eyes and hope for the best).

P.S. My mother completely hid the menstruation effects growing up, I don't think your having or not having a period will be an issue.

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answers from Columbia on

Is she not developing at all? By 8 my daughter was in a bra and wearing deodorant.... and that was normal in her peer group. She started her period at 9 1/2. But, every girl is different, so you may have a few years.

I can't say enough good things about the American Girl Book "The Care and Keeping of You". They have 2 of them - part 1 is the basics and part 2 goes a bit more in depth.

I would start with the first one. either give it to her.... or you guys can read it together.

Or- next time there is a tampon ad on TV.... ask her if she knows what that's for. That can be a good bridge to conversation.

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answers from Honolulu on

My daughter is 10.
I had already had several of the American Girl books for her.
She read them when she was younger.
She likes that series.
And I am just always open with her. I don't bombard her with my info. on it, but if she asks, I tell her. Honestly. And I make sure she knows she can ask me anything. And I also tell her my feelings on it... when I was that age etc. So she knows its not only her "wondering" about "silly" thoughts about it.

Then, in 5th grade, they have a class about bodily changes/biology per their age/body/maturing etc. Not "sex" per se, but about how boys and girls change in their body etc. and what happens.
The girls and boys are separated for these classes. And the kids participate in it only if the parents give permission.
My daughter, after seeing it (the visual aides for it), and hearing the women teachers talk about it to them... all they could say was "gross..... " and "is there anyway to stop it so you just do not get your periods?"

Keep in mind that some girls get their periods from 9 years old and start developing already. Boobs etc., bodily hair, and of course body odor etc.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I've heard really good things about the book American Girl. And, I don't think you it's time to start bringing it up if she isn't asking. (I got similar answers and some good advice when I asked a very similar question about my almost-7 year old son a week or so ago, you might take a look).

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answers from Austin on

Yes, this is the perfect time to start talking about puberty. Boys and girls.

And yes in 3rd grade, even at school they talked about it too.

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answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is also 8 and I have been thinking of talking to her about how her body will change. She is starting to develop in the chest just very slightly enough for my husband to make a comment that she needs a training bra soon. She has asked me about periods before because she found my tampon box under the sink a few months ago and asked what it was. I was honest and just told her how once a month I get a period and told her a little about it. No more detail than that. But I know I will need to get into more detail soon. I'm going to leave sex stuff out of it. I want her to be innocent for a lot longer. I was 14 when I learned what sex was through some older friends talking about it. I have no need to tell my 8 year old about that yet. I will probibly just get the american girl book and read it with her and let her ask questions if she wants to.

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answers from Anchorage on

We started around 7 or 8, it seemed like the right time. We keep talking about it, and sex, and just adding more info as they get older.

1 mom found this helpful
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