I started developing in the 3rd grade. I hated it. Most girls in my grade were still flat-chested and it made me feel different. I remember one time when two of my best girl “friends” started making fun of me for being curvier than the other girls. They pulled their shirts out into two points like little tents and laughed. Too embarrassed to tell the teacher, I simply brushed the hot tears from my face and tried to listen to the lesson. Although more girls are experiencing early onset puberty, it can be hard for young children to deal with changes in their body. Here are some tips for parents with daughters who develop early.
Don’t Wait Until it is Too Late
It is hard to see a girl under eight going through puberty. After all, for many of us, these are our little girls. I don’t know about you but I don’t want my daughter to grow up too fast. Still, it is important for parents to come to terms with reality. You don’t want your daughter to be embarrassed because she doesn’t have the proper support or coverage for her changing body.
Picking Out a Bra
Some girls may think it is exciting to pick out a bra. Others may feel embarrassed. Thus, don’t take them to the mall on a crowded day where they might run into their friends. Give your daughter some privacy in the dressing room and several options to choose from. Girls can choose from non-wire “training bras,” sports bras or camis with a shelf bra. If your daughter is too shy to go to a store, you may want to purchase the bras online. Get several options and make sure the store has a good return policy. If possible, I think it’s best for a mother or other female family member to help a young girl with this process.
Books are Helpful
Giving your daughter a book about her changing body can be very helpful. After all, if your daughter is developing, it is likely she may start menstruating or getting body hair soon. A good book is The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls. You can find this book on amazon.com. You might want to give your daughter some time to peruse the book and then ask if she has any questions.
I was in 3rd grade when I started experiencing signs of puberty. However, some children are even younger. According to the University of Michigan Health System, “precocious puberty is puberty that starts before age 8 in a girl or 9 in a boy.” While many children will enter puberty without a cause, some could have a medical problem. Thus, if your child is young and experiencing signs of puberty, you may want to see a doctor. Other causes of early onset puberty may be “obesity, social factors and environmental contamination.” Endocrine disruptors, such as BPA (bisphenol A), have also been thought to play a role in why more children are experiencing puberty at an earlier age. This is why I think it’s important to read ingredient labels and keep your household as chemical-free as possible.
We all come in different shapes in sizes. Thus, above all, teach your daughter to embrace her body.
More from Melissa:
Barbie, Thigh Gaps and Princesses: Raising a Daughter in an Appearance Driven World
A Survival Guide for Parents in the Suburbs
Teaching Your Children to Lose….Gracefully