Time to Listen Mom! Talking to Your Daughter about Being a Tween/Teen
When it comes to topics like puberty, it’s important to start talking with your tween daughter from an early age – ideally when she’s between 9 and 12 years old. If you notice that she’s in a receptive mood, use the opportunity to have one of those talks with her, keeping in mind that it should be age appropriate and not too drawn-out. For example, if she comes home from school saying one of her friends started her period or wearing a bra, that would be the ideal time to have the puberty talk and see how she feels about it.
I think one of the most difficult aspects of parenting is being an active listener. Sometimes, we get carried away and tell our kids too much about certain life situations, when in fact, often the best thing to do is listen while they reflect and express their feelings and emotions. Even if the information is well-intended (which in most instances it is), it could pretty much be TMI (too much information) for your daughter. You don’t want her to get overwhelmed, to shut down, or worse, push you away. That’s why it’s so important to look for the signs that let us know when they’ve heard enough. If the signs are there, simply change the subject and wait for the next opportunity.
Timing is truly the key factor for an enjoyable discussion. It’s all about knowing your daughter and finding that perfect time to talk to her about puberty. I find that family rituals, like Friday game nights, are a great way to maintain an open line of communication with your daughter as she’s likely going to take part in them even as a teenager for tradition’s sake. Family get-togethers help to break the ice, so a wonderful time to have the puberty talk could be right after watching a movie or cooking a meal. Even an overnight mother-daughter trip would be exciting for your daughter and a good time to chat in the car or at the hotel.
How do you get your daughter to answer your questions? It’s best if they are open-ended versus incriminating ones that she will refrain from answering. Also, if you remain open-minded and are not quick to judge, your daughter will feel more comfortable answering your questions and be less defensive. The idea is to have your daughter think for herself, which will in turn help her feel like she is in control of the situation.
Tweens love social media, so why not take advantage of a tweet, Facebook post, TV commercial, film, or even an event on the news? These are ideal times to ask her how she feels about the situation!
Your daughter needs your support, love and understanding on a daily basis to get through puberty. Open communication with your daughter should be a part of your daily lives and having talks more frequently will help her to be more receptive and more likely to come to you with her own questions.
An amazing website for teen and tween girls is Always. Your daughter can find answers to any questions she might have and therefore, be more open to discuss what she read with you after. In turn, this will make it easier to get the conversation started…..
Although this post has been generously sponsored by Always, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect Always.