By: Melody Lau
This article was co-written by Apricotton, an online tween and teen bra brand dedicated to starting a movement to help them find the perfect bra and improve their confidence during puberty. If you have any comments or questions or just want to learn more about Apricotton, contact us through our website’s contact form or Instagram
When entering adulthood, you were probably relieved you wouldn’t have to deal with the stages of puberty or awkward conversations with your parents or health teachers ever again. But now, as a parent, the topic of puberty may be creeping in sooner than you think as your children are growing—mentally and physically. You may not be ready for your kids to grow up or unsure how to approach puberty discussions, but it’s an important journey parents must go through with their children.
Here are some tips on supporting your child’s transition into adolescence and breaking the taboos of puberty.
Introduce puberty topics early—openly and casually
To you, your children may always be babies, but you’llll be surprised at how mature and understanding of the world they already are at a young age. Likely, they’re already exposed to important aspects of puberty through television shows or conversations with friends. While it’s positive they’re learning from others, the information may not always be correct, or they may still feel compelled to rely on Google for questions rather than going to you.
You may feel nervous or uncomfortable at first about bringing in puberty topics into a casual conversation. But, if you encourage open and honest dialogue at an early age, your children will never be afraid to ask you questions. Putting an immense amount of pressure into one or two conversations about uncomfortable parts of puberty may lead your child into thinking these discussions were a one-time event, and you told them all they need.
If you also casually share embarrassing stories from your tween and teen years or talk about how annoying shaving is, then you’ll both laugh while sharing life lessons as well.
If you need support for these chats, you can rely on other family members or look to advice blogs for help. For example, Apricotton not only sells a variety of bras designed for tweens and teens, but the company also runs a blog, providing “older sister” advice. They share personal stories and advice surrounding questions on all elements of puberty for tween girls, including periods and shaving for the first time.
Admit what you don’t know
No one is an expert on puberty. It’s confusing and bodily or emotional changes are different for every individual. If your child asks you a question and you don’t have an answer or you’re unsure if it’s correct, then be honest and say “I don’t know”. Ask them questions back on what they believe the answer is before researching together and discussing your findings. Learning together will be a memorable bonding experience.
When you admit you don’t have an answer for everything, your child will feel more comfortable with asking questions or sharing their opinions on diverse topics. Your kids may think of you as a superhero with your wealth of knowledge, but showing humility will make you feel more approachable and that their question isn’t “dumb.”
Share what you wish you knew
Kids often forget you were once in elementary school and went through the same uncertainties and dilemmas. Show them pictures of you growing up and be candid about how you felt and what you were experiencing while you were their age.
It may not be easy for you to think back to embarrassing or uncomfortable moments, but make a list of puberty questions you wish you knew the answer to when you were younger. If you had those questions growing up, your children probably have identical questions they hope you’ll address.
Puberty is not a straightforward journey for both parents and kids, but as long as you listen and learn together, your child will feel reassured and ready to enter adolescence. It’s time to end the stigma around puberty and foster open communication.
If you’re looking for ways to talk about other difficult subjects with your kids, we have more help.