Help! She’s becoming a teen

Pointing out that the teenage years can be fraught is like telling a new mum she's going to have to change a nappy or two. As puberty starts to take hold, hormones begin to make teens more irritable, which combined with the changes to her body could mean you’re in for a bumpy ride.

Some girls see all of this as a really positive sign that they’re becoming a woman. Although, many girls wonder if they’re normal, especially if they’re the first or last in their class to see signs of puberty appearing.

One of the most important pieces of advice we can give you is to just keep on reassuring your daughter that everyone is unique so she may experience the changes at different times or in a different order to her friends.

For most girls, puberty starts around the ages of 11 and 12, but it can start as early as 8. The first signs tend to involve breast development and hair growing under the arms and between the legs. It’s then usually a couple of years later that the first period arrives. Again they could start as early as 8 though, or in some cases not until she's 18.

How will I know if she is about to start her period?

  • Breasts have started to develop
  • Discharge in underwear
  • The body has started to change shape and size
  • Pubic and under arm hair has started to grow
  • Body odour may be more noticeable
  • Hair often becomes greasy
  • Mood swings begin to be noticed
  • Spots may start to appear on the face, chest and back
  • Stomach, lower back and groin cramps can be experienced

MORE INFO ON PUBERTY CHANGES

More often than not, this is the first sign of change and can start two years before her first period. Your daughter may become really conscious about how she looks and wonder when she’ll need to wear a bra. She may also be too embarrassed to ask you about it.

She will appreciate some guidance on this, so turn it into a really positive experience by taking her on a shopping trip to be fitted for her first bra.

Don’t be surprised if your daughter declines the bra fitting offer though. Often girls find this conversation very awkward. If she says no, offer again in a few months’ time.

This is something lots of girls worry about so we know how sensitive this subject can be for teens. However, it is one of the clearest signs that a period is going to start soon. It can vary in colour throughout the month from clear to creamy yellow. You might want to suggest your daughter uses pant liners as this may help her feel fresh and clean. Lil-Lets have designed liners for teens, which are smaller and narrower and come in re-sealable pouches so they can be discreetly stored in their school bag.

Weight and the worry about weight gain can be part and parcel of puberty. During this time, hips may become wider and the tummy a little rounder. It’s important your daughter knows these changes are a sign that she’s normal and healthy so should be celebrated.

Puberty is a very busy time for the body, it is vital that your teen eats a healthy diet. If she feels the need to snack a lot between meals, consider increasing the portions at mealtimes.

Any kind of body hair can make her feel really self-conscious and you may find she wants to remove it as soon as possible. Nowadays girls as young as 10 want to know how to remove hair from her legs, under arms and pubic area. If you find your daughter’s one of them, the decision about whether she removes any hair must be yours. If you say no, rather than close the door on this subject altogether, offer to discuss the matter again in 6 months’ time.

Get ready for your bathroom to become an extension of her bedroom for the next few years as her beauty regime takes on more significance.

She’ll probably sweat more, need to wash her hair more often and potentially have a few spots on her face or back. To make this time special (and stop her stealing all your stuff), allow your daughter to select some toiletries that can be just hers and offer advice on the best methods for a skincare routine, reassuring her that the odd break out of spots may still occur.

Those pubescent years play havoc with your body in a physical and mental capacity.

If you’ve forgotten what it was like, she’ll be feeling happy one minute then sad or angry the next, with no control over what she’ll be feeling next. We suggest you let her know that you understand what she’s going through. Although, maybe wait until everyone has calmed down a bit!

Your little girl is growing up! You may have noticed she is displaying some of the other signs of puberty so have a quick chat with her (nothing too heavy). Let her know what to expect and offer some products for her to keep in her drawer at home or in her school bag.