Puberty isn’t easy for anyone. It’s confusing, scary, and often times embarrassing. Although an open and honest conversation is usually the best way to guide your child through the turmoil that tends to be their adolescent years, this isn’t always possible. No matter how many times you remind them that what they’re experiencing is normal and that you yourself went through the same thing, some kids just are not comfortable discussing their bodies with their parents.
For young girls, the subject can seem even more daunting, since they’ve been told their entire lives that they aren’t supposed to talk about their periods. By the time puberty comes, they have already resigned themselves to silence.
If you find that you have an especially shy daughter that you fear might not want to ask you any questions they have as they experience puberty, there is an alternative. Fortunately, there are plenty of books that can help ease young girls through the process of periods and puberty. Here are just a few of the many great health education books available—one of which may be the key to getting your child to open up about the changes happening to her mind and body. And obviously, get excited for our new-age puberty book coming out in 2017!
1. The Body Book for Girls Series by Valerie Schaefer
In this series courtesy of the American Girl Library, author Valerie Schaefer provides detailed advice for pre teen girls as they begin to experience the social and physical changes that come with puberty. In The Care of Keeping You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, which has been dubbed by many as the “puberty bible”, Schaefer navigates everything from unexpected hair growth, to nutrition, exercise, and finally, periods. The puberty section of the book expands upon what periods are, when to expect them, and how to deal with things like PMS and pads.
The lessons don’t stop after book one however, as the American Girl series continues on with The Body Book for Older Girls and The Care & Keeping of Us: A Sharing Collection for Girls and Their Moms. These later books include chapters about peer pressure and body image. They even have helpful conversation starters for parents and a tampon insertion guide. Each book ends with a Q&A with girls from all across the world, where they asking many of the same hard questions that your daughter may have herself.
2. The Period Book: Everything You Don’t Want to Ask (But Need to Know) by Karen Gravelle
If you’re looking for a realistic but humorous way to convey the basics of periods and puberty to your daughter, The Period Book is the perfect solution. Aimed at girls in their early teen years, this book covers some of the more complicated aspects of growing up like gynecology visits and how to handle uncomfortable questions from your parents (sorry, parents).
The user-friendly book speaks to young girls in a way that they can connect with, while still not avoiding or covering up any potentially awkward subjects. The book also includes some drawings and diagrams, which, while done in a comedic format, are extremely informative and may help put your daughter at ease with some of the more intimidating, bodily aspects of puberty.
3. Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Book Collective
In what started out as a booklet for a women’s health course and then turned into a worldwide bestseller and women’s health classic, Our Bodies, Ourselves covers all the different areas of women’s health topics from puberty, to anatomy, to gender and sexual identity, and even sex and relationships.
Though its serious tone and sometimes graphic explanations may work better for girls in their later teens, this book provides necessary information that all girls should know in order to be in control of their bodies. It even has information for women past puberty, with sections on menopause, pregnancy, and navigating the healthcare system. So although this is a great book for your daughter, you might want to consider getting one for yourself too!
Though good literature should not be a replacement for an open and honest relationship with your child, giving them material that can ease them into asking questions is a great technique no matter how close you are to them. Giving your daughter a book like one of these lets her know that you’re thinking about her, and that you’re ready to have that conversation whenever she is.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.