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InThisTogether
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05 Aug 2015, 6:54 pm

My almost 10 year old daughter is ruminating about puberty.

Part of this is funny in the way that I think Aspie1 does not think is funny. When I explained to her what a period is (starting with the uterus and all that good stuff), she just kept on loudly exclaiming No! No! No! Then when I got to the end (what actually happens) she got mad at me and said "Thanks a lot Mom! Thanks for ruining my entire childhood!" She tried to pretend that she was acting mad, but really joking, but then she started crying the way she does when she is really mad. LOL! She is so dramatic sometimes! (And no, Aspie1--if you are even reading this--I am not laughing at her...it is just that her overreaction is endearingly cute and it strikes a funny chord in me)

Anyway, she's developing a concerning amount of anxiety about this (which I do not find funny nor cute) and since it is completely unavoidable, I am asking my friends here for help regarding how to deal with this. For a little background, she is of high intelligence and is very verbal. She is very squeamish about blood and gets upset fairly easily and has a hard time with emotional regulation once she gets started. In other words, when she is regulated, she is a joy to be around, but when she gets unregulated she goes downhill very rapidly and is hard to pull out of it. I want to be able to somehow desensitize her to this before the school year starts or this could end up creating behavior issues at school.

What has worked for others?


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05 Aug 2015, 7:38 pm

Honestly, I find her reaction pretty reasonable. I think many girls are horrified to learn about periods. The first time I had one, I sobbed with fear and disgust. Then my mom gave me a HUGE pad to wear, which was uncomfortable and reminded me of a diaper, which was humiliating. Then there's the worry that other kids will know, or that you'll have an accident. Then there's the cramps, which for me were severe and induced vomiting.
Yeah, puberty sucks.



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05 Aug 2015, 7:48 pm

YippySkippy wrote:
Honestly, I find her reaction pretty reasonable. I think many girls are horrified to learn about periods. The first time I had one, I sobbed with fear and disgust. Then my mom gave me a HUGE pad to wear, which was uncomfortable and reminded me of a diaper, which was humiliating. Then there's the worry that other kids will know, or that you'll have an accident. Then there's the cramps, which for me were severe and induced vomiting.
Yeah, puberty sucks.


Not helpful! LOL!

Her ruminatory nature is becoming more apparent with more things than just this. I can see the groundworks for an anxiety disorder. I just want to find a way to get ahead of this. While I do agree that most girls probably find it disgusting, I don't think most girls her age ruminate themselves into serious anxiety over it. At least her friends aren't. They are very matter-of-fact about it. I don't even think I knew about it until I was 11.


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Waterfalls
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05 Aug 2015, 8:27 pm

I would probably try to get her talking about what bothers her, so as to offer something comforting. If the idea of blood bothers her maybe call it something else. She might be bothered by periods but it could be something else, the idea of sex and boys, or having a baby, could be a lot of things.

I have the impression controlling the kind of pad or tampon helps my daughters feel better about the whole thing, too. And some moms make it a special mother daughter thing. Maybe you could help her plan something to do that would make her feel good when she gets her period that she would look forward to? Also, if she doesn't feel ready to grow up she might want reassurance she is still a little girl who should be spending time playing, and no one expects her to start dating.....I'm obviously just guessing....

I think sometimes, the best response to being scared about something you can't control, is distraction.



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05 Aug 2015, 8:35 pm

Anyone know of any age-appropriate books?

she seems to want to know every detail of everything that is going to happen. I think it is the unknown that is freaking her out the most. Especially not knowing when it will start. I thought saying "well, it already did start because you have breast buds" would help, but it didn't. What she really wants is to be told "well, on June 3 of next summer, you will start getting pubic hair" " on August 4, you will start experiencing mood swings," etc.

You are right, Waterfalls, about needing reassurance that she is still a little girl. She is one of the only kids I have ever known who has no desire to grow up. She does not even want to be a teenager. She does not want any of it. I don't even think she wants to turn 10 because it is double digits.


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Waterfalls
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05 Aug 2015, 8:56 pm

I don't want to hijack your thread, but as long as you opened this topic, does anyone have experience with a child reluctant to wear a bra? It seems like it is at least in part a sensory issue. She will wear a cami but no shelf bra in it and no bras. And does not want to grow up yet.

I was scared when I first got my period. I had not been able to imagine what I was told actually happening, and I can see how imagining it would be frightening. I wonder, and maybe this is silly, but if you haven't, any chance that you could just go shopping for some kid friendly products, clear a drawer or space to store them, maybe even stick one in her school bag if she's realized she might need it in school, and just make it seem like any other rite of passage, rather than something embarrassing and confusing. I'm just wondering if you can give her enough control to feel calm again by having everything planned out so that while she won't look forward to it, she knows what to do when she gets her period and isn't waiting helplessly for it to crash down on her.

I have the feeling more information might not make this better, but I don't know any good books, unless there is something in the American girl series. I think they do have one about puberty and I really like the series, they are very supportive, though I haven't read that particular one. If you have trouble I can find the name for you, but if you look up American girl series you should find it easily.



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05 Aug 2015, 9:01 pm

There are two books. The Care and Keeping of You for younger girls and for older girls. I haven't read them but the other American Girl series books I've read have done a really nice job.



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05 Aug 2015, 9:07 pm

Thanks. I'll look in to those.


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05 Aug 2015, 9:30 pm

LOL, when I think of period, I still think NO! NO! NO!

Ackshuly, it may be better not to talk too much about these things before their onset, as the anticipation makes it worse. Once the onset occurs, one has no choice but to deal with it, and it usually turns out to be not as bad as anticipated.


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05 Aug 2015, 9:45 pm

The book that helped me not feel horrified was "Are You There God? It's me, Margaret" by Judy Blume. The girls in the story were all in a hurry to get their periods and boobs because they would be more grown up. I was nothing like these girls, but it helped to read about girls who viewed the whole thing in a positive light. It also addresses the feelings that come up when it finally happens for Margaret. It always helped me to get through situations if I could identify with a character in a book. Plus, it was really good I read this because I would have had NO idea what was happening to me when I got my period if I hadn't. My mother had said nothing to me, we had no clinical type books that could explain, and I went to a Catholic school where we were also given no info. Or if they had, it was presented in such a dull way that I spaced out during that lesson.

Yippy Skippy, I was given an enormous pad too ! I was actually visiting a family member in the hospital when it came (without my mother, the family member was male). I had to go find a nurse, who gave me the biggest pad that ever existed :). Probably one they gave women on the maternity ward.



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05 Aug 2015, 9:55 pm

I let her look at the American Girl book on Amazon and she said she thinks it would really help to read it, though I do hope--like btbnny alluded to--that it doesn't make her ruminate more. At this point, she is repeatedly asking me, asking her dad, and asking her 13 year old brother. Ironically, it is her 13 year old brother who has probably helped her the most. He tells her what he remembers from health class, which he doesn't remember very clearly, but he has a tendency to speak authoritatively on most subjects, so even though he is telling her a bunch of nothing, basically, she finds it very helpful. Probably because his verbosity makes it sound detailed when really he isn't saying much! :) You gotta love him, though...how many 13 year old boys would willingly discuss female and male puberty with their 9 year old sisters?!


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05 Aug 2015, 10:22 pm

Try getting her a subscription to Seventeen magazine if it's still around. I read it from the time I was about ten or eleven. Thats where I first found out about a period. Back in the day, it was not discussed. I couldn't wait for mine so I could be like other girls lol.

But if she sees the ads about pads and tampons and sees how they are thrown in with regular stuff like shampoo and shoe ads she may start to realize it happens to everybody and it's no big deal. Also, if they still have articles about clothes and makeup and flirting and pop stars, she might like that as she gets older too.

We also had Teen magazine then too, but it wasn't as good as Seventeen. They also make a Cosmo for teens as well. And as you know, teens now doesn't mean actual teenage years anymore. I'd imagine it's fine for a ten or eleven year old to read.


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06 Aug 2015, 1:10 pm

My daughter is NT, and she still ruminated on it quite a bit ... I do think that is normal, and the best healer seems to be time.

The books referenced here sound like a good resource to help her learn to cope with the concept. It is going to be a rough day when it first happens; I don't think that can be prevented; but you can maybe mitigate it and help all of you be prepared.

My daughter was also given a small kit by her teacher (5th grade family life) that became a permanent fixture at the bottom of her back pack for a few years, until she needed it.

And maybe assume that you won't leave home for long periods over the next few years; one of the kids I know started hers when mom was out of town, so dad had to deal with it, and they both laugh about how totally unprepared he was for that, and how uncomfortable for both.


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06 Aug 2015, 8:33 pm

My daughter is 12 and a lot like you describe your daughter. She won't look at the Care and Keeping of You Book and I bought the book "It's so Amazing" which she got to page 10 where there is a naked cartoon boy (illustrating the parts of anatomy) and said NO and she will not look at the book again. It's a good book because it explains things with lots of cartoons but not in a childish way-more like a graphic novel type way.

As for the bras, my daughter will wear the all cotton half tank top type "bras". They are a lot like very loose sports bras. She doesn't need to wear them because she is not developed at all, but she wanted to try and now is okay with wearing them. I don't think they'll work too well when there is something to cover up/support but for a starter bra they might help get a girl used to wearing something.

I've just backed off on the puberty talk-I know she will start her period in the next year or two but I don't want to force this on her-she still feels like she isn't prepared for the info so I'll honor that for now.



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06 Aug 2015, 8:43 pm

Mama_to_Grace wrote:
As for the bras, my daughter will wear the all cotton half tank top type "bras". They are a lot like very loose sports bras. She doesn't need to wear them because she is not developed at all, but she wanted to try and now is okay with wearing them. I don't think they'll work too well when there is something to cover up/support but for a starter bra they might help get a girl used to wearing something.

I wish my daughter would wear the little cami bralets or the lined camis but she says they hurt her. I don't know what she means by that but she says no.



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06 Aug 2015, 10:55 pm

One thing that may help is if one of her friends gets hers first. Then they have a peer to talk about it with. That would probably be the best thing. I remember once we all started getting ours that was the main topic of conversation at lunch and break. Periods. Who had one, who didn't, what if you kissed the wrong boy and got pregnant (we went to a private Christian school in the 70's, no sex ed) what if you started at school and didn't have a pad, what if a boy knew you had it, who was wearing a sweater tied around her waist so we knew she had hers unprepared, etc. I wasn't actually part of them but I sat at the table there and I listened. So I was ready. All through 5th grade and finally sometimes in 6th. I didn't really have boobs yet then either or body hair. Maybe she will hear that kind of talk and it will seem more normal and something that she sees girls are seeming to look forward to but act like they aren't but still brag about.


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