Well, over Christmas I’ve noticed some tiny changes in my 9 1/2 year old daughter. She is in the early stages of puberty. Before I can wrap my brain around all this she brings a letter home that her school is going to be watching a video on sex education. Wow! We’ve had numerous discussions on puberty and body changes for her since she was 3. However, I have not delved into the world of sex education yet and thought I had a little more time. Now I’m reading books on how to approach the subject. A friend recommended a book by Kevin Leman, called a chicken’s guide to talking turkey about sex. I am impressed just by reading the first chapter. I wasn’t sure if it would take a bury your head in the sand approach as a good number of Christians and adults seem too but it is very blunt and I am getting very helpful parenting advice.
My parents never really said anything about puberty or sex other than “don’t have sex before your married.” So when I became a parent I spoke with my husband and we decided we were going to be open, honest and delve into this as a family conversation. I want her to be comfortable with her body through these changes and understand it’s normal. I want her to feel she can come to us at any time and ask any thing she wants. I feel like as a parent you need to research, learn and grow. This is a topic that is so new to me as far as teaching my children so I want to get it right.
Almost everyone I have spoken with said their parents never said anything about sex or puberty we all learned it from TV or our friends. I want my relationship with my daughers to be different. So I am very nervous but I will it’s important and hopefully it will get easier when my now five year old goes through this in a four or five years.
Our school allows us to watch the video they are showing before our children will view it so I am going to do that. If it lines up with our values and what I would be discussing with her then she can view it. I definitely do not want her getting wrong information from her friends.
I cannot believe my first born is old enough to be learning and going through this already. Time flies so quickly and she’ll be graduating high school before I know it.
My oldest daughter just turned 9 and her pediatrician recommended a great book about your body and puberty. It’s by Lynda Madison and part of the American Girl Collection. The book is The Caring and Keeping of You Collection. The only part I did not care for is the eating disorder section. Otherwise, I think it is a great book through a kids point of view on how your body changes and ways to take care of your body. I have talked to Pookie since she was little about body changes but it would be good for her to ease her mind about the changes that will be going on.
I saw this report on ABC World News last night. I was one of those girls that started getting breasts at 8 and started my period at 9. I never wanted that to happen to my daughters. I understand what they are saying about obesity triggering estrogen and this makes sense. I also understand they are looking at environmental factors as well but what about all the hormones that are in our chicken, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt and beef? They did not even mention this on the news last night. Is it because we are in bed so to speak with the dairy and beef industry this is a taboo subject. I purposefully by eggs, and chicken with no hormones or antibiotics. We do not eat too much beef and my girls cannot have dairy. Other than the body odor that started at age 6, my oldest has absolutely no signs of puberty and she is 8 and I am so forever thankful. I am glad they did this study but they need to address food and hormones as well as the other things they have suggested.
Ok so now here is a topic I never discuss. I personally think this is something you should keep between your spouse in my case or partner. I think this is a private matter. However, the reason I am bringing this up is I saw on Oprah a doctor, I think, discussing how you should talk to your child and teen about sex. I thought ok this may be good. Big shock once she got past talking to the 10 year old. She started talking about “self pleasuring” and “sex toys.” I am sorry but I am not discussing these kinds of things with my daughters. I am with Gail, kids and teens today know way to much and are doing to much. I am all for educating my children on the issue of sex and puberty when that time comes. I totally disagree with teaching your children about these things. Education is key in keeping them safe and making wise decisions. I can see that Oprah will probably get tons of letters on this issue. You could even see the older teen girls cringe in their seats when she was discussing these things. I actually turned it off.
When Pookie has questions, I want to answer them. I already have answered some of her questions about puberty and body changes because she notices that my body isn’t exactly like hers but I kept it brief and in terms she could understand. She knows that our bodies will go through changes as we get older. I don’t want her to be afraid of those changes like I was. I had no clue what was going on with my body. I was 8 when I first started developing. I had no explanation other than this happens. Why?
I vowed that day if I had daughters I would teach them. I want our relationship to be as open as possible. I want her and peanut to come to me for answers, but I think it crosses the line when you start teaching them about sex toys, how to reach orgasm, and pleasuring yourself. In Oprah’s words, “this is very controversial.” I would agree!
UPDATE: My oldest will be 8 in a few weeks and I did give in and by her some deodorant. I could smell her from a few inches away and I felt like this could cause some social issues at school. I bought a natural deodorant with no aluminum. They actually had it at Kroger and it was on sale. It is by JASON. There are no chemicals or dyes just natural, organic materials.
I was freaking out yesterday because my six year old sat in my lap. I noticed her underarms were very sweaty and then a slight odor to them. The only time I had heard about bo in children is the onset of puberty. I started young but not that young. The embarrassment I felt all came back to me and I did not want my children to ever go through that. I was almost in tears yesterday. I called my pediatrician’s office this morning and the nurse was very re-assuring she said most likely she is not starting puberty especially if there is no other signs of puberty. There are not only the odor. She said not to worry about it that kids can start young sweating and that sweat mixed with bacteria is what causes the smell. I felt some better. My mother in law sent me a link about children and body odor but most people pulled their kids off milk and it went away. My daughter does not drink milk. She has always been on organic soy. We do eat meat and chicken but I limit how much my children eat. They eat red meat maybe two times a week or less and chicken or fish the rest.
Has anyone else had this issue with their children?
I did not want to blog about this because certain issues should be kept private, however I noticed the same thing with the other parents on the site, we were all freaking out so I thought maybe this would help someone or someone else could help me.
Update: I spoke with my pediatrician today and she said her daughter who is now 8 started sweating under the arms and had some body odor at age 6. She is also watching her closely due to her starting puberty early. She said so far her daughter still shows no signs of puberty and she is 8. There is an xray they can do to check bone development. If it is show abnormal bone development the likely hood that she would start puberty at an early age would show up and at that point they would want to do more tests. Since I see no signs of puberty, I don’t want to expose her to unnecessary xray radiation. It is good to know they can check if they have too.
Update 2009: At Pooky’s 7 year check up, the doctor said there are no signs of puberty and she only put on 2 inches since last year so that is another sign that puberty has not started. I am so relieved. She said, she just has increased sweat glands and when she sweats it comes in contact with bacteria and smells. I could use deoderant if it is an issue but at this time I don’t want to expose her to all those chemicals. I hope this helps someone out there. Your doctors can tell you if your child is starting to develop.