Her body is changing

(18 ratings)
Pre-teen letting go
She's getting taller and developing curves. Her hips will get wider, her face fuller, her breasts and nipples will grow and she'll get more hair on her body and on her genitals. (A white discharge on her knickers is a sign that her periods could start soon). Her skin and hair might get greasier and she might get spots too. Generally she may take more interest in her clothes, her hair and experiment with make-up.

You may think she's far too young for this to happen, but she isn't. It's those hormones again. Hormones are chemicals made in the body and once she reaches puberty, growth and sex hormones really kick in. If she isn't even a teenager yet, this can be quite frightening. So be patient and explain what's happening to her body in a positive and simple way.

Encourage her to go to: (a website developed by Marie Stopes aimed at 11-15 year olds)

Top tip: Give her privacy when she's bathing or getting dressed. She may be very self conscious about her body, even in front of you.

She's very mixed up

Despite what's happening on the outside, your daughter is still more a child than a young adult who still enjoy lots of cuddles and affection from you. For all her experimenting, she's really still playing at being grown up.

Accept that for the next couple of years she's going to be moody, tearful and mixed up - but it isn't anyone's fault. Remember, this behaviour is perfectly normal and it will pass. You can help her by being calm, consistent and loving.

Top tip: Don't get angry when she tells you what her friends are getting up to. And don't tease her or make fun of her either. She'll only withdraw and become secretive if you do - and you don't what that to happen do you?

She's thinking about boys

When girls hit puberty it means they've started to mature sexually. Because they look 'older' than their real age, it can lead to pressure to act older too. This can make them very vulnerable to drinking, smoking and having underage sex.

Many young girls get pregnant because they're physically 'ready' for sex - but not emotionally. They confuse sex with love and think it's just a way to get boys to 'like them.' The best way to prevent your daughter having sex before she's ready is to boost her confidence. Girls who have high self esteem and feel good about themselves generally find it much easier to say 'no' to something they don't want.

Top tip: Don't bury your head in the sand. Make sure your daughter knows the facts of life (including how to get contraception) but remind her that until she's 16 it's still against the law for her to have sex.

Continued below...

More help and advice

- Are your children growing up too fast?
- Talking to your child about puberty and sex
- Get all the info about acne in children

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