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Old 01-15-2020, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,746 posts, read 12,525,670 times
Reputation: 10767

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Hey guys.

My wife and I have two kids. Our older one - our daughter - is ten years old. Unfortunately, she started developing on the early side. Last summer she started developing breasts, and needed to get a training bra. Just the other night, she got her first pimple. She's growing up fast.

My wife - for whatever reason - just doesn't seem to want to have "the talk" with our daughter. I'm not even talking about where babies come from. I don't know if she knows that or not, but it's not super important yet, and I'm guessing she's picked up some of that from osmosis from listening to the news and stuff. I'm talking about the "period talk." I'm terrified my daughter is going to get her first period some time in the next year and have no idea what it is when it happens. My mother was precocious as well, and got her period around this age - knowing nothing about what was happening, and sure she had cancer or something. It traumatized her for life.

To the best of my knowledge, my wife has not discussed any of this with our daughter at all. She did get her a book about how bodies change during adolescence, but I'm not 100% sure that my daughter ever finished it. My wife *thinks* she knows what periods are, because when her younger brother started trying to open up a tampon thinking it was candy she was giggling. But that's just supposition. Every time I bring it up with my wife she gets incredibly angry at me and says it's none of my business as a man, and to butt out of things.

So yeah, I don't really know what to do here, except hope everything turns out for the best - that maybe she has a friend who is also developing early and she hears about this stuff "through the grapevine* thus she's not taken totally aback when it happens.

Thoughts?

Last edited by eschaton; 01-15-2020 at 02:32 PM..
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:40 PM
 
1,303 posts, read 490,429 times
Reputation: 4087
Did they cover it in school? Are you sure that they didn't discuss that when they got the training bra last summer?

There are some great books, but I agree that a conversation is a good idea. What I did with mine is come up with a "puberty" kit, which included a variety of different pads, panty liners, tampons, deodorants, facial cleansers, acne treatments, hair products, journal, calendar, etc. in a cute box that fits under the sink. I sat down and gave it to her without much fanfare, explained everything in there, etc. We have had a very open conversation since she was little; but maybe an approach like this would 1) make it easier to spark the convo and 2) let your daughter know she can ask questions.

The American Girl books are really good, btw.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
46,375 posts, read 44,718,105 times
Reputation: 90735
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Hey guys.

My wife and I have two kids. Our older one - our daughter - is ten years old. Unfortunately, she started developing on the early side. Last summer she started developing breasts, and needed to get a training bra. Just the other night, she got her first pimple. She's growing up fast.

My wife - for whatever reason - just doesn't seem to want to have "the talk" with our daughter. I'm not even talking about where babies come from. I don't know if she knows that or not, but it's not super important yet, and I'm guessing she's picked up some of that from osmosis from listening to the news and stuff. I'm talking about the "period talk" I'm terrified my daughter is going to get her first period some time in the next year and have no idea what it is when it happens. My mother was precocious as well, and got her period around this age - knowing nothing about what was happening, and sure she had cancer or something. It traumatized her for life.

To the best of my knowledge, my wife has not discussed any of this with our daughter at all. She did get her a book about how bodies change during adolescence, but I'm not 100% sure that my daughter ever finished it. My wife *thinks* she knows what periods are, because when her younger brother started trying to open up a tampon thinking it was candy she was giggling. But that's just supposition. Every time I bring it up with my wife she gets incredibly angry at me and says it's none of my business as a man, and to butt out of things.

So yeah, I don't really know what to do here, except hope everything turns out for the best - that maybe she has a friend who is also developing early and she hears about this stuff "through the grapevine* thus she's not taken totally aback when it happens.

Thoughts?
I'm really sorry this is happening, for all of you.

This is not a parenting problem; it's a relationship conflict. Your wife not only is lashing out at you for being a caring dad, but she is minimizing your role as a parent by saying this topic is off limits to you as a man.

I would start with another talk with your wife, in whatever is the best circumstance for a calm, loving discussion (a nice drive, a long walk, a meal out, etc) and let her know that you are VERY concerned for her and your daughter's sake, and that you want to find out why she feels SO strongly about avoiding this.

Hopefully she will open up to you. She may have had negative experiences you aren't aware of. If she continues to draw a line in the sand, ask her what she would think if you gave your daughter another book about puberty to at least be sure she has the information she needs for what is coming.

The current state isn't acceptable. Have a talk or two with your wife, and tell her that leaving your daughter up to her own devices on this topic isn't going to help her.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Texas
4,188 posts, read 3,566,063 times
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My oldest daughter started developing early as well and had breast buds at the age of 8.5 years old. Since this was in no way consistent with my development, I was concerned enough to take her to her pediatrician, and subsequently, to an endocrinologist. Fortunately, they didn't seem to think there was anything out of the ordinary and she didn't get her period until she was 11.5 yo, so don't immediately assume that her period will be within the next year. A couple of additional thoughts:

Neither doctor I took her to was particularly concerned. Both told me puberty seems to be starting in girls much earlier than a generation ago. Why? Well, there are any number of theories. Incidentally, clinically speaking, I don't think it qualifies as precocious puberty unless it occurs before the age of 8 years. I could be wrong about that though. The endocrinologist told me that average time between when sex characteristics first start presenting until menarche is 18-24 months, but as I indicated above, in my daughter, it was 3 full years (and I was thankful for that). Meanwhile, my younger daughter is already 9.5 yo, and has not yet started developing. Everyone is different, even females within the same family.

If she has some good books, then encourage her to read and ask questions. There are also books geared towards tweens that specifically address periods and may be more helpful at this point. I also agree with the poster above who suggests buying and familiarizing your daughter with feminine hygiene and other adolescent products now. And, I must say, I disagree with your wife that it's none of your business and to stay out of it. Yes, your wife should be leading the discussions with your daughter, but good for you Dad for expressing this caring and concern.

Hope it all works out.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
18,077 posts, read 18,517,182 times
Reputation: 44994
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
I'm really sorry this is happening, for all of you.

This is not a parenting problem; it's a relationship conflict. Your wife not only is lashing out at you for being a caring dad, but she is minimizing your role as a parent by saying this topic is off limits to you as a man.

I would start with another talk with your wife, in whatever is the best circumstance for a calm, loving discussion (a nice drive, a long walk, a meal out, etc) and let her know that you are VERY concerned for her and your daughter's sake, and that you want to find out why she feels SO strongly about avoiding this.

Hopefully she will open up to you. She may have had negative experiences you aren't aware of. If she continues to draw a line in the sand, ask her what she would think if you gave your daughter another book about puberty to at least be sure she has the information she needs for what is coming.

The current state isn't acceptable. Have a talk or two with your wife, and tell her that leaving your daughter up to her own devices on this topic isn't going to help her.
I agree.

And, if your wife continued to "hide her head in the sand" my recommendation would be to do what you would do if you were a single parent and needed to discuss this with your daughter. Now, that may mean discussing it with her yourself or giving her another book or asking your sister or mother or pediatrician to discuss it with her.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
2,025 posts, read 4,860,758 times
Reputation: 2376
"The Care and Keeping of You" book by the American Girl doll people is a great one. Very straightforward and well-written. Encourage your wife to buy and read it. BTW, my DD got her period early the summer after 5th grade. It will be there before you know it. And if your wife won't do it, you certainly can! I mean, I think it's ideal for the mom to have the talk, but it's not like a requirement.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BHI2GW4...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,746 posts, read 12,525,670 times
Reputation: 10767
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
I'm really sorry this is happening, for all of you.

This is not a parenting problem; it's a relationship conflict. Your wife not only is lashing out at you for being a caring dad, but she is minimizing your role as a parent by saying this topic is off limits to you as a man.

I would start with another talk with your wife, in whatever is the best circumstance for a calm, loving discussion (a nice drive, a long walk, a meal out, etc) and let her know that you are VERY concerned for her and your daughter's sake, and that you want to find out why she feels SO strongly about avoiding this.

Hopefully she will open up to you. She may have had negative experiences you aren't aware of. If she continues to draw a line in the sand, ask her what she would think if you gave your daughter another book about puberty to at least be sure she has the information she needs for what is coming.

The current state isn't acceptable. Have a talk or two with your wife, and tell her that leaving your daughter up to her own devices on this topic isn't going to help her.
FWIW, I don't think this is so much a thing about puberty, as it is a function of my wife's personality. She's just one of those people who's naturally ornery, along with being someone who tends to have a hard time making big decisions. The more she feels like she's being pressured into doing something before she's "ready" the more she clamps down and refuses to budge at all. She also can be very thin skinned regarding criticism, and I wonder if she feels like I'm implicitly criticizing her for not doing it yet.

In a lot of circumstances, I've just given up, and let things run on the schedule she's comfortable with (even if it frustrates me, like her taking years to tell me where I can set up an aquarium, or when our daughter is allowed to see a movie). But in this particular case, there's kinda a clock ticking independently of what I or even my daughter would want.

The "puberty box" thing sounds like a good idea though. It's a way to get lots of different things which may be helpful to her, without making the pads/tampons seem like this big scary thing by themselves.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
21,921 posts, read 12,725,059 times
Reputation: 33814
Let your daughter know she can ask you questions too, not just your wife. Just because you don't have personal experience doesn't mean you can't talk to her, or help her find the answers to her questions if you don't know them. I'm a single/sole parent raising a boy, so there was plenty I had to be the one to explain even without having lived through it myself. Single dads raise girls and deal with these things all the time.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:54 PM
 
Location: planet earth
6,182 posts, read 2,419,200 times
Reputation: 13705
Wow. I feel for you. Your wife is out-of-line. She should either have a specific talk, along with showing your daughter where supplies are kept and how to handle them - OR - she should let you talk to your daughter.

She needs to know, asap. There is no time to waste.

She needs to be told that if it happens at school to go to the nurse (or carry a pad with her just in case) - and if it happens at a friend's house to call you.

There should be no mystery or shame about this at all. It's just educational so your daughter is not blind sighted and is prepared for this natural change.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:59 PM
 
991 posts, read 312,690 times
Reputation: 2765
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Hey guys.

My wife and I have two kids. Our older one - our daughter - is ten years old. Unfortunately, she started developing on the early side. Last summer she started developing breasts, and needed to get a training bra. Just the other night, she got her first pimple. She's growing up fast.

My wife - for whatever reason - just doesn't seem to want to have "the talk" with our daughter. I'm not even talking about where babies come from. I don't know if she knows that or not, but it's not super important yet, and I'm guessing she's picked up some of that from osmosis from listening to the news and stuff. I'm talking about the "period talk." I'm terrified my daughter is going to get her first period some time in the next year and have no idea what it is when it happens. My mother was precocious as well, and got her period around this age - knowing nothing about what was happening, and sure she had cancer or something. It traumatized her for life.

To the best of my knowledge, my wife has not discussed any of this with our daughter at all. She did get her a book about how bodies change during adolescence, but I'm not 100% sure that my daughter ever finished it. My wife *thinks* she knows what periods are, because when her younger brother started trying to open up a tampon thinking it was candy she was giggling. But that's just supposition. Every time I bring it up with my wife she gets incredibly angry at me and says it's none of my business as a man, and to butt out of things.

So yeah, I don't really know what to do here, except hope everything turns out for the best - that maybe she has a friend who is also developing early and she hears about this stuff "through the grapevine* thus she's not taken totally aback when it happens.

Thoughts?
Woman here. This might seem like an odd question, but does your daughter observe her mother taking care of her feminine hygiene needs?

In my own experience, between witnessing my mother nonchalantly caring for her monthly needs (watching her purchase lady supplies and not to be either gross or graphic, but as our family was very open about such matters, seeing her quickly use and dispose of the same supplies), being an avid reader and curious child, and having friends who had older sisters who'd already made the transition from child to young womanhood and/or went through the process before I did, there was no need for a formal talk. I knew it was going to happen and, because I started later than my friends, was looking forward to the arrival of my first period.

As it stands, it's not right that your wife discounts your concerns about your daughter simply because you're a man. You have your own contributions to make to the conversation even if you're not a vagina-owning member of our species.

My own father, even though he was embarrassingly aware when his daughters went from being little girls to young women, would help his daughters as he could and as necessary (if my mom was busy or not around) by buying us monthly supplies if we were out (or in one case, Midol, because I'd complained of being in pain due to my period. Dad always was a "fixer" rather than a "comforter," lol).

I second the idea of having a special box of supplies waiting and ready for your daughter. My boyfriend has a similar box under the bathroom sink at his house that was provided by his former wife should his daughter begin her period while she's at his home.
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