Girls On the Cusp of Puberty


With two girls in our house, I have spent a bit of time thinking about girls on the cusp of puberty. It also is a pretty hot topic amongst my parent friends who have girls this age, and is getting quite a bit of attention in even the mainstream media.  Here is one article from the NY Times called, Puberty Before Age  10:  A New Normal?  I believe the study of over 1200 girls mentioned in this article is this one in the medical journal “Pediatrics”.

We can argue all day long about the causation of early puberty.  Is it the estrogens, phytoestrogens, and other hormone disrupters in our food, water and environment?  Is it the levels  of different things within our own bodies at the time we got pregnant with the children who are now growing up to be girls on the cusp of puberty?  Is it something we just haven’t figured out yet?

WebMD details a few of the possible medical causes and signs of puberty and notes that the difference between early puberty and “regular” puberty is not in the signs , but in the timing.  I find it interesting that in this article the signs of puberty for girls is detailed solely as breast development and the onset of menstruation, but when I talk to parents about the signs of puberty they are worried about it can be about breast budding as well, but many times it is more about the moodiness/fluctuating emotions, talking back to parents that may be presumed due to hormonal change,  pubic hair developing or body odor or even just their daughter wanting to wear a bra.

Here is what I am finding most of my parents friends and readers to be doing:

  • Having talks with their daughters about bodily changes that are layered over time.  (And yes, some families do use the American Girl books about bodily changes and emotions)
  • Many are trying to include not just the physical signs of puberty, but the emotional and relational aspects of growing older.  You can see back posts about some of the tea and conversation I have had with my own oldest daughter.
  • Dealing with things that come up as they come up and not projecting too much ahead to their children, even if pubic hair and breast budding is coming up faster than expected. Trying to take it as it comes a bit.
  • Meditating on their own sense of feminine power and what it means to be a woman, especially if this bodily change is occurring at an earlier age than we expected and we are feeling uneasy about it
  • Putting together a kit of things to be used – perhaps making or purchasing a natural deodorant, figuring out what kinds of bras would be comfortable to a young woman, looking at what types and kinds of natural feminine products would be most welcome to the individual girl.  If you have products or recipes you would recommend, please leave them in the comment box below.  I hope to put  a comprehensive list together at some point.
  • Many of the parents I have emailed with and spoken to have talked about separating the “sex talk” from talks about bodily changes, especially for those who are experiencing onset of the menstrual cycle before age 10.
  • Sharing their daughter’s excitement about changes and  working to keep their daughter’s image of her body as positive as possible during these changes


I would love to hear from you and how you feel about  changes in puberty, early puberty, and what you are doing to prepare yourself and your daughter/s.

Many blessings and love,

11 thoughts on “Girls On the Cusp of Puberty

  1. A fabulous product and company: Luna pads ( I have been using these myself for several years and it has inspired intrigue in my young girls about mama’s “moon flow” as they call it. It has always been fascinating to me that somehow my menstrual cycle became associated with they cycle of the moon without any conscious effort. I love this and it has made for interesting and layered insights from my young girls especially as the eldest experiences changes her own self with the changing of the teeth.

  2. Thank you for this post, Carrie. I must say that it was hard to hear my girls (10 1/2) say they didn’t want to have breasts and pubic hair and menses… It took me by surprise and I don’t really know how to react to this. We have talked about it and I tried to understand what made them feel this way, but I still struggle with the fact that for them, it is not something to look forward to…

    • Catherine,
      Yes, I know lots of little girls who don’t want to grow up for sure! I wonder if some of it has to do with temperament as well…

  3. Wonderful, thoughtful post Carrie! Thank you.
    My eldest is almost 12. A few months ago, I bought a little red gift bag & tucked inside some sanitary towels that were for sale in our local supermarket. They came with a ‘free gift’ – a little fancy tin for keeping pads in, so they are more discreet. I have also put in there a lovely silver necklace I bought for her. It has a silver initial charm on it & a wee moon stone. I am very excited to give it to her when she has her first period,


  4. My daughter is only 4, so I have a bit of time, but I have definitely been thinking about this. I do want the experience to be a natural evolution of facts and feelings. And I’ve gathered a few ideas to tuck away for the future.
    I use reusable pads from Skoon Organics and they have lovely products that might appeal to the girls new to menstruating. And Twig and Toadstool wrote a great post that I’ve saved with some great ideas. I think the idea of a piece of jewelry is lovely. I’ve been pondering waiting to allow Wren to pierce her ears until then, as a sort of rite of passage. Just a thought.

  5. Puberty in my house has been in full bloom for a while now.

    My son is 15 and my daughter is almost 9 and has been showing signs for a while now. Then same day I bought her first bra my son asked me if he could go out on his first date ( let me tell you I broke down ) my daughter was so excited that she told her brother, which in turn made him forget about going out on a date because he broke down ( that was good for me )

    Puberty with her has been far more different then with him. Boys also get really moody but that also comes along with anger and aggression. As long as you remind then who the parent is and teach them on how to deal with the anger they will get through it.

    My daughter on the other hand is so emotional and moody that it is driving the whole family nuts, mixed with my PMS, does not make for happy

    I was 10 when I got my period so I’m expecting the same for her, we have had many talks whenever and wherever we are which makes it easier, because it come across as no big deal. She is well aware of what’s going to happen and what to do about it. When it does I plan on having a girl day with her so that she will embrace it and think of it as a good thing.

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