Tweens and Teens and periods oh MY

I remember one of the first things that came into my mind when I delivered my children was “OF COURSE IT’S A GIRL!” and then I got to say that two further times. 3 girls. 3 lots of hormones and eye rolling and teenage years ahead of us. Of course it was. Surely my punishment for the teenage angst that I gave my own parents?

But now 12 and a half years down the track I don’t know what all the fuss was about. Sure we have the teenage years ahead of us, but aren’t boys AND girls the same? I adore having three fiery girls who are strong and confident and smart and a little cranky at times, but aren’t we all?

My oldest daughter has just turned 12 and one thing I noticed with all girls her age over the past few years is the pre-teen development, and just how much more advanced girls are these days to when I was a teenager. When I was 10 or 11 I was chubby and very much a little girl. Whereas girls today are much more developed, hitting puberty much earlier than we did just a generation before.

I got my period when I was 14. Probably a late(ish) to the party, but I know that there were friends of mine that were even later than that. Up till then I had an older sister who vaguely alluded to things, never with much detail, and a Mum who pretty much relied on our sex education and personal development at school to teach me about periods. I was left confused and perplexed studying the diagrams on the tampon packet pamphlet and pretty much working it out as I went with Dolly Doctor and friends.

These days there is a wealth of information out there for kids, and I am determined to have open and honest conversations with all of them as they move from childhood into teenage hood. Both my husband and I have started on that journey with our eldest over the past few years and probably need to start with our second who is almost 10 and I thought I would share some of the tools we have used to do it.

Be open and truthful and not embarrassed

I think if you act embarrassed about this whole subject then it puts some kind of shame or something around it. And why? It’s completely natural, it’s what everyone goes through and it’s as much as a part of their development as losing a tooth or learning how to walk. We treat the subjects with complete information and honesty (perhaps too much as we have had lots of friends and other family members feel open enough to ask us questions too). My husband has done a lot of the talking with my daughter about it…in a very matter of fact, scientific way. Every question asked, not dodged and not laughed about. I think it’s important to speak early on the topic (we started at age 9), talk often about it and talk about EVERYTHING. These open conversations relay positive messages about more than just puberty. They can develop into conversations on consent, their bodies, and relationships and reinforce these positive messages over and over again in different areas.

Have support resources ready

There are SO many wonderful resources out there for you to use. Books, workshops, websites all with great open and honest, factual information for kids. Let them read as much or as little as they want, and be open for the conversations that will follow.


There are a number of programs and workshops that teenage girls can attend to empower them through their teenage years. There are ones that celebrate their period and what this means to them as they develop and further ones that focus on self esteem. What a great thing to do together and bond over?

Beyond the Cusp

Celebration Day for Girls

Beautiful Minds

Girls Empowerment Workshop


A great resource we have used is A Mighty Girl “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls.” This is a one-stop shop for all kinds of great tools and resources and is well worth a look if you have daughters.

Books & Magazines

Reading is a great way to start of the conversations as kids can take them away and read at their own rate and pace and ask questions privately or openly depending on the type of kid they are. Some great books we have used are:

The Amazing True Story of how Babies are Made

Girl Stuff 8-12 by Kaz Cooke

Secret Girls’ Business

What’s happening to me?

The Care and Keeping of You

Teen Breathe (we got Daisy a subscription to this and I have used this a lot for nieces as presents over the years)

Period underwear

I think these are fantastic! Extra protection for your peace of mind during periods, this Australian company has come up with some great technology you can rely on. Check out Modi Bodi here . There are so many more out there now too!

I always think that educating yourself, rather than sticking in your head in the sand is an important part of being a parent. Our kids need to learn about this next stage as much as they have up until this point. Open and truthful conversations that are positive will change the way they think about this teenage puberty stuff and arm them with confidence and knowledge. I know which one I would have preferred as a 14 year old.

Got any suggestions or tools you have used that are worth sharing?


  1. Great article! I have two girls and they are both different. The eldest is very open and the youngest plays her cards closer to her chest. The youngest was mortified with an open discussion so we watched this video together. She has become a lot more open as she gets older but one thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to take their personalities into account too. I like your open and honest approach, this is also what we have done. We’ve told them we will always give them the truth.

  2. My girls are too young, but my niece is nearing the age and my sister has just casually setup a little “period” station next to the toilet. Yes in the family bathroom to ensure my niece realizes it is a part of life and nothing to be embarrassed about.
    It has pads, tampons and a bin ready to go whenever the time comes.
    She gets used to seeing it in the bathroom and her brother does as well!

    • So important for normalise this for boys too – it’s going to be part of their lives in some way – just ask Rob with 3 daughters and a wife!

  3. Hi Beth, great post and thank you for all of the links and useful things! My daughter is 12 and at this stage also…and to make life interesting she is also at boarding school. Anyway, I have just recently bought this book it is actually a bit ‘heavy going’ for tweens but it is interesting reading nonetheless. x

  4. My daughter is now 15 and we pretty much followed what you have said. One thing I only discovered through another parent at my daughter’s primary school is that there are girl sized pads. I went through an early menopause so hadn’t been near that aisle in a while. My memory of the giant ‘surfboard’ sized pad my mum handed over to me back in the day was frightening! From about Grade 5 my daughter carried a few pads in an extra pencil case in her bag just in case that first time happened at school.

  5. Great resources! Thanks for sharing.
    Do you think Teen Breathe would be too junior for a 17yr old? x

  6. Just subscribed to Teen Breathe for my 10 year old. Thanks for the tip. I remember devouring teen magazines as a girl. I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on Dolly !!

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