According to a recent study, having “the conversation” can be difficult for parents. Leaving girls not adequately prepared to deal with puberty and the changes heading their way.
I’m not exactly looking forward to the conversation when it comes to puberty. And not because I’m apprehensive about discussing breast development, their menstrual cycle, or safe sex. The reason is that I find it hard to imagine that kids will be old enough to have these discussions one day soon!
It has been found by a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, I’m not alone in my reluctance to have “the talk.” However, parents’ reluctance (for whatever reason) to use HOME Health is a significant issue. By engaging in discussions about puberty with their daughters, parents risk damaging their children’s self-esteem. As a result, most girls in low-income homes are ill-prepared for puberty and even have bad experiences at this critical time.
A lack of knowledge about menstruation has left many African-American, Caucasian, and Hispanic females in urban areas of the Northeastern United States unable to cope. For African-American girls, the average age of breast development and first menstruation has decreased in recent years, and nearly half of these girls show physical signs of growth by the time they are eight years old, a much younger time frame than many parents, including myself, would consider being appropriate for discussing these topics.
At puberty, we have a unique opportunity to lay the foundation for healthy sexual and reproductive health throughout our lives. That’s why it’s such a concern if girls don’t get enough information, which could have long-term consequences.
According to the study, girls reported being introduced to puberty themes by their parents, siblings, or teachers, but the majority acknowledged the information was incorrect, inadequate, or offered too late. Interesting. Many young women expressed dissatisfaction with their mothers’ explanations about the onset of puberty. Meanwhile, mothers acknowledged being unclear of how and when to bring up the subject of puberty with their daughters and having felt uncomfortable or uninformed about the issue.
There was also a noticeable lack of emphasis on safe sex and other critical puberty-related themes and a lack of appropriate tone.
A common theme among the numerous studies that were examined was the desire expressed by many young women to have a meaningful talk with their moms (or parents) about the physical and social changes that occur during puberty. Despite talking with their mothers and getting information about their periods, some girls felt that this was not enough to satisfy their needs and answer all of the questions they had.
Concerning puberty, many moms (or caregivers) themselves felt uneasy and inadequate in delivering the guidance they deemed necessary for their daughters. These interactions with their daughters may necessitate that parents feel more prepared and confident in their efforts and that their girls want and need this support and guidance from their parents. Adolescents with non-conforming gender roles and sexual orientation are conspicuously absent from the discussion.
In the included studies, some girls claimed that discussions with their parents about menstruation leaped right to caution about avoiding pregnancy. This review consists of a number of these complaints. Girls were left perplexed and in need of additional information after reading only the warnings regarding pregnancy prevention.
As soon as their daughter begins her menstrual cycle, parents often fail to realize that by immediately moving on to topics about pregnancy prevention, they are skipping over important information such as how menstruation works, why it occurs, what you can do to cope with it and how to predict when your period will arrive. However, parents should realize that their girls will also have questions about their bodies and menstruation that are not immediately related to sex, so they should talk about pregnancy prevention.