For guardians of prepubescent or pre-teens.
At this age, children may begin questioning the mechanics of concepts they already know. It is important to be honest with you child at this age.
Their questions may include things like:
Will I get a period?
What is a wet dream
Will I develop breast?
How does someone have sex?
How to talk about Body Changes
Preparing pre-teens for body changes before they happen help them to understand what to expect as well as helps to promote a positive body image. It is helpful for parents to know the facts before initiating conversations about body changes with pre-teens.
For parents with daughters, it may be helpful to give advice about what to expect during periods. Discussing the variety of pads, how to use a pad, how often to change a pad, and how to dispose of a pad are all efficient ways to initiate the conversation about periods.
For parents with sons, it may be helpful to give them advice about erections and wet dreams. Letting them know that these are normal changes to the body allows them to be open to conversation and not be embarrassed.
It is important to let pre-teens know that everyone's body is different. Introducing books or videos about anatomy and puberty is one way to allow them to explore body changes on their own. Be available to ask what they learned and answer any questions that they may have.
HOw to talk about healthy relationships
Friendships play an important role in a pre-teen's maturation. Being an active listener and asking open-ended questions about relationships are ways that parents can be supportive in helping pre-teens maintain healthy relationships.
Parents can remind their pre-teens that friendships are dynamic and may change with time. This may mean that they will want to be friends with new people and that is okay. Parents can also inform pre-teens to not give in to peer pressure and that "friends" who force them to do things they do no want to are not actually friends.
Practice ways of saying "no" in situations that your child may not want to be in. Make an effort to understand what motivates them to make decisions and give them the opportunity to act on these decisions. Lastly, get to know their friends and their friends' parents or guardians.
For more information on how to communicate with your pre-teen please visit: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/parents/middle-school