Part 1: Help your daughter feel strong and confident every day

Part 1: Help your daughter feel strong and confident every day

These 3 topics will get your teen talking, and help build her confidence for a happy, healthy life.

The best way to help your daughter grow up feeling confident, strong and happy is to open up to her, and to let her know that you’re always there to talk to. Childhood and particularly teenage years can be tough, so by providing her with an outlet where she can vent her frustrations, ask for advice or just hear that you understand, because you’ve been there too, really helps.

Try to find time each day, whether on the car ride home (no eye contact sometimes helps), at the dinner table, while walking the dog, or before bed to catch up with her and her emotions. Discuss school, relationships, homework, friends, anything that’s going on, so that you’re up to date with her life and she knows you care. Here are three topics it’s worth discussing, and how to approach them.


By the time a girl is 8, she should know what changes will happen to her body thanks to puberty. Eight is a good age because breast buds usually first appear around two years before your daughter will have her first period and pubic and underarm hair usually starts to sprout about six months before, so it’s good to help her feel emotionally prepared before this happens.

The easiest way to open the conversation is by taking about your own body. This should be fairly easy, because little girls are often fascinated by their mom’s curves! Tell her about what puberty was like for you – when it started, what changed and how you felt about it. Tell her how your body changed in relation to your friends at the time, too; perhaps you were the first girl in your class to need a bra, or perhaps you were a good six months behind your friends. Either way, talk about this to help her understand that there’s a huge amount of variation in timings, and there’s no such thing as ‘normal’.

Stay very relaxed when you chat, to emphasize that it’s all perfectly natural, and again relate it to you; ‘Your body will look more like mine, with breasts and hair – it changes in lots of ways because you’ll be getting ready to go from a girl to a woman.’ Check if she has any questions, and answer her with simple, factual information. She might want more stories about your experiences – this is great because it’s reassuring to her. And remind her that she can ask you more whenever – the end of this chat doesn’t mean the conversation is closed.


Talk about menstruation before she gets her period or the sight of blood can be frightening. Most girls get their first period at 12 or 13, others get it as early as nine or as late as 16, so once she has started to develop, start to prepare her.


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Chances are you remember your first period, and some of your worries leading up to it – again, this is a great way to start chatting to your daughter. Casually tell her how you felt at her age, ‘When I was 10, like you, I was worried about getting my first period because I didn’t know how it would feel. Do you have any worries like that I could help with?’ Chances are she’ll be wondering what it will feel like, how long it will last, how much blood will come out, and if she’s likely to leak, so explain all of those concerns, again relating it to your experience.

Make her a period kit – let her choose a small zipped pouch and fill it with a two teen-size Always sanitary pads and some spare underwear. Tell her to keep the kit in her bag ready for when she starts her period, in case she’s at school or away from home. Explain that at school all the teachers are prepared and ready to help girls with their first period – they do it every day. Maybe describe what happened to you if you were at school, if it would help.

Reassure her that she won’t gush blood and that her first few periods will probably be light, and they may not be regular to start with. Explain that the blood might be red, brown, or blackish, but that an absorbent pad like Always Infinity will make sure she won’t leak. And remind her that she should change her Always pad every 4 to 6 hours.

Some girls will be excited to feel grown up, others will feel confused and scared – let her know that it’s all normal. Also, tell her what menstruation means – that once she is having periods, she would be able to get pregnant if she had sex. If she says a friend or her teacher has told her all about it, ask what she’s heard to make sure it’s all true.

Talk about the symptoms, from cramps to bloating, feeling tearful to headaches and, again, share with her the symptoms you have. Explain exactly how she can take care of herself each month, from hot water bottles for tummy pain, to changing her pads regularly, to exercising to help with her mood and let her know she can ask whatever, whenever she likes. You girls are in it together!

Body confidence

Girls can, sadly, easily become obsessed with their bodies because they are consistently being given messages about their looks dictating their self-worth. But you can help your daughter be body positive by understanding the pressures she feels, and complimenting her on all of her qualities beyond what’s in the mirror, from her sense of humor to her kind-heartedness, taking the emphasis off looks and placing it where it truly matters.

Check out Part 2 of the article here, for more ways to help build your teen’s confidence.

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