Explaining Puberty to Isabella

When Isabella was 9 years old, I explained a little bit about puberty and a lot about menstruation. The book “The Girl’s Body Book” helped me out with wording and with illustrations. It was important that Isabella had the facts, since some of her friends might be getting their period or going through puberty early! I wanted her to have the facts before she heard any scary misconceptions. 

Explaining about menstruation, or periods, went well with Isabella. I was a lot less nervous than I thought I would be. So that I wouldn’t freak her out, I kept it as technical as I could, then added a few opinions and experiences at the end. 

Stressing that puberty and periods are a natural process was important to me. Isabella shouldn’t feel that she needs to hide her natural growth process in any way. I want her to be able to share any concerns with me and ask me questions! 

So, I sat her down and explained the menstruation process to Isabella. Starting with the reason we have periods down to where pads and tampons are kept in the house. I was very calm and collected, which I didn’t expect because I was a bit nervous about how she would take it. 

As I explained why we get periods and what happens every month, her face got whiter. By the end, she exclaimed, “But that’s so weird! Being a girl is weird!! I don’t know about that, at all. Is it optional?” Her eyes had looked a little freaked when I told her some of the details, so I was worried she hadn’t heard some of it. It would turn out I was right. 

Awhile later, they learned about it in class. Isabella told me that she was glad she “already knew most of the stuff”.

It made it more surprising when we had this conversation:

Isabella: “Mom, I emptied all of the garbages, like you asked.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Isabella, staring. 

Me: “Do you have a question?” 

Isabella: “Well, when I was emptying the bathroom garbage, I noticed those things- pads?- with some….you know…..stuff…..on them. So, well, I was just wondering if you were going through a second puberty. Like, do girls go through a second puberty when they’re older- after their first puberty, I mean?” 

Me: “Omigosh. No, not exactly. We wish. See, once you hit puberty and you get your period as a result of hitting puberty, you get your period every month, once a month. Does that make more sense?”

Isabella, open-mouthed, “Are you kidding me?! IT’S EVERY SINGLE MONTH. For how long?! Until you DIE?????” 

Me: “Well, until you go through something called “menopause”. (Explaining menopause). Did that make sense?” 

Isabella, sighing, “Yes. But every month until then?? Geez. Being a girl sounds stupid.” 

And then she stomped away. 

I had no idea she had misunderstood and I felt so bad! I wish she was right and you got your period twice to start and continue “puberty” and then it stopped!! Maybe puberty is such an abstract concept to her that she was trying to define it on her own. Who knows?

Anyway, I told Josh and we felt bad for her but we also laughed so hard! Next time I explain something big, like puberty and periods, or sex (not looking forward to that one), maybe I will have her repeat back what she thinks I mean. 

Have you explained puberty to your kids? How did it go?

Was there a misunderstanding, like we had?



  • Isabel October 4, 2018 at 10:59

    I like her version so much better!! That must be so much more to take in for her now when she misunderstood it the first time. 🙁

    • Tianna Wynne October 5, 2018 at 10:00

      I agree! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if females eventually evolved so it was Isabella’s version? And yes, she was shocked when she learned she wasn’t right. I felt terrible for her!

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