Tips on how to communicate with your teen

Puberty will arouse many questions in both parents and children. How should I talk about menstruation? How should I discuss sexuality? How can I describe the journey from a teen to an adult? How can I create an atmosphere where my child can ask me about issues that trouble her?

Openness and a trusting relationship between the parent and the child will make communicating easier. You should not turn the teenage changes and discussions into some scary big thing that only causes embarrassment to everyone involved. It is also important to ensure that you don’t intimidate your child or flood her with information. The saying “less is more” applies to this subject as well.

By addressing the topic while doing everyday chores, you can emphasise the idea that, for example, menstruation is a normal and natural part of a woman’s life. Don’t hide the sanitary towels kept in the bathroom. Just wait for the right moment and discuss with your teen about what the towels are and how they are used. You should also discuss your daily routines such as using deodorant and other routines related to taking care of your personal hygiene. Deodorant use should be started once puberty has started, since puberty will increase the activity of the sweat and oil glands and it is much more reassuring to go to school or hobbies when feeling fresh.

Go shopping together with your teen and buy her different everyday hygiene products that may still be strange and new to your child. You should at least buy deodorant, facial cleanser and feminine hygiene products so that your teen can try them and start using them on a regular basis when it feels natural to her. The teen should take a parent or a friend along with her when going shopping for the first bra. Buying your first bra is a memorable milestone in nearly every woman’s life.

Sometimes a parent’s attempt to discuss about the birds and the bees with their teen can end up in an “OMG! MOM!” and a door slamming at your face. Despite resistance, a teen will register these moments and discussions and remember them as genuine displays of love and attention by their parents. You should not be intimidated by the possible negative reactions but continue to share information with you teen in small doses.