My poor husband. The day I mentioned to him that his sweet little 10 y/o girl was..ehem..sprouting breasts, you would of thought someone punched him in the face.
So how do bonus moms deal with the topic of puberty with their bonus daughters?
We run into all kinds of questions, such as: she isn’t my biological child so what are my boundaries on what to say/do? Can I take her shopping for her first training bra? Do we need to bring up the menstruation topic BEFORE if comes to be? Does her dad need to be involved in any of this stuff? Should I just wait and see if she comes to me?
I decided it best to make a list of the best ways to handle the coming years as my dear bonus daughter makes a transition from little girl, to young lady.
So the time has come. Just yesterday it seem she was content playing play-doh. Now she is texting her friends and wearing deodorant. Next thing you know, she is sprouting breasts, beginning her period, and asking about shaving her legs. What to do?!
1. Breathe. This is something that every bio mom & dad and bonus mom & dads go through every single day. Chances are that if you are calm, considerate, and open, you probably won’t screw this up too horribly.
2. When she is ready to talk, be there to listen. She knows that she is going through changes and she knows that eventually she is going to want to talk about it with you- or at the very least, acknowledge it with an attitude as she slams the door. Be in her corner and lend an ear when the time comes. Answer her questions and concerns with honesty and (age-appropriate) detail. She will be glad she came to you, eventually.
3. Don’t push the subject if she isn’t ready to talk to you about every thing just yet. It is important to have certain conversations, preferably before they become real-time events in your household. But if it is clear she isn’t ready, give it a little more time.
4. Make sure you know what BM has covered so that you work at the same pace in your conversations with her. For example, I know that my bonus daughter’s BM gave her the American Girl Doll book, The Care and Keeping of You and I have familiarized myself with the material in the book so that I know just what she knows. It should also be noted here that if BM is her main caretaker, go at her pace when it comes to these changes.
5. Get Dad involved. No, this doesn’t mean Dad needs to learn the ins-and-outs of menstruation and training bras (unless her wants to!). However, it won’t kill him to acknowledge the changes that he sees in his daughter and have a conversation to reassure her of his presence should she need to talk to him. Of all the times in a girls life that she needs the love, support, comfort, and reassurance from her father- you can bet this is one of them!
6. Positive Attitudes and Encouragement! Let her know that these changes are perfectly normal and that both you and her BM have been through it before and made it through to the other side. Share funny, and often times, embarrassing stories about the troubles you went through with puberty and let humor and a good attitude make this easier on all of you.
Good luck to all of you mothers out there venturing into the land of puberty with daughters. May we all live to tell about it another day.