Thursday 1 June 2017

Marla Ahlgrimm on Taking to Growing Daughter about Changing Body

Marla Ahlgrimm is one of the nation’s premier experts regarding female hormones and related disorders. Here, the women’s health expert answers questions on how to talk to your daughter about body image, menstruation, and other female-specific issues.

Q: My daughter is nine. When should I have “the talk” about when she’ll start her period?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Young girls’ bodies are all different and some girls can experience the onset of menstruation by the end of third grade, or around nine-years-old. This is the perfect time to open up a conversation about what she can expect during puberty. Answer her questions openly and honestly, using anatomically correct terms. You don’t have to get into graphic detail at this age but she needs to know what is going to happen.

Q: What’s the right age to start talking about healthy eating habits?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It doesn’t matter how old your daughter is, there is no time like the present. You can instill healthy eating habits from toddlerhood on. Offer your daughter a variety of healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetables and don’t allow her to drink soda in between meals; soda and fruit juice should be a rarity.

Q: How important is teaching body image at an early age?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Children, and especially young girls, need to understand that bodies truly do come in all different shapes and sizes. The media unfairly portrays almost exclusively one type of body, which is often airbrushed to nearly unrealistic proportions. The sooner your daughter learns to accept her body, the better she will feel about herself as she ages.

Q: How much privacy should I allow my tween daughter?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Children, like adults, need their privacy. However, adolescence is a confusing time when peer pressure is often stronger than parental rules. Keep track of who your daughter interacts with online and in person. You can allow her to have a journal of her own to jot down any thoughts and emotions she may not want to share.


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