When your daughter is the first to hit puberty.

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When your daughter is the first to hit puberty.

Being the first to develop physically is hard. I've never met a girl who is the first, who is thrilled about it. If that's the case with your daughter, identify it. Start talking about it. It's fine to acknowledge that it's hard. Almost always, if your daughter is the first to develop, then you were the first to develop, too. These things tend to be genetically similar. Mothers can really sympathize, and I think it really helps as daughter when a mother can say, "I remember what it felt like. It was that way for me, too." If it wasn't the case for you, still try to identify with your child. Try to find an experience that you had that might be emotionally similar. I think just discussing it and putting it on the table, helps a girl feel better. Practically speaking, I'm a fan of keeping girls covered up. I don't think there is any reason for girls to show of their body too soon at all. It's not a shame thing, in fact, it's a pride thing. Girls should not be wearing tight fitting shirts when they start to develop because they are trying to figure out how they feel about their body. Girls with breast buds say that tight fitting shirts are quite uncomfortable because that skin is very tender. Teach your daughter how to wear appropriate clothing that's a little bit looser fitting, so that not everybody is noticing all the changes. When it comes to height, the tallest girl in the class will often say she doesn't like being the tallest girl in the class. There's not much you can do about that. You can talk about the pros to the cons. You can talk about the athletic benefits and all the great things about being tall. Remember that there is the shortest girl in the class, too. She feels the opposite. There's always a spectrum. Put it into perspective for your child. I think, most importantly, acknowledge that it's hard to be first and that it's reasonable for your child

View Cara Natterson, MD's video on When your daughter is the first to hit puberty....


Expert Bio

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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