female pediatrician with girl

The 3 top Questions All 10-year-old Girls

Want to Know.


Today I walked into room No. 1 to see a 10-year-old for a routine check-up.  Her mom and another lady were present and as we got talking, it was obvious that she was a very healthy young tween.  Everyone was beaming!

As I progressed through my routine, I asked mom if she had had a chance to talk to her about puberty.  Mom said “no” but she will be doing it soon.  Ashley (name has been changed) quickly started to giggle and awkwardly asked “What is puberty??”  As I glanced at the mom tears welled up in her eyes as she too started to sheepishly giggle.  Not wanting to lose the opportunity I asked mom if she wanted me to address the topic and get the conversation started.  Mom quickly agreed and I instantly felt overwhelmed.  It usually takes me a full hour in my seminars to present all this information.  How was I going to talk about puberty in the 20 mins that I had to spend with her, plus do her physical, check her vaccines, talk about safety and give her nutritional guidance?  YIKES!!  I had my work cut out for me.

In an attempt to be practical I asked: “What are the 3 top questions that you will like to know about puberty.  Let’s address those and you and your mom can continue the conversation at home. “ So here are the top 3 questions (and their responses) most 10-year-olds want to know.

  • What is Puberty?

Puberty is a time in a young child’s life when the body changes into its adult body.  These changes happen gradually over 5 to 6 years.  At the end of puberty, the body will have the ability to have a baby in the future, if and when you choose to.

  • What is a period?

All females are born with a special organ called a uterus.  It serves as a nest – a place for a baby to grow inside the mother’s body.  During puberty, your body starts practicing building a nest inside the uterus.  This nest is a cushion of blood and tissue that will serve as a safe place for a baby to grow.  If no baby is growing inside your body, this lining of blood will be shed and it comes out of your body through your vagina, a special opening in your private body parts.

  • When will I have my period?

There is no way that anyone can tell you for certain when you will have your first period.  Many different body changes have to happen.  But your first period will come at the right time for you!

By now mom had stopped crying, Ashley was calmer and I could hear the kid in Room No. 2 screaming.  “That was a lot of information to absorb in a short amount of time,” I told Ashley.  “But you don’t have to learn it all today.”  I gave her a few references for books and a DVD and moved on with her check-up.

In the end, by the time I left the room, the moms were all smiles.  Yes, Ashley has two mommies.  We will have another conversation about that at her next visit.   For now, this was a good start and a great check-up.

If your child is growing up in a same-sex parent household, the present moment is always the best time to start the conversation about sex, puberty, and reproduction.  Join me in our Healthy Chats for Tween and the Parenting for the Millennial Family courses.  We’ll share information and help guide you and your family through early childhood and puberty.