Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ch-Ch-Changes: Let's Talk About Puberty!

A while ago I was sent something called the Changes kit, a cute little boxed set of items that are meant to ease your pre-pubescent girl into the exciting world of menstruation, pimples and mood swings. I say 'a while ago' because it really was a few months ago, and I owe the people behind this product a little apology for not reviewing it sooner. But I received it right on the heels of reviewing another similar product, and I thought that if my tween girls even caught a glimpse of anything that might elicit another one of my 'talks' they'd steer clear of me. In fact, my 'talks' have become so unpopular that I've found that even clearing my throat, or walking in to a room and saying, "There comes a time..." can send them screaming from the house.

Fortunately the Changes kit is a very non-confrontational way of getting some basic facts in front of your teen or tween daughter without having to convene a town hall meeting, or necessitating the use of PowerPoint presentations or flow charts (no pun intended, I swear.) It consists of The Guide, a pocket-sized informational booklet that covers everything from your first period right down to picking out your first bra (there's a couple of paragraphs about toxic shock system that are a little intense and could use some editing - I might give my daughter a little less alarming version, so that she doesn't faint at the sight of a tampon.)

Everything in the Changes kit is beautifully designed, cleverly packaged and, refreshingly - has a contemporary feel to it. This is especially important if you've seen the ancient, completely outdated films that most schools use to educate our kids about puberty. I think the one I saw recently featured a woman using cave drawings to tell her daughters that they had 'the curse' because they hadn't clubbed enough bison that month.

Then there's a journal for your daughter to jot down her innermost thoughts, things like, "I REALLY wish my mom would STOP TRYING TO TALK TO ME ABOUT SEX" and "Dr. Pepper RULES." The journal also contains a handy calendar wheel for keeping track of period days and in a little pocket in the back are some beautiful notecards with matching envelopes. I imagine these wouldn't be used for notes like, "Dear Sarah - I got my period today. SQUEAL!!!" but more like, "Dear Sarah - I swear, if my mom tries to TALK TO ME ABOUT SEX ONE MORE TIME I'm totally going to run away with Todd. I don't care that he smells like lunchmeat."

Last but not least the kit contains a few fun items that my 10-year-old has already taken possession of - a 'Mood Pen' with different colors of ink to "reflect your feelings and moods" and three small bottles of perfume meant to express said moods. She hasn't reached puberty but apparently she's ready to smell like she has. I've already had to restrict the use of one the scents she's been using a little too often, one appropriately named, 'Diva.'

I'd recommend the kit as a supplement to having a good old-fashioned talk with your daughter - nothing takes the place of the real deal, and you can't put a price on seeing the various looks of disgust, embarrassment and boredom that crosses the face of your tween or teen as they hear their mother use words like 'sex' and 'breasts' and 'vagina.' But the Changes kit would make a nice intro to the subject, a gentle way to broach a lot of topics that aren't necessarily easy to bring up. I think my first attempt went something like, "How was school? Well, here's a snack, and I've also got a box of maxi-pads for you."

See? I could use all the help I can get.

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Karen said...

LOL--I have some kit I sent away for, too....haven't even looked at it yet...oops. Daughter's 10. Guess I better pull it out. She and I have already had a good chat about menstruation and the like. She was quite intrigued by the concept of tampons...wanted to do science experiements with the different absorbencies--in bottles of water, not herself!

califmom said...

Just to freak everyone out, my 10yo STARTED HER PERIOD. I was 12. She just started wearing a training bra.

So, I cannot stress enough just how important it is to have 'the talk' in an ongoing fashion, from fairly early on.

Fortunately, thanks to our talks and some great books on the subject, she handled it like a pro. (Started away from home, on an outing w/a friend and friend's DAD!)

Anyway, she was less-than-thrilled to get her period, did not want any fanfare, but was all about the discussions of logistics like pads, tampons, moods, hygiene, etc.

Later that night, she put the tooth she'd lost under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Yes, she still believes. It's a weird world.

Anonymous said...

I got this for my daughter (Age 11) and It was great! She barley knew she was learning about puberty! I reccomend this to everyone!

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