My 9 year-old daughter is already acting like a teenager. When should I expect things to start to change with her, and when do I need to talk to her about puberty and sex.
The answer to all these questions is “Yes.” You need to talk to her. Actually, you need have conversations with her all along the way, just as David mentioned regarding boys.
Statistically, today, there are girls starting their periods as young as 8. It’s not the norm, but it is happening. Your daughter needs to hear your voice as to what’s going to happen to her body physically, and the changes that will take place in her emotionally. She doesn’t just need to hear about them in health class. And she certainly doesn’t need to learn the version communicated by her 4th grade peers.
We talk a lot at Daystar about how kids have a built-in mechanism for asking the questions they’re ready for—in other words, they’re internally prepared for the answers. So, if your daughter is asking about sex, have an age-appropriate and honest conversation with her about it. Use books like the God’s Design for Sex series to help guide the conversations. If you’re noticing the beginning of changes in her body, take her on a girls’ trip and talk to her about what those changes mean. She needs to know and look forward to that God has placed inside of her as a woman—the strength and dignity and intuition and hope. She’ll doubt herself often on the journey, and she needs you to talk to her in a way that educates and inspires her about all of the good God has in store.