Skip Navigation

Main sections

Skip section navigation (navigation may have changed)

Section navigation

girlshealth.gov logo

http://www.girlshealth.gov/

Body for parents : en Español

Mother and daughter sitting together

As a parent or guardian of a girl, you want her to appreciate and care for her body. Of course, it’s not always easy to get girls to eat right, exercise, stay safe, and develop other healthy habits. But you’ve already taken a great step by looking for helpful information. This section of girlshealth.gov covers questions about girls’ bodies inside and out. Keep reading to learn about dealing with puberty, periods, sex, sleep, backpacks, and much more.  

Remember, the pre-teen and teen years are times of huge changes — physically, emotionally, and socially. Your love and support can really help the girls in your life!

Talking with your teen or pre-teen about some topics — from body piercings to birth control — can be tough, especially when she may be feeling pretty independent. Make sure to let her know that you take her opinions seriously. And make sure to say what you expect from her. Believe it or not, when asked whose opinion they care about most, most teens will name their parents.

This section of girlshealth.gov will help you and your girl deal with:

Ways to encourage healthy habits arrow top

Here are some tips to help you teach girls to respect and protect their bodies:

  • Give girls the chance to practice taking care of their own health. Encourage them to write down questions for their doctor. As they get older, see if they can make their own appointments, too.
  • Discuss coping skills for difficult situations. For example, help a girl practice what she might say if someone offers her drugs. (Check out some smart answers.)
  • Help girls develop a sense of consequences. Talk about the possible results of certain behaviors, like having sex or driving drunk.
  • Model the behaviors you want the girls in your life to copy. Work together to stay well, like cooking a yummy — and healthy — meal.
  • Set safety rules. Applaud positive behaviors, like wearing a bike helmet. Discuss any problems, but avoid any harsh criticisms and punishments that might just make her feel bad about herself.
  • Be loving and supportive. Have patience with things that may not seem important to you (like a pimple), but that seem very important to a teen.
  • Teach girls not to be ashamed of having problems with weight, self-esteem, or other areas of their lives. Encourage them to talk to you, a doctor, or another trusted adult.

Don’t give up when you feel challenged or overwhelmed by raising a girl. Remember, you’re helping her become a confident, strong woman who knows how to take care of her health and her future.

Websites

  1. flag Body Image and Your Kids – Womenshealth.gov has created a special section on our website to help you learn how to develop a positive body image and influence your children to do the same.
  2. flag girlshealth.gov: Body – We have created the girlshealth.gov Body section to help adolescent girls learn more about some of the unique health issues and social situations they will encounter during the teen years. This section provides information, resources, and links to help to your daughter learn more about her body.
  3. flag Parent Information – This website includes information about a range of health topics, such as child safety, immunization schedules, and developmental milestones.
  4. Tools for Parents (Copyright © Planned Parenthood) – Addressing certain topics with your children can be difficult for the both of you. This resource can make it easier to talk to your daughter about topics like sex.

Publications

  1. Encouraging a Healthy Body Image - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.
  2. Growth Charts - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.
  3. Your Child's Weight - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.
    http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/childs_weight.html
  4. Your Daughter's First Gynecological Exam - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.
    http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/medical/first_gyn.html
  5. Talking to Your Child about Puberty - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.
    http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/talk_about_puberty.html
  6. Talking to Your Child about Menstruation - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.
    http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/talk_about_menstration.html
  7. Questions and Answers About Sex - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.

    http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/questions_sex.html
  8. Medical Care and Your 13- to 18-Year-Old - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.

    http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/doctor/medical_care_13_18.html
  9. Connecting With Your Preteen - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.

    http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/preteen.html
  10. A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years - This is a helpful article from kidshealth.org.

    http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growing/adolesence.html
  11. Are You an Askable Parent? (Copyright © Advocates for Youth) – As a parent or caregiver, it is very important for you to be askable, meaning that young people see you as approachable and open to questions. This publication offers advice to parents on how to be askable, including tips on how to become more confident about your ability to discuss sexuality.

    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=475&Itemid=177
  12. pdf  HPV Vaccine: What You Need to Know – This fact sheet discusses the benefits and risks of getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. It also defines HPV and talks about who should get the vaccination, who should wait, and where you can get more information.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hpv-gardasil.html
  13. Menstruation: Preparing Your Preteen for Her Period (Copyright © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) – This publication gives guidance to parents on how to discuss menstruation with their daughters. Most of the information provided is based on studies conducted to determine what girls themselves want to know.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/menstruation/FL00040
  14. Puberty: What to Expect When Your Child Goes Through Puberty (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) – This publication contains information on puberty, the signs that your child is going through puberty, and what you can do to help your child.

    http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children/parents/parents-teens/445.html
  15. Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (Copyright © American Psychological Association) – This report explores how sexualized images of girls and young women in the media affects girls in real life.

    http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx
  16. Teaching Your Daughters Self-Esteem (Copyright © Love Our Children USA) – Teach your daughters how to love their bodies and have high self-esteem. Tips are provided to parents on how to build their children’s confidence.

    http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/parent_teachgirlselfesteem.php
  17. Teens and Sexual Health Myths (Copyright © Center for Young Women's Health) – Many teens will turn to the Internet to find out information about sex, but is this information accurate? This video addresses common myths that should be discussed with your child.

    http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/sexual_health_myths.html
  18. Ten Tips for Parents of a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender Child (Copyright © Advocates for Youth) – This publication consists of parent newsletters to assist you in your unique role as the primary sexuality educator of your child. Five newsletters are available for every age/grade level, pre-school through grade twelve. Each issue provides relevant, age-specific sexuality information, useful strategies, communication hints, and suggested resources to support you in your efforts.

    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D173%26Itemid%3D206
  19. There's No Place Like Home...for Sex Education (Copyright © Advocates for Youth) – This publication offers parent newsletters to assist you in your role as the primary sexuality educator of your child. Five newsletters are available for every age/grade level, pre-school through grade 12. Each issue gives relevant, age-specific sexuality information, useful strategies, communication hints, and suggested resources to support you in your efforts.

    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=589&Itemid=177

Organizations

  1. Advocates for Youth

    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/
  2. American Academy of Family Physicians

    http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home.html
  3. Center for Young Women's Health

    http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/
  4. Division of Adolescent and School Health, CDC

    http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/about/index.htm
  5. KidsHealth

    http://kidshealth.org/
  6. Office of Population Affairs, OPHS, OS, HHS

    http://www.hhs.gov/opa/
  7. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

 

Federal resource = This article, publication, website, or organization is from the U.S. government.

Content last reviewed January 11, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

top