Your Teenager, Positive Body Image, Sex, and Bikini Waxing...
Put your big girl panties on and buckle up buttercup, because the teenage years are gonna suck the life out of you. Let's start with body hair and when it's time to start removing it!
This topic is really personal to me because I myself was very hairy as a young girl, and nobody really ever thought to ask if it was something I was struggling with. I had a full mustache by the time I was in kindergarten and I have a vivid memory of other kids pointing it out...and how embarrassed I was! I was so embarrassed that I never told anyone how bad it made me feel, and so I secretly started shaving it when I was 9 or 10. That resulted in my having a 5 o'clock shadow by the time I was 13! You don't realize how much damage can be done to a young girl and her body image by ignoring something that seems as insignificant as body hair.... Kids are cruel, and it starts young, so make sure to start talking to your daughter about what will be happening to her body and what she can do to make her feel as comfortable with herself as possible, as early as possible!
I myself have a now 21 year old daughter, so I'm giving you this advice coming straight off the misery that is the teen years! I think that the biggest thing I didn't realize was how quickly your little girl goes from being your best friend and cudddle buddy, to moody, hormonal, angsty teen. It happens overnight, and it's INTENSE. So before that happens, you want to have already had these conversations with her, because teenagers are so annoyed with everything that comes out of our mouths, it makes it hard to know what they've retained at all!
What does she need to do to cleanse herself properly once she has her period? Make sure she understands that she needs to cleanse the inside of her outer labia, and all the way back between her tush cheeks. Introduce her to cleanser for her bikini area that will make sure that her Ph stays balanced.
Explain to her that shaving or waxing her bikini area is fine to do, and will need to be done in order to wear a bathing suit. If she opts for shaving, make sure she isn't allergic to the nickle in razors! If she has sensitive skin in general it's probably best to let her have the bikini line waxed. (A Traditional Bikini Wax is just the sides where the panty line ends and is completely appropriate for a young girl, I would say that 12 is usually the norm, but if your daughter is very hairy, even 10. Of course mom should be present at this appointment. For a 10 year old I strongly suggest doing the band aid being ripped off the arm hair to show her what it feels like before making an appointment for her.)
If your daughter has a mustache just let the poor kid remove it properly and professionally if she's asking. Before you make the call to the salon you should use a bandaid being removed from her arm hair to give her an idea of what it feels like. Then she can decide if she's ready to go in and get it done.
You set the stage for your daughter and how she views her body! She's taking these cues from you, and making sure that she isn't growing up being ashamed of how she looks is a huge job, but it's literally what we are supposed to do! I found that the more I normalized talking about our bodies, the less embarrassment my daughter showed when I started talking about grooming and later on about sex.
This brings me to my next point.... Getting a bikini wax has NOTHING to do with your daughter wanting to have sex! I find that a lot of fathers in particular get really anxious about this, and that's because they're men and it's all they think about. I promise you- letting your 13 year old get a Traditional Bikini Wax is NOT going to cause her to run out and have sex with her boyfriend. What it WILL do, is help her feel good about herself when shes at the beach with her friends or on the swim team.
Listen, parenting isn't for the faint of heart, so whatever advice I can give, I'm always happy to! At the end of the day, you know your daughter better than anyone, so you'll know when the time is right to have these conversations.
Having our daughters be prepared and empowered is the biggest gift we can give them!