Dear 'GMA' Advice Guru: Edward Freeman

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Edward Freeman from Killeen, Texas, is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read his response to a viewer-submitted question below!

Question from Jennifer in Cincinnati, Ohio "I am the mother of twin pre-teens and I am ready to start navigating the mine field of inevitable puberty. I am amazed that some of their friends have hit puberty at such a young age. How do I best prepare my girls for the changes they will soon see in their bodies? At what age should they first see a gynecologist?"

Edward's Answer:

Dear Jennifer:

Having one "tween" girl and a 13 year-old boy, I understand how you may feel. First, I'd like to say that it is never too early to talk to your children about their bodies and the earlier this is done, the easier the subject can be discussed. So having your children learn the parts of the body at a very early age is an excellent way to lead into growth and development later. Also, all children are different and so many will grow and develop at different times and rates, so when you see your daughter's friends doing just that, don't be alarmed.

This can be normal, but if you are unsure about your child's growth or development, reach out to your pediatrician for advice and guidance. Also there are several books on the market about development and puberty that are age / gender appropriate. I suggest you ask your girl's doctor if they have any book recommendations and then read the books yourself before you share them with your daughters. This can really help start the dialogue between you and your daughters on the subject of development and even pave the way to talks about dating, sexuality and reproduction.

As far as when is the right age to have your girls make their first visit to the gynecologist? You should check with your daughter's pediatrician for the best time for your daughters to make that transition.

Jennifer, this can really be a scary time for parents and children alike, but if the lines of communication are kept open and flowing between the three of you then chances are those girls of yours will reach out to you now and far into their adult lives and that can be a wonderful thing.

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