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Not a GIRL…Not yet a WOMAN


Witcher Life Span Development University of West Georgia Summer 2012



Be” (


, 1994,track 1).


A girl to a WOMAN

The lifespan has many developmental physical changes, and more particularly for a girl those changes can be truly life altering, especially during puberty, if not understood in its entirety. From finding the opposite sex attractive (“catching cooties”), waiting to exhale for your breast to come in, to the confusing time period of

menarche , the Adolescence stage of physical and emotional development for a girl will play a large role in determining the type of woman she develops into.


yrs. old

17 yrs. old

30 yrs. old


the age of ten to about 15 yrs. old acne kept me from pictures.

My Lifespan so far


What is Menarche?

Menarche, often referred to as a girl’s first period, is universally the

first menstrual cycle, or first menstrual bleeding. From both social and medical perspectives it is often considered the central event of female puberty, as it signals the possibility of fertility . It occurs at different ages due to cultural, social, and psychological reasons.More in particular, the timing of menarche is influenced by the female’s genetic background, physiology, biology, and environmental factors such as living conditions, especially nutritional factors. Getting a universal age of menarche is extremely difficult to configure, but some approximate that the median age of menarche worldwide is 14, and that out of all girls worldwide, the Asian population has a later onset of menarche in comparison to the West. In the United States menarche is about 12.5 years , 12.72 in Canada, 12.9 in the UK, and 13.06 years in Iceland.


Symptoms of Menarche(In the U.S., puberty generally begins at about age 10, followed by menarche at age 12 to 13.)

Physical Change

Emotional Change

Menarche is the peak of a series of physiological and anatomic processes of puberty such as…Body mass increases.Fluctuation of hormonesBreast tendernessFatigueAbdominal cramping HeadachesBloated Bleeding- a girl’s “flow”

MoodinessSensitivity StressDepressionBody-image conflictRights of Passage: Cultural


A peek into Menarche historically (Age of Menarche in Norway)


Breaking the ice on Menarche

In many cultures there is a

Rites of Passage ceremony welcoming & recognizing that a girl is moving into the 1st stage of womanhood. The way in which this coming of age is celebrated culturally ranges from self mutilation (some African tribes; representing fertility) to giving of money and parties.

Africa: The Moroccan People give the girl a party inviting her female family members. She receives money and lots of gifts.Asia, Australia, and Pacific Islands: In Australia, the Aborigines The women teach her of the female powers and the physical changes marking womanhood. In some Indian communities, young women are given a special menarche ceremony called Ruthu Sadangu.North America: The Navajo have a celebration called kinaalda (kinn-all-duh). Girls run footraces to show strength. A cornmeal pudding is made for the tribe to taste. The girls who experience menarche wear special clothes and style their hair like the Navajo goddess "Changing Woman".


And the Doctor says…(Tips for Talking About Menarche)

Knowledgeable books and videos or DVDs that can help and promote a more secure and educational conversation, which is a great place to begin for both single and two parent households. Speaking with your family doctor about ways to begin talking about menstruation and puberty would also assist in being correct when discussing what to expect. It would serve as a benefit if parents brush up on the facts of menstruation and have information available for your child to look at or read in their leisure.Rather than giving a unsure response to your child’s question, if there's a question that you don’t know the answer to, let your child know you will find out the information. This shows them that parents aren’t “know it alls” and can relate. Coordinate your conversations with the health lessons and sex education your child receives in school. Ask your child's teacher about his or her plans and for any advice.To break the ice, try asking your child some questions that will help you both ease into discussions. Ask what kind of questions he or she has while you walk down the feminine-hygiene products aisle at your grocery store or while you watch a commercial for pain relievers advertised to alleviate symptoms of PMS.© 1995-2012 KidsHealth® All rights reserved


Media & Menarche

The following are books, articles, and videos pertaining to Menarche.-(Books) Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret (Judy Blume)- Faced with the difficulties of growing up and choosing a religion, a twelve-year-old girl talks over her problems with her own private God.Girl Talk : All the stuff your sisters never told you (Carol Weston)- A book that focuses on girls and the many transitions the body, heart, and mind goes through during adolescence. -(Videos) A Period Piece by Camille Holder-BrownA short award-winning film about a girl afraid of getting her first period. This film is the perfect ice-breaker to start having "the talk" with your daughter. How to Help Your Teen Through PubertyDenise Richardson interviewing Carol Weston, a “puberty guru”. female reproductive System Video( Journal/ Research Study) Talking to your child about menstruation Through the Rites of Passage: Timing and Transition of Menarche, Childhood Sexual Abuse, and Anxiety Symptoms in Girls



-What: Menarche

is defined as t

he beginning of the menstrual function; especially: the first menstrual period of an


. Symptoms of Menarche on a physical level range from acne, fatigue to bloating. Emotional instability and self image conflicts arise largely due to this stage of adolescence.

-Who: Menarche effects girls predominantly between the ages of 12 and 14 years of age. It differs due to social, cultural, biological, and environmental circumstances

-When: When menarche occurs most girls are beginning their adolescence phase of their lifespan. When it begins many girls, depending on cultural relevance, go through

Rights of Passage


-Where: Parents & guardians can find helpful information about Menarche from their family physician, various helpful and knowledgeable websites, videos, and books… Most doctors advise having this discussion before Menarche begins with your child.

-Why: Menarche can be a life changing event for many girls if it isn't understood in its entirety. This is important because changes and increases in the age of onset menarche from decades before are a “tell-tell” sign of our society’s present birth rate, teens having babies, and so forth.





of Menarche in Norway [Chart]," in Children and Youth in History, Item #207,


:// (accessed June 29, 2012).


by Stephen


(I selected this reference (chart) to show how over time, even in the rural areas of foreign countries such as Norway, the age of menarche gradually begins to younger adolescent girls. )




, J. (1970).

Are you




me, Margaret

. (1 ed.). New York, NY: Yearling


(After doing a little research on menarche, many fellow teacher, mothers, and friends suggested this text for young girls who are experiencing or about to experience menarche. )




. “Talking to your child about menstruation.” Retrieved June 5, 2012, from



&ps= 104


(As I researched various websites that could give me notable information, from doctors in particular, I found that this site was great for the layman and any parents or young lady interested in learning more about puberty and menarche.)



, L.D.,


, J

., &


, M.N. (2010).

Going Through the Rites of Passage: Timing and Transition

of Menarche



Sexual Abuse, and

Anxiety Symptoms

in Girls.

Journal of Youth and


. 40(10): 1357–1370.


June 6,2012, from




This journal was very informative and a wonderful peek into how puberty, menstruation and cultural rituals play a strong role on how a girl perceives her self. )



, C. (2003). Gender differences at puberty. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.





(This book explores gender differences and goes in detail about menarche. It presents a methodology , research, results and much more to add to the expansive books, videos, and more research that contribute to understanding the adolescence metamorphosis

. )



, C. (


). “The Carol Weston Home Page.” Retrieved July 5, 2012, from




, C. (1985).

Girl talk

. New York City: Harper-Collins.



, C. (2009, June 06). Interview by Richardson, D

. [Web Based Recording



: How to help

our teen

through puberty.



http:// how-to-help-your-teen-



(For the three references used from Carol Weston, an author on female adolescence development and the many concerns that follow and a columnist for nearly two decades on girl

woman issues, gives great and wise advise

on menarche, puberty, changes in image, dating and so forth. )







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