Category Archives: Health Topics

Posts about different health topics impacting tween girls.

Instagram, Early Puberty, and the Truths Needed to Raise a Tween Girl

There have been several great articles in the news over this past week centered around tween girls.  We thought we would share them all in one big post.  A little variety for everyone.

The first article, and closest one to our heart as it deals with periods and puberty, is from NPR News.  The book A New Puberty is reviewed via an interview with the authors Julianna Deardorff and Louise Greenspan, two California based researchers.  Pay particular attention to the comments if you are grappling with this issue as several parents have shared their experiences with their daughter and early puberty.

An eye opening article for any parent whose daughter uses Instagram is The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram by Rachel SImmons. Read how this popular social media tool can be a blow to a young girl’s self-image in the constant competition for ‘likes’.

And lastly, enjoy this very heartfelt article from Galit Breen – 14 Essential Truths About Raising a Tween Girl.  Ms. Breen offers what she considers the best wisdom on how to love and nurture the tween girl in your life.

Teach Girls about Menstruation with Free Bookmarks

Dot Girl Products is dedicated to the mission of helping every girl have a positive first period experience. We applaud organizations that provide programs for young girls and schools – both private and public – that strive to provide health education for their students.

We believe that the more accurate information a girl has about puberty and menstruation the better her chances are of growing into a confident, healthy woman. That’s why we’ve created the Dot Girl ‘What’s Normal?’ bookmark.

Available for FREE to schools and non-profit organizations, the ‘What’s Normal?’ bookmark is designed to dispel some of the fears that girls have around menstruation. It can also be used as a way to open up a dialog between girls and their parents who may find it difficult to broach the subject of menstruation.

Contact Dot Girl Products owner Kathy Pickus at kathy@dotgirlproducts to order bookmarks which will be shipped free of charge.'What's Normal?' bookmarks from Dot Girl Products

Below Your Belt Launches at Women’s Health Foundation

The Women’s Health Foundation has launched their Below Your Belt initiative aimed at educating adolescent girls about all things ‘down there’.  The initiative includes a community blog and soon to be released Below Your Belt book.  The book will feature The Dot Girl First Period Kit as a suggested resource for educating girls about menstruation.

Below Your Belt

Fertilize Your Garden with Period Blood?

Sometimes I run across something in the news that I am not sure is cool or gross – like the current movement of mothers eating their newborn babies placentas.  I think this article about fertilizing your garden with menstrual blood also falls into both categories.  It’s great to be eco-friendly but I am going to leave it up to Dot Girl readers as to whether or not this is going a bit too far!

Use menstrual blood to fertilize garden.


Tips on Preventing Teen Dating Violence

My daughter is 25 now and throughout her dating career I’ve been a little bit of a protective mother and tried to make sure she was in positive relationships. Fortunately that was always the case, however, it may not be the case for every teenage girl. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about hearts and flowers between loved ones. Lurking in the background though is the possibly of relationship violence. That is why when I saw this article in our local newspaper I thought it would be a good idea to post it for our readers. The article lists phone numbers for support services in the local area. Take some time to research what the resources are in your area and share them with your daughter.

Mukilteo Beacon, February 12, 2014: DVS Working to Prevent Teen Dating Violence
February, often seen as a month for love and relationships, is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

This month, Alyssa Morgan, the teen dating violence prevention expert for Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, hopes to raise awareness and prevention of abuse in teen relationships.

An educator, Morgan visits high school and middle school classrooms throughout the county, and teaches students through presentations and interactive activities about healthy relationships so that they are less likely to get involved in an abusive one.

“This is investing in the age where they are starting their relationships, even as early as 11 years,” Morgan said. “It gives us an opportunity to promote healthy relationships, show them what that is, and give them tools to develop healthy relationships. It’s all about education.”

According to DVS, an estimated one in three teens ages 12-18 will be victims of abuse in their relationships. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal or – these days – digital.

However, many don’t know violence in teen relationships is an issue because only 33 percent of teens who are “dating” will report it, according to DVS.

So far in the Mukilteo School District, Morgan has shared her age-appropriate curriculum with students at both Mariner and Kamiak high schools and is working to expand to Voyager Middle School.

Her overall goal is to get teens talking openly about relationships – gender stereotypes, what is healthy, what they want out of a relationship, what isn’t heathy and what they don’t want.

“I also ask the kids, ‘What do you value about yourself?’” Morgan said. “Because what I learned is that it starts inside; it starts with them individually. If they don’t value themselves, then these kids are not able to develop healthy relationships.”

Sarah McCoy teaches Family and Consumer Sciences, Family Health, Personal Choices and Independent Living at Mariner High School. She has asked Morgan to talk to her classes several times.

“For my students, it’s very, very relevant, because they either grow up in homes where they see it or they have experienced it or they know others who have experienced it,” McCoy said.

“They’re dating, they’re in relationships, and they know about abuse, but they don’t recognize the key warning signs.”

Morgan said teens who see abusive relationships as the norm at home are more likely to become victims of abuse or an abuser.

However, when she asks students what a healthy relationship means to them, all of them say it’s about trust, loyalty, love and compatibility.

“They know these things because those words mean something to everybody, but they don’t all know how to put that into practice,” Morgan said. “They don’t all know what is the active sense of those words.”

Morgan said their lack of relationship experience makes teens more susceptible to dating violence. They may confuse jealousy, possessiveness and abuse with signs of love and affection.

“A lot of times, in these relationships, it’s the rose-color glasses,” she said. “They think, ‘It will never happen to me’ or ‘It’s just stress,’ or ‘It’s not that big of a deal.’”

She said the mistake teens make is thinking that they can fix their relationship or that they can change their partner.

“Abuse escalates over time,” Morgan said. “It doesn’t start off with a black eye – it starts off with someone telling you that you’re worthless.”

Teens are more likely to talk to their peers than an adult about their relationships, out of fear that they will lose their newfound independence, Morgan said.

However, she said talking to their peers might make it harder for a victim to judge if his or her partner’s behavior is out of line. Not only that, peer intervention may increase the victim’s risk.

Just part time, Morgan said she wishes she could educate more teens about healthy relationships, but right now the funds aren’t there to make hers a full-time position. She said she has visited about a third of the county’s schools.

Morgan said her presentations seem to be helping. At least one student per classroom comes up afterward and shares a dating experience or says, “Thank you – I didn’t know.”

“You have to nip it in the bud, address it, talk about it,” Morgan said. “It’s scary. We don’t want to talk about abuse, but it is happening.

“We have to start having conversations about these types of things. If we don’t, it’s not going to get any better.”

If you’re in an abusive relationship, call the DVS 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 425-25-ABUSE to report it. If you need urgent help, call 911.

Go to for more information about dating violence and prevention.

Want Morgan to visit your school? Contact her at

The following are warning signs of dating violence, if your boyfriend or girlfriend…

• Is excessively jealous

• Checks in with you constantly or makes you check in with him/her

• Has an explosive temper

• Is violent and/or has a history of fighting, abuses animals and/or brags about mistreating others

• Tries to control you by giving orders, making all the decisions, telling you what you should and should not do

• Pressures you or is forceful about sex

• Isolates you from friends and family and talks badly of those who are important to you

• Believes in the stereotypical gender roles

• Gets too serious about the relationship too fast

• Blames you when he/she mistreats you and tells you that you provoked him/her

• Does not accept responsibility for his/her actions

• Has a history of bad relationships and blames them on previous partners

• You fear or worry about how he/she will react to what you say or do

• Owns or uses weapons

• Won’t let you break up with him/her

Above information from Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County.

See original article here.

The Kids Aren’t All Right

Over the years Dot Girl Products has looked for ways to support girl empowerment organizations. We have donated to the Central Asia Institute, an organization that promotes peace through education by establishing more than 171 schools, most of them for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. We have also made donations to the Mukilteo School District where we are located and promoted the Day of the Girl events.

We’ve done this to help raise awareness amongst our readers of the good works being done by these organizations. When we were contacted to share the below infographic we just knew it was one more way to get the word out and recommend ways to help.

‘The Kids Aren’t All Right’ infographic details the countries in the world that are the worst for kids, our most vulnerable population.  Information is tabulated for everything from percent of child laborers to rates of teen suicides.

How can you help?  We’ve mentioned before a great book that points you in the proper direction.  Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas D. Kristof (a New York Time columnist) and Sheryl WuDunn.  While the book focuses on the plights facing young girls, many of the organizations listed in the book help all children.  We encourage you to visit the Half the Sky website to find out more.

Produced By Healthcare Administration Degree Programs

Menstruation Artwork

Menstruation Artwork

I spend a fair amount of time on the internet reading and researching menstruation information to bring to Dot Girl readers.  It seems lately that the discussion of menstruation and periods is landing in the main stream news more often.  This is a good thing as menstruation should not be a taboo subject and the more information girls have the better.  The topic of menstruation is also being used in art pieces and clothing and today I bring you two examples that I recently discovered.

American Apparel Period Power T-Shirt

American Apparel
Period Power T-Shirt

This period t-shirt to be found at American Apparel is probably not going to end up on my shopping list.  The Canadian artist Petra Collins created an artistic drawing of the crotch of a woman who is both menstruating and masturbating.  Not for the faint of heart and already creating much buzz – both pro and con.  While I agree that women’s sexuality should not be a hidden subject and neither should menstruation, I’m not sure this is the best way to open the discussion.  I have yet to see anyone wearing this t-shirt.  Please let me know if you do.



Menstruation Artworkby Carina Ubeda

Menstruation Artwork
by Carina Ubeda

This art installation by Chilean Artist Carina Ubeda is comprised of five years of her own menstrual blood.  The imprints vary on the pieces of cloth and are each embroidered with words like “destroyed” and “production.” Reactions have raved from disgusted to interested.  As one female viewer noted “male blood is celebrated for being brave while ours is a shame.”

I agree with the female viewer’s comment that menstruation blood should not be viewed as shameful.  After all, over half of the world’s population experiences this monthly event.  Treating it as a normal everyday topic is the right step.

Have you seen other examples of menstruation artwork?  Please share in the comments below.



The Best Resources for Talking to Your Daughter About Sex

The Best Resources for Talking to Your Daughter About Sex

The Best Resources for Talking to Your Daughter about Sex

Don’t keep sex a secret from your daughter!

Parents: It’s time to show your daughters (and sons too) some love.  October is National Family Sexuality Education Month as promoted by Planned Parenthood and a coalition of non-profit organizations since 2002.  This month is the perfect time to prepare yourself to have some sex talks with your daughter.  The goal? To educate kids about sex, love, relationships, menstrual periods, body parts and so many other topics that your daughter wants to know about and you might be afraid to talk about.

Dot Girl is here is help with the discussion.  I’ve put together a list of some resources for you to draw from.  Use one, use them all, but use them to talk to your daughter about sex.  Research shows children want this information from their parents, not their peers.  She may not appear to be listening, but really she is.

Planned Parenthood Tools for Parents

Start with the premier provider of sexual health services.  Watch the first video to get your courage up and then watch the rest for tips on what to say and when to say it.  Most importantly, pay attention to the information on how to help your daughter delay her first sexual experience and then how to help her stay safe if and when she does start.  Risky behavior is not something you want your daughter to engage in.

What She Must Know About Contraception

Methods of contraception have multiplied over the past 20 years.  Need help explaining which is which to your daughter?  This infographic from Greatlist will help.  Review all the methods, some won’t be appropriate for a girl in her teens.  But better to know what is available early before it is too late.  And make sure she knows that contraception is a joint responsibility for both partners. More thoughts on this topic here.

Dr. Laura Berman

Yes, she targets adult sexual relationships.  And yet there are times when she has good advice for parents too.  Catch her on for a great article about Having the Sex Talk with Your Kids.

A great site courtesy of Nemours, this site has plenty of information for girls about puberty and what bodily changes to expect.  Review the information and share with your daughter.  There are also resources for parents.

Remember, the more information your daughter has about sex, the more informed she will be about sex.  The more informed she is about sex, the safer she will be having sex.  Good Luck!



Periods Aren’t Just For Sentences

Periods Aren’t Just For Sentences

Has your daughter asked you yet what a period is?  And have you answered ‘a period comes at the end of a sentence?’.  Although my daughter didn’t ask about periods at a young age, she did ask what sex was.  I cleverly answered that it was how to tell if someone is a girl or a boy.  She was about 4 years old and I was just not ready to start discussing sex with her.  We all find ourselves in these awkward positions with our kids but they don’t have to be awkward.   Having a few simple explanations ready for when the questions come helps.

The complicated but complete answer for what a menstrual period is goes something like this:

When a girl’s body gets to the right stage of development, it will start to release an egg each month of one of the two ovaries.  The lining of the uterus will thicken in preparation to hold and nourish a fertilized egg.

The egg is released two weeks before bleeding starts.  Most of the time the egg is not fertilized causing it to be flushed from the body through the vagina along with the lining of the uterus.  A menstrual period is that time when the egg and uterine tissue are being flushed.

A simpler explanation for a younger child might be:

We all grow from eggs just like birds do.  A bird’s egg grows in a nest and a human egg grows in a uterus, the difference is that a uterus is inside a mommy’s body.   If the nest isn’t needed it falls apart to make room for a new nest.  The old pieces leave mommy’s body during her monthly period.

It is important to use the correct words for body parts when children are young so they become familiar with the words and are comfortable saying them.  This will help in later years when they are learning about their bodies in school.  If something hurts, children will also be better able to describe symptoms to a doctor.

The other key thing to remember when discussing these topics with our children is that we feel awkward, so will our children.  Which means they might not turn to you for other questions later in life.  Keeping the conversation channels open early in life will only benefit both of you as your children grow older and face more challenging issues in their lives.


How to Talk to Your Daughter about her Body

How to Talk to Your Daughter about her Body

How To Talk to Your Daughter about her BodyReblogged from Hope Avenue:

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”


Read the rest of the post here.