Teaching your daughter to stay healthy involves a focus on every aspect of her health, including her reproductive system. However, for a teen girl who is in the midst or on the other side of puberty, the idea of a gynecological exam can seem frightening. As a parent, it's your job to ease her fears and let her know everything will work out fine. Learn what you can do to make your daughter more comfortable with the process.
Let Her Take the Lead
You can select the GYN and even schedule the appointment time but leave it up to her from that point forward. The less your daughter feels like she's being forced into something, the less stress she will feel about the experience.
If necessary, you can even let your daughter tell you when she's ready for you to make the appointment. Once you arrive at the office, keep up the same mindset. Ask her if she wants you to be in the exam room with her or if she's more comfortable being alone. It's essential she feels like it's her body and she's in control.
Be an Open Book
Tell your daughter as much as you can about the exam experience, both the good and the less-than-good parts. For example, let your daughter know that she may feel a subtle sense of discomfort when the doctor places the instrument inside.
However, it's all a part of the process, and if at any point she feels like something is wrong, she has the right to speak up and let the doctor know about her discomfort. The best way to give information to your daughter is to let her ask questions, and you have to be willing to share a response, even if you're uncomfortable with the discussion.
Teach Her How to Prepare
Make sure she knows how to prepare for the exam. First, tell her that she should take a shower before her appointment, as certain bacteria can throw off her pap smear reading and give a false positive. You might even schedule the appointment at the beginning of the day or long enough after school that she has an opportunity to go home and freshen up.
Second, ensure she knows that she should wear loose-fitting clothing on that day. She may have to remove all of her clothing except for her bra, so the easier she can slip out and slip back into her clothing, the better.
Your child's first exam can be an intimidating experience, but you can help put her mind at ease by taking the actions mentioned above.