Gabby Logan: How I talk to my teenage children about puberty


By Lisa Salmon

It happens to everyone, yet both parents and children still find it hard
to discuss puberty.

Research shows half of parents (50%) and more than half of their
children (57%) admit they find 'TheTeenTalk' difficult, yet 80% of young
people and 94% of parents think it's fundamentally important to talk to
each other about puberty.

The difficulties are something sports presenter and mum-of-two Gabby
Logan completely understands, although only from her own experience as a
young teen, and not that of her 13-year-old twins.

"Talking about puberty with my children has been quite open and easy,
compared to what I experienced when I was younger," she admits.

Because Logan feels her own children, Lois and Reuben, are very honest
about puberty, and because she wasn't so candid herself as a teenager -
just like many other parents and teens - she's joined forces with Boots
UK and P&G to launch the #TheTeenTalk  a campaign to get the nation
talking openly and honestly about all things puberty.

Logan, 45, says: "I know exactly what parents are going through. But
talking about puberty doesn't have to be difficult. Even though there's
no 'one size fits all' approach, it's important for children and their
parents to get talking - and stay talking.

"It doesn't always come naturally or easily to everybody, and some kids
are more shy and introverted and don't want to talk about it, while some
parents didn't have a great experience themselves, so they don't know
how to start the conversation."

Are your children embarrassed when you talk to them about puberty?

"They don't seem embarrassed - some of the things they ask, I would have
been a lot more embarrassed about. They seem more open about it, " she

"Maybe their friends are having more conversations with them too. So I
can't be embarrassed if they ask me, because it would defeat the object.
It's been, for the most part, fairly straightforward compared to my
experiences as a kid."

Were you anxious about puberty as a teenager?

"I was really embarrassed and self-conscious - as the eldest of four
children, it was going to happen to me first, obviously. I didn't like
it and I didn't want it. I felt really anxious about it, but I'm pleased
to say that I don't see that kind of anxiety with my own daughter, which
is good, because I wasted too much mental space thinking about what was
going to happen when I had my first period. I didn't want to change
physically, but all those things were inevitable. So I'm glad she's not
wasted too much time worrying."

How have you approached #TheTeenTalk with your children?

"It's not been one specific 'sit down and chat', like this is the only
time we're ever going to talk about it," she explains.

"It's just evolved over the last couple of years really, as they're
changing and asking questions and they see people around them changing
and want to know what's happening. We've had, and will continue to have,
lots of conversations.

"Sometimes a conversation comes up when they're both in the car - I
wouldn't embarrass either of them and try to talk to them about
something really personal if the other was there - I don't want to
compromise either of them. But sometimes they both start a conversation,
or they start talking to each other about something, and then we all

"Or it could be a conversation 'round the breakfast table - it's as and
when. And because they're twins and they've got each other, while
they're not going through exactly the same changes, they're experiencing
similar changes and they can talk to each other, which is great."

Do the twins talk to their dad (retired rugby player Kenny Logan) about

"They do talk to Kenny - more and more Reuben goes to him about certain
boy things, he talks to me lots about things that I would never have
imagined my 13-year-old son would talk about - he's very relaxed.

"Compared to some of his mates, Reuben seems quite open, but maybe
that's because he's got a twin sister and it helps him to have those
conversations quite candidly - he's pretty cool about it."

Why do you think it's important for children to talk to their parents
about puberty?

"I'd rather they talked to me about anything than get misinformed,"
Logan stresses.

"They do get a lot of information from their friends, but that was
forever thus, wasn't it? Kids talk to each other, but they don't always
get the right information, so it's quite good we're there to guide them
as to what might be a bit more normal, and which stories are slightly
embellished and not quite true."

Do you think your children keep secrets from you?

"I hope they do have secrets - it might be someone they have a crush on,
and they don't have to tell me about every person they have a crush on,
although they do talk about that kind of stuff. I don't want them to
think they can't have anything to themselves, but I don't want them to
be holding anything inside that's making them anxious."

The teens talk...

And finally, what do Lois and Reuben think about puberty so far?

"Growing up and going through puberty can be a strange but exciting
time," says Lois. "There are a lot of firsts; your first spot, first
period, first time you shave your legs."

And Reuben adds: "We've been really lucky and have felt at ease when
talking about puberty with our parents, but I know that's not the case
for everyone."

Boots and P&G have compiled  #TheTeenTalk Guide, available in Boots
stores or online until August 28.

Catherine Devane