Periods and puberty are difficult topics, and talking about these subjects can make both mum and daughter feel a wee bit uncomfortable. But they are better discussed in the open than leave young girls clueless or scrambling for reliable information.
Here are some ways to initiate this conversation with them and help them better understand and make good decisions about their bodies and health.
Know when and what to talk about.
Talking about periods shouldn’t one big talk at a specific age – avoid the overwhelming, sit-down “chat” and go for casual everyday talks, says KidsHealth.org. Start the conversation early, such as when a 5-year-old sees a tampon and wonder what it’s for. Slowly build on your child’s understanding, giving her more information is she becomes ready. Depending on your child’s age and level of development, discuss when monthly periods arrive, what causes them, how long they last, and if a girl can get pregnant as soon as her period starts.
Avoid using euphemisms and negative language. Talk about menstruation and bleeding in a positive way, probably mentioning that it signals the beginning of womanhood and that women get monthly cycles so they can have babies when they’re ready.
Demystify the physical details.
Try to remove the perception that life’s limited by having a period. Focus on the fact that it isn’t a disease and remind your child that she can still do nearly everything while on her period, urges pediatrician and author Dr. Cara Natterson in a Parents.com feature. Empower her during this time.
Be hands-on with how she uses her supplies.
Eradicate the fear that comes with tampons and pads, including worries they won’t work or they will leak. Teach your daughter how to use a pad or tampon, when to change it, and the ins and outs of basic hygiene. Describe the logistics of her period: how to manage it in school or in a public place, what to do if she’s a swimmer, and even how to build a pad out of toilet paper when she runs out of supplies.
Welcome her own thoughts and experiences.
Have your child discuss the physical sensations of moisture that go along with having periods, and how she imagines leaking or sitting in a puddle of blood in a chair. During her first time, did she get cramps or feel queasy? Address her experiences in context, put names to her symptoms, and provide the tools she needs to tackle them.
Support is key.
Periods can be a daunting reality, so offer not just personal advice but also the available resources out there. Suggest that she look at sites that provide tips to teen girls, or foster a sense of community by having a friend or classmate’s back whenever she’s in the middle of a period mishap.
Try a subscription box.
Period subscription boxes are a real thing, and you can order them for yourself and your daughter a week or so before that time of the month. They also come with gifts and treats (like aromatherapy candles and skincare products) that can help her indulge and get through it.
Sara Bishop lives in Queensland and began working at age 14. Throughout her career she has worked administration, research, and advisory positions, as well as helped lead companies, including a sales and marketing agency at present. She is married to entrepreneur Luke Bishop and they have three children. She is the force behind Perfect Timing, a women’s wellness service that delivers customised parcels filled with feminine products to transform THAT time of the month into THE time of the month. Learn more on this page.
Posted November 9th at 3:45am