Talking to your daughter about her period.
If you grew up like me then you know “the talk” never happened with our old school parents. We just had to figure some things out for ourselves as our parents had a no-nonsense attitude. I for one remember feelings of shame and anxiety over the whole discussion.
The talk includes periods, boys, those raging hormones, and general hygiene. As a parent of an almost 10-year-old girl I knew I wanted to raise my children differently. I gave my girl a simple version of “the talk” (just the periods and hygiene) early this year. I was tipped off by other parents at school that the girls had started passing on this information amongst themselves. I, therefore, felt that I had to intervene and give the correct information to my curious little girl.
Most girls start their period anywhere between 10 to 14 years old. The average worldwide age is around 12 years old. In this day and age. Girls are getting information about these things from social media, Youtube, their friends, etc. So it is important that parents give accurate information on these topics.
The best place is to start with a firm promise that it is a discussion, a back and forth, that she can ask as many questions as she needs to ask and she can continue to ask them even after the discussion is over. Make sure your daughter knows that she is in a safe space and nothing is off-limits. of course, you could choose to avoid certain topics because of her age, etc but you can give a timeline as to when those other discussions can be had.
Your daughter may either be excited or fearful. It is important that you match her emotions. You are the adult here. Don’t appear to be more excited or anxious than she is.
My little girl seemed almost apathetic to the whole discussion. She asked all the right questions and seemed to understand everything we talked about but she was mostly just “oh you know, okay mum”. A few months later we had the conversation again and she was cool with it and said she understood everything. We also included the topic of sex and pregnancy here.
During your discussion, mention all the facts, if there are resources (parent-approved) that you can give her, this is the time. Resources can include books or a video guide. This includes teaching your daughter how to use a pad.
The Wet Bag
I recommend parents to teach their girls with pads first and not tampons. You should also put together a “wet bag” with your daughter. This bag should include;
- A pad
- Clean Underwear
- Small pack of wet wipes
- Small pack of tissue
Teach her how she can clean herself in case she is in school and gets her period there. Let her know she can speak to any female teacher who will be able to assist her. Let her carry her “wet bag” with her everywhere. If she has a locker in school she can keep it there or can just carry it in her bag daily.
Once she begins her period, teach her how to fold and dispose of her pad. Let her know how often the pad should be changed even if it’s not full. Reiterate how important it is to keep herself clean and to take care of any leakages (which we all have from time to time. Yikes!) using her wet bag.
After your daughter has adjusted to the pad and her period, maybe then, you can introduce the tampon and she can use whichever is comfortable for her. Take her shopping with you on those occasions, try out new brands. Kotex has one specifically for “young” girls which are small and cute.
All in all, take your daughter’s lead. Don’t rush, and always be willing to lend an ear and to have that discussion over and over again.