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When you have children, there comes a time in every parent’s life when you need to talk about periods. Whether it is because they have questions or need some guidance on which product to use, she will need some help, even if she is too embarrassed to ask.
While talking about the menstrual cycle can be an uncomfortable topic for some, it can also be a conversation that can add more depth and insight into the relationship you have with your children. Many times it is uncomfortable because we often don’t know what to say. And many moms, even after years of having their period, still don’t really know how to best explain the menstrual cycle.
All parents and guardians can contribute to the conversation as well as play an important role in shaping how young people will view this fascinating life process.
We all know that it may not always be easy to describe the ins and outs of the menstrual cycle. However, not talking about it can have damaging effects on your daughter’s self-esteem and perception of her menstrual cycle.
Whether we like it or not, our culture often portrays the menstrual cycle as something that should not be spoken about, should be hidden, disliked and often as a topic dads should not discuss with their daughter(s) and especially not their son(s) — we’ll save this topic for another day.
The Diva Team wants to challenge this popular belief by offering some advice from both a Diva Mom and Diva Dad in the hopes that any Diva parents who are just starting the conversation with their daughters (and even those whose daughters are older) will be empowered to start the conversation today!
Message from Mom:
Talking to my daughter about her first period was a bit difficult for me because it came with the realization that my little girl was growing up. I knew it would happen, but not so soon. She is also my youngest, so it hit even harder. Just yesterday she was riding her tricycle, eating popsicles and today she is trying on bras and getting her period, and yes, is also experiencing some interesting moods and emotions.
I think the best thing I did for my daughter was talk openly about periods, long before she started hers. I wanted to make sure there were no surprises and that she knew what they were really about.
The easiest way I found to bring up the topic was to talk about my own experience, and how I felt when I got my first period. I didn’t go into a sex talk, I kept it simple and to the point. I talked about it being a unique part of being female, was honest about how it may feel uncomfortable and that I used to get cramps, and she may as well, but that was perfectly normal. I shared with her how to take care of her period and what she would need if she was at school. We even put together a few supplies for her to carry in her backpack, in case it started at school.
By bringing up the topic of periods, it also gave me an opportunity to let her know I was there for her, and that she could talk to me once it started. I was surprised to learn that many of my daughter’s friends had not told their mom that their period had started and I realized then how lucky we were to have such open communication between us.
It has been almost a year since my daughter started her period. Her journey to womanhood has begun… I have come to realize that her period was only the first step in that journey. Every day, the best thing I can do for her is to love her, keep the communication channel open and respect the woman she is becoming. She will always be my little girl, even when she is all grown up.
Message from Dad:
When I was asked to write about speaking to your daughter about period care, I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. It brought back memories and even “butterflies” in my stomach; the same as you have when you start to imagine talking to your daughter for the first time about boys, sex, or period care.
I’m blessed to have a lot of great women in my life and so the “talk” should be easier for me right?
Honestly, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.
The best advice or counsel I have received and would like to share with other Dads on the subject of period care draws from experiences over the years from all the wonderful women in my life.
Let me start by saying that if you are a Dad and are going to be talking to your daughter about her period, you are one lucky man, and should consider this a privilege. You have a beautiful life in your care, and you should be proud to play a part in her upbringing.A daughter’s first period is but one beautiful and great milestone in her life and one that you should help her feel good about. There are so many firsts in our children’s lives, first teeth, first words, first steps, toilet training, school, riding a two-wheeler, etc. that I think a first period should be welcome and treated as a part of growing up. It is another part of the wonderful woman that your daughter is becoming.
Like her first home run, first goal or dance recital, you should be proud that she is growing up… and she will be too. Talking about the experience itself should be gentle, thoughtful and approached with pride. Help your daughter feel that this is good news and you are proud to see her grow. If you are proud of her, and see this as a great milestone, she will too.
We are not ashamed of having to go to the bathroom, or brushing our teeth, or showering so why should anyone be ashamed of talking about period care? A private conversation on the couch, or at the kitchen table over a glass of chocolate milk, can be a good start. Above all, if you are proud of her, she will see it in your eyes, and hear the gentleness in your words. Given all this, how could she not feel good about herself and her period?
We’d love to hear some tips and insight from parents ands teens about how to have an informed and thoughtful conversation about the menstrual cycle and period care.Share, learn and be empowered by the Diva Community!