Talking to your daughter about her periods

When we ask moms to tell us what they don't like discussing with their children, menstruations comes first, along with sex. But why? Moms obviously know everything there is to know about these things! But their daughters are so young and they are so easily impressed that moms often fear their reaction.

Difficult subjects

When girls are young, we sometimes have to talk about death or spirituality but these are abstract concepts that they will never have to face alone. These subjects are very touchy but they touch most children. Then, adolescence comes and scares parents. We can avoid it all we want, neither school, friends or television will tell our daughters about what is coming and they will have to go through it one after the other. Who will share the big news?

Maxi pads and tampons ads show us two things: girls who are having a great time and images of an unknown blue liquid that has nothing to do with their breathtaking activities. Fathers certainly won’t talk about periods. We are the only ones left.  But don’t worry, only the first two minutes of that conversation will be difficult.

Being positive

You are the one who knows your daughter (and her comfort zone) best. And daughters usually refer to their moms when they need to talk about their intimacy. Starting from that relationship based on trust, try to keep a positive and chilled attitude, even if you are shy and feel more secretive and serious. It will be easier to give information if you are relaxed.

You can mention that, at first, menstruations are usually light and that it will give her some time to get used to it. By then, she will also realize that other women share that secret and will help her if need be.

There’s no need to tell her everything right away either. When you talk about menstruations, you can easily branch off into many things like contraception and sex but you don’t need to tell her all that yet. Focus on the many aspects of her periods, there are so many!

Also learn to notice subtle information requests. If your daughter and her friends talk about it in the kitchen, they probably want you to hear it. Don’t hesitate to jump in and add bits of information without making a scene.

“Eww! Mom! Leave me alone!”

Your daughter could refuse this conversation. After all, you are her mom and what you are trying to talk about concerns HER body. If she refuses to talk, leave her for now. Maybe she won’t have the information yet but knowing that you know everything and that you are willing to talk will make it easier for her to ask you later.

Sometimes, girls prefer to talk to friends of the same age, other teenagers or adults that are NOT her mother! Don’t hesitate to tell her that you respect her modesty but tell her that she can talk to you if she wants. Give her a book written for teenagers and let her know that you will be ready to talk about it when she is. It will reassure her and you will not look pushy.

Being girl

Several websites can also give reliable information to your daughters while being friendly and electronic (like everything they love!). Among them, Being Girl drew our attention. This very clever website was designed to help young girls learn more about their periods and how to manage them. It also helps them feel better about their femininity in an appropriate vocabulary.

Don’t hesitate to send them there and tell them to ask questions if they need further information. That way, they will feel comfortable talking to you but they will also have a reliable source of information if they prefer to be discreet.

Maxi pads and tampons

Obviously, if periods are taboo, tampons are even worse! If the subject presents itself or if she finds maxi pads or tampons and ask questions, take this opportunity to talk about it. You can even show her how the absorption of both products works with a bowl of blue water (like in the ad). Of course it will be slightly ridiculous but ridiculous is better than awful and serious. The last thing you want is to make periods sound like a disease.

Because we don’t choose the date and time of our first periods, it would be wise to prepare an emergency kit for school. Put a maxi pad, a washcloth and extra underwear in a discreet bag that she will leave in her bag or in her locker… just in case!

When will it start?

Do you remember when you had your first periods? Your daughter will probably have hers around the same age, although it can occur anytime between 8 and 13 years old. Yes, it can be as early as 8 years old, so don’t delay! Your daughter could be very worried if her menstruations arrived and if she didn’t know what is going on. If her breasts began to develop and if she has a bit of armpit hair growing, you should start the talking because usually, the periods appear 12 months after the first hair.

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