Puberty is fraught with a number of changes for your daughter, but none is so life-changing than her first period. While you might be hesitant to discuss menstruation with your daughter, the more she knows about it, the less traumatic it will be for her. Helping her through this event will bring you closer and foster a sense of trust for the coming difficult teenage years.
Don’t Wait for the Talk
Don’t wait until your daughter gets her first period to actually discuss it. This might cause her to panic when she first starts to menstruate, which could cause emotional upset.
Talk to her well before it happens; most girls ages eleven and older are ready to hear about their first period.
Don’t Assume Her School Will Handle It
Never assume that your daughter’s school will teach her about her first period. While many schools do teach sex education, this doesn’t mean that they will answer all her questions or have a comprehensive program.
If your daughter brings home a permission slip that you must sign in order for her to take part in a sex education program, call the school to ask what it is included in the program so that you can fill in the gaps.
Let Her Ask Questions
While it’s never easy to discuss menstruation casually, make sure that your daughter knows that she can ask questions. American culture still places a great deal of taboo on a woman’s period, and your daughter might feel that she’s not supposed to talk about it.
Encourage her to ask questions about the signs and symptoms, and do a little research online for the questions you may not have the answers to.
Respect Her Privacy
When your daughter gets her first period, as her mother, you might want to share the news with friends and family because you feel it’s not a shameful thing.
However, it might embarrass her if you make a bunch of phone calls to her aunts and your female friends to share the news. Keep it to yourself to show her that you respect her privacy as a young woman.
Talk About Feminine Products
While it’s recommended that young girls on their first period should avoid tampons, let your daughter know about her protection options.
Show her how to use a sanitary pad and have a frank discussion about hygiene and how to stay clean during her time of the month. If she’s willing, take her shopping so that she can pick out the brand she wants to use.
Talk About Her Feelings, Not Your Experiences
Your daughter may experience a number of emotions when she starts her first period – apprehension, fear, or even a sense that she’s not a child anymore.
Let her talk about her feelings and assure her that everything she feels is completely normal. Let her feelings be her own and don’t discount them as part of the experience that “everyone” has.
Remind Her That You’re There to Listen
Your daughter may have questions about her period later on, so remind her once in a while that you’re there to listen and answer questions.
Even if she doesn’t open up then, she may want to later, and it’s important for her to know that her mother will always be there to listen.