Talking periods with your daughter. Are you dreading just thinking about it?
A few months ago, I know that I definitely dreaded this conversation. Fast forward 6 months and my sentiment towards this topic is very different now.
One of my favorite benefits of being a work from home mum is that I get to spend a lot more quality time with my daughter.
Since I made the transition 6 months ago from working in an office in the big smoke, to becoming a work from home mum working online on my period product review site, I’ve noticed that with more time together with my tween daughter, there are many more opportunities to talk about topics both big and small.
This is especially prevalent now that a lot of parents are working from home and home schooling their kids.
I see this as an opportunity to start the conversations that are initially hard and can be uncomfortable but can also lead to increased trust and confidence in your relationship with your children.
I experienced this especially with starting the conversation around the topic of menstruation with my tween daughter.
The topics of Periods and Menstrual Hygiene are historically cringe worthy subjects, but they don’t have to be! Navigate these confusing, hormone filled waters alongside your daughter and discover how it can bring you closer together.
The following steps have helped many parents including myself, to learn how to talk to your tween about her period.
Reflect on your own attitude and relationship with your period.
How did you learn about your period? What was talked about? Who did you talk to about your period? This is all vital in understanding what is helpful to say and not to say. Was ‘menstruating’ taboo to even mention? Or was your period celebrated?
Create the experience for your daughter that you would’ve like to have had. Retrospection is key.
De-mystify. Create a safe space for your daughter to ask questions.
If you’re feeling awkward or if your daughter is obviously uncomfortable then address it straight out. Laugh about it, ease the tension.
Most likely your daughter is already feeling uneasy about these changes and with her first period looming around the corner, your focus should be to simply start the conversation, reassure her and to help her understand her body.
This doesn’t need to be a big talk
Rather a gradual series of conversations that give your daughter time and space to think, process and come up with questions that you can navigate together.
If she asks you something you don’t know, be honest about it and say that you’ll do your best to find out more about it. Let her see that you are human.
Remember that this won’t be the only time she learns about periods. Remember that menstrual education and menstrual hygiene management is also taught in P.E so you don’t have to know all the ins and outs to be someone that she can trust.
The main point here is to open the discussion and create a space for her to feel that she can come to you with her questions because, yes this is about periods for now, but later down the track it will be sex, consent, partners, substances and all those things that you felt you couldn’t talk to your parents about.
Wouldn’t it have been helpful if you could have?
Use diagrams and visuals
Maybe even a YouTube video to help guide you.
There are great resources online for period education that can help fill in the blanks and make periods way less scary for both you and your tween.
Explore her period options with her
Gone are the days of pads vs tampons. There is a whole world of sustainable period products out there which are reusable, more comfortable and much cheaper in the long run; menstrual cups, period underwear, reusable cloth pads to name a few. FYI: Leakproof Period Swimwear, did you know that’s a thing? We have so many options now!
This was actually my favorite part of the whole conversation, we researched together and looked at our options with reusable period products; it’s a great opportunity to educate yourself and your daughter on sustainable choices and their benefit in saving money, producing less waste and most importantly being even more comfortable than traditional menstrual hygiene products.
So, I hope this was helpful for all our wonderful work at home mums out there. At the end of the day, if what you share is informed and delivered in a kind and compassionate way, there is no right or wrong. You have your own style and relationship with your daughter. So, trust yourself and equip yourself with resources that are fun, informative and actually kinda cool.
Sally K. is passionate about making the topic of periods an accessible and fun experience for adults and tweens on her product review site where she discusses the awesome reusable options for menstrual products on the market to give women of all ages the opportunity to choose comfort, choose reusable and choose to experience their bodies without shame or fear.
Find out more at myperiodoptions.com