Here are some tips on how to tell your daughter about periods.
Find The Right Time
If she’s starting to show an interest, now’s a great time to begin the conversation and talk to your daughter about puberty. Chances are if she’s 8 or older, she’s already experiencing some physical changes and is very curious. Puberty can be tough to deal with as a parent. It can feel like you’ve lost your little girl. The daughter who used to beg for bedtime stories and goodnight kisses now wants to trade them in for teenage magazines and alone time. Outings you always enjoyed together can suddenly become a chore to her, and entering her room is by invitation only.
Try not to take it personally. What seems out of character or even defiant is probably just her way of figuring things out and finding her way. As much as pre-teens strive to be independent, they still depend on you for pretty much everything—whether they realise it or not. Keep communication open. The worst thing you can do is to stop listening.
Know The Basics
Every girl is different. She may begin menstruation as early as age 8 or as late as 16. When the time comes, puberty is triggered when the pituitary gland, a pea-sized gland near the brain, signals the body to release chemical messengers called hormones. Hormones then stimulate the growth and development of the reproductive organs, as well as related changes throughout the body. A hormone secreted by the pituitary causes her ovaries to produce the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen is responsible for primary sexual development. When she ovulates, or releases a mature egg, she can then become pregnant.
Fluctuating levels of hormones may also bring on familiar adolescent mood swings. But keep in mind, these ups and downs are probably just as tough for your daughter to experience as they are for you. Hang in there.
Know What To Expect & When
Every girl worries about her first period—what it’s going to be like and if she’s normal or not. The most important point to get across is that there’s no such thing as normal. Every girl is different. To ease her worries, here are some symptoms she might start experiencing that’ll help you talk to your daughter about puberty:
- Breast development. Breasts will grow rounder and fuller, followed by the nipple and areola darkening. A girl’s breasts often develop unevenly, especially at first, and you should definitely clarify that it’s not something to worry about.
- Pubic hair. It becomes characteristically coarse and curly late in puberty.
- Growth spurts. By age 15, your daughter should expect to experience a significant jump in height and weight. If not, consult your family doctor.
- Vaginal discharge. Your daughter may be concerned when she first notices a yellow or white stain on her underwear. You can reassure her that it’s normal and expected. Unless she experiences vaginal itching, odour or irritation, she doesn’t have to worry about infection. This discharge is usually a sign that a first period can be expected in about a year. Throughout that time, she can wear Always Dailies Multiform Liners to keep herself clean, but you should consider having her carry around a pad and an extra pair of underwear in her backpack just in case she gets her period.
- Underarm hair. This is typically a development of late puberty. Many girls don’t grow underarm hair until after they begin menstruation.
- Menstruation. Most girls get their first period between the ages of 12 and 13. But everyone’s clock is different, and it’s normal to menstruate as early as age 8 or as late as 16. Consult your family doctor if your daughter hasn’t gotten her period by then.
Puberty brings a few other surprises that you may remember. She’s not a kid any more, so it may be time to introduce her to deodorant as her sweat glands become more active. More active hormones and oil glands may also lead to her first breakout, particularly on her face and back. You may want to take her to the chemist for some face wash. Hygiene down below is also important. Although awkward, you may want to reinforce to her the need to keep everything clean in order to avoid infection.
So, where to start, Pads or Tampons? We’ve got you covered.