- Signs your daughter is about to start her period
- How to talk to your daughter about her period: 20 questions she might ask
- First period kit: What is it and why does your daughter need one?
Treating your daughter with the utmost respect and regard for her blossoming independence and need for privacy is the way to go when talking to her about her period. Refraining from unhealthy or negative attitudes about a girl’s periods is advisable. The transition into adulthood with the present day pressures on children is already burdensome, so you want this to be something your daughter can freely address with you without judgement calls or being shamed.
Choose a time when both of you are relaxed and receptive. You could explain the physiology of the menstrual cycle and then how this happens chronologically, what she needs to know to prepare for this, how every girl goes through this change, how you are there to support her should she ever need, and you would be a safe person to turn to whenever she’s in doubt. Since the age of the first period has advanced in a lot of children the world over, it would be wise to have this conversation with your daughter after the age of 8.
20 questions your daughter wants the answers to about her period
Listed below are some popular questions girls ask about their periods Some of the questions have answers that are up front. Some require you to do the requisite reading up or direct your daughter to an appropriate source.
- How do periods work? Explain the physiology of a menstrual cycle or give her a handbook explaining it. YouTube has some great free educational videos although you need to moderate what’s appropriate.
- How long does your first period last? It could last anything from 2 to 7 days. On occasion, it could just be a spot of blood and then skipped cycles too, as irregular cycles can be expected in the beginning.
- What hole does period blood come out of? The vagina. Pee comes out of another hole.
- Why me? Why not the boys in my class? Explain why females of all species experience this process, and the concept of male and female, and preferably avoid any negative gender stereotypes.
- How much blood will I lose? A normal period is anywhere between 5-80mL (1 teaspoon-1/3 cup). Initial periods can be heavy. If your daughter passes clots, if you can quantify the blood loss as more than 80mL per cycle, or she is feeling excessively weak and looks pale, you need to seek medical attention.
- What if I feel dizzy looking at the blood? You need to tell her how she must drink a lot of water during a period as there is some fluid and iron lost, which can make her feel tired. Mild dizziness can be resolved with hydration.
- How do you know when your first period is coming? Explain the timings of cycles and also that the first few years of the cycles can be irregular. Explain how the effects of the hormones work and how one feels moody or irritable in the week preceding the period and regarding the phases of the menstrual cycle.
- What do I have to pack in my period kit for school? We’ve got a complete list of items for a period kit.
- I want to use a menstrual cup because it’s eco-friendly. Will it hurt? Different girls have different sized hymens and so you would need to test this out and see if it’s an easy fit or it’s hurting badly, at which point you could consider cloth pads.
- Can I use cloth pads and how do I wash them? Soak them in water for about 10 minutes and then wash off with soap and water and sun dry or dry in a dryer.
- How often should you change your pad? Preferably once every 6-7 hours regardless of soakage and more frequently based on how heavy her cycles are.
- How do I dispose of my disposable pads? By wrapping them in either newspaper or toilet paper and placing them in the bin for sanitary waste.
- Will it be painful? It can be painful, especially so on the 1st to 3rd days of the cycle, but rarely should it be very severe. A hot water bottle on the tummy or back and over-the-counter painkillers should do the trick on most occasions.
- Can I take time off from school every time I get my periods ? Unless your daughter has abnormally painful periods or heavy flow, she shouldn’t miss school.
- Will I be able to play the same outdoor games and sport I used to when I get my periods? Your daughter can absolutely continue to exercise or play whatever sport she did even when she has her period, provided she feels up to it and she’s not suffering from excessively heavy cycles.
- What if I feel angry and irritated before a period and say something hurtful? Will others understand? As this concept of understanding women’s menstruation is evolving, not everyone will understand, but it’s imperative to give your daughter permission to fully feel all her feelings without negating them or denying them. However, let her know that this is the situation, so some may understand and some won’t.
- How do I tell others I have my periods? Encourage the conversation about periods and don’t treat it as a taboo topic or something to be hidden from all. Privacy must certainly be respected, but if she feels the need to tell her friends, she should be encouraged to talk. Allowing a girl to address her periods in the open allows her to feel like a normal process is happening to her and that she is allowed to feel low, tired, weak, and irritable during these times.
- Why do I have so many pimples or zits before my period? Due to hormonal changes, some girls have breakouts, clogged pores, and oily skin in the latter half of the menstrual cycle following ovulation.
- Does this mean I can now get pregnant? This is something most parents miss explaining and girls are usually too afraid to ask, and this results in unwanted pregnancy or unsafe sex. You need to explain that every act of intercourse means a potential pregnancy and a sexually transmitted disease if contraception is not used. If you assume that your daughter would not need to worry about this, you are kidding yourself. About 30 to 40% of teens are sexually active and it would be safest if you allow your child to have this conversation with you in an open manner. Be aware your daughter can get pregnant before her first period, which is why having this conversation is imperative.
- How to get your first period faster? Some girls are self-conscious when their friends get their period earlier than they do. Every girl’s cycle varies in onset and your daughter will generally get it between the ages of 11-15. While this can be artificially induced with hormonal medication, it wouldn’t be a natural menstruation and as long as sexual hair has appeared and breasts have developed, there should be nothing too worrying about this delay.
The goal of your conversation is not only to address the scientific basis of a period, but to make room for honest sharing and creating a safe environment for your teen to be her authentic self during this tumultuous time. You could use encouraging words and humor to address the situation. Never belittle any doubt or concern she may have as she would feel hesitant to ever ask again.
If your daughter still isn’t comfortable having “the talk” with you, there are many relatable books written for the budding woman your child is now turning into. A classic that comes highly recommended is The Period Book: A Girl’s Guide to Growing Up.