For many developing young women, learning about periods can be nerve-wracking and downright uncomfortable, especially if they don’t have a safe, reassuring space to ask questions.
Though most education systems have maturation programs in place, designed to prepare developing minds (and developing bodies) for puberty and upcoming bodily changes, they often lack substance and in-depth explanations.
To ensure your daughter understands and is prepared for her first period cycle, you need to walk through the process with her, outlining critical signs and symptoms.
For those parents nervous about diving into a potentially awkward conversation with your daughter, read on for tips and tricks that will help you ease discomfort and better prepare her for her first cycle.
Equip her with helpful resources
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your daughter has access to helpful female health resources she can turn to for information and guidance. Though you can impart your knowledge and offer insight, parent-approved external sources can lend nervous moms and dads a helping hand when curiosity peaks and questions flare up.
Thankfully, many online blogs, books, and YouTube videos can walk her through more complicated aspects of menstrual cycles and female health.
Though you should monitor resources and offer support when necessary, allowing her to learn about her changing body fosters independence and self-trust.
Break down harmful stigmas
Sadly, young women experiencing puberty and menstrual symptoms for the first time often encounter damaging stigmas and judgments from people around them.
Between seemingly harmless euphemisms like “female troubles” and conflating blood flow with dirtiness, many young girls shy away from period talk to avoid shame and embarrassment.
Though discussing periods openly can be uncomfortable, it’s essential to show your daughter there’s nothing to be ashamed of regarding natural bodily functions.
Thankfully, you can break down taboos by fostering open communication and assuring your daughter that their biological processes are normal and beautiful.
Discuss puberty and initial signs early on
Though it can feel awkward to strike up a conversation with your daughter about her body, tackling the period talk early on can help her prepare for upcoming changes.
Unfortunately, it can be shocking and traumatic when young women experience menstruation without prior knowledge of the experience.
By being open and honest about your child’s upcoming period and explaining puberty’s different stages and symptoms, they’ll feel more in control during their first cycle.
Teach her how to use period products
One of the most stressful aspects of adjusting to periods for young women is learning how to use menstrual products.
Tampons, pads, and cups often feel foreign and confusing for young girls, so showing them the ropes before their first cycle can help ease discomfort and hesitancy when the big day comes. Go over the different protection methods, show them how to use each product, and alleviate any fear that might rear its head during the process.
Additionally, be sure to inform your daughter of helpful tips for fending off leaks and stains. Otherwise, embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions and period-related mishaps will stain your daughter’s celebration-worthy milestone.
Provide a safe space for her to ask questions
A critical aspect of period preparation is offering a safe place to ask questions, express concerns, and share emotions surrounding menstruation.
Chances are, your daughter may be apprehensive and timid when approaching conversations about her body, which means it’s up to you to ease the tension and talk her through any discomfort.
Make sure you provide comfort and judgment-free advice, allowing her to work through any difficult emotions on her own time.
Though conversations about periods can be uncomfortable at first, talking to your young daughter about her anatomy and puberty-induced changes will ease fear and discomfort during her first cycle.
Make sure you cover the foundation of menstruation, break down misconceptions, and provide a safe place for her to turn. That way, she will feel confident and prepared when her first flow arrives.