If you're a parent, then you know that children’s curiosity is infinite. And when you think about it, you know what it’s like. You were a child once, too. From a very early age, we become curious not just about the world around us, but about the world within us, and about ourselves - our bodies, other people’s bodies, and what’s happening as we grow.
A young person that’s entering and going through puberty is experiencing a lot of physical and emotional changes. Of course this is totally normal, but discovering yourself can be intimidating and confusing - and that’s why it’s important that you as a parent are there to support your child and answer their questions.
So be prepared to have the period talk with your daughter. And to show her through your open talk that there is nothing to be afraid of - or ashamed of! This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the importance and value of body positivity, rather than shame or fear.
Explain puberty and the changes that come with it
Talk to them about the changes they’re noticing in themselves. Often times teenagers are very self-aware, especially of their physical appearance, so this is not only a great way to start off the conversation, but to also encourage them and explain to them that people their age go through what they’re going through, and that it’s important to stay confident and embrace yourself. This can go a long way and help them build a positive picture about themselves. Preach some self love!
Ask questions yourself
Ask them if they know something about menstruation, why it’s happening and why is it important. Explain the biological reasons behind it and tell them about your experience with menstruating (if you’re the lady reading this, if you’re the gentleman, then maybe you’ll lack on this one, but you are still rocking it for willing to talk to your child about it!). Explain how it affects the reproductive health.
Follow their pace
Every child will react to information like these differently. You know your child best and you know how to communicate with them better than anyone else. Let them know that you’re open to answer every question that they may have in the future, and that this topic will be open for discussion for as long as they need it to be.
Introduce them to menstrual products
Pads, tampons, cups - introduce your child to all the available menstrual products and how they work. Let them decide what product works for them and which ones that they want to try. Of course we are biased, but we absolutely recommend encouraging your daughter to begin with a menstrual cup (size small for teenagers!) so that she can avoid the harmful ingredients and waste associated with tampons and disposable pads. This small Lunette cup or this Set of Two are both great options.
Be sure to explain the importance of hygiene during menstruation, and how to make sure they’re keeping up with this adequately.
Be positive about it
Menstruating is something that people have for too long frowned upon in many societies. Yes, it’s bloody, and can be messy and painful, but it’s a normal part of being healthy and having healthy reproductive organs, and there’s nothing wrong with it. This is something you should tell your child. Encourage them not to be ashamed of their bodies, of the menstrual products in their bags or of experiencing leaking at school - it can happen to anyone and it’s something that can be pretty traumatizing, especially if they’re younger and “bloom” earlier than other children.
Encouraging your child and giving them a positive attitude about menstruation is important, because that way they will keep encouraging others going through the same.
Teach your child to love themselves despite all the changes that they’re going through as a teenager.