My mother was never very comfortable with talking to my sister and I about anything personal. I remember the film in the fourth grade and being excited to come home and talk to mom about it. She could not do this and acted embarrassed about this subject.
I knew that as soon as I became a mother, I would always be there for my children about any subject.
Ok, sit down, take a deep breath, and count back from 10. Your daughter is no longer a child, she is growing up, this was unavoidable since the day the doctor smacked her and said, “It’s a Girl!”
Guys no doubt have their own indelible coming-of-age memories, but for women, the arrival of menarche stands out, and not always in a good way. For girls caught unawares and unprepared – and a surprising number still are – the course of nature can come as a shock.
Close your eyes.
Can you remember where you were when you got your first period ?
Can you remember how you felt? Were you scared, excited, prepared?
Who did you tell and more importantly who didn’t you tell?
At the onset of puberty, our daughters have special needs, and we have to be aware of them. They are excited, scared, and wondering about The Big Day, the day they get their period for the first time. We need to get them ready and help them through this time in their lives.
Usually schools will talk about this in health, or with a visit from the nurse in your child’s classroom, somewhere around 4th grade. Generally, this is where girls get their first contact with the word “menstruation”. They will have questions, although they may be hesitant to ask them. Do your best to bring these questions out and answer them truthfully.
Don’t just hand your daughter a book or video. You can use a book or video as a jumping-off point to discuss menstruation, but don’t just hand your daughter a book and assume your job is done. Watch it or read it with her, and talk about it with her afterward.
It is important to remember that through all of this, she is still just a little girl. The onset of her period does not mean that all of a sudden she is all grown up.
It is not uncommon for a parent to find this time very stressful too. Her first period highlights how fast life passes us by. One moment this little girl was a toddler who would come down stairs and give you her imaginary baby monsters to look after while she ate breakfast, and now she’s trying on bra’s and starting her period.
Mum’s the word. Your “little girl” is becoming a woman and you might be tempted to immediately share this milestone with your husband, girlfriends, mom or sisters. Your best bet is to keep your lips sealed. Some girls are more comfortable with getting their period than others, but the majority aren’t going to want Aunt Amy talking to them about their Aunt Flo.
And perhaps, just for laughs, you can watch this little Disney short movie. It’s from 1946 and was used as an instructional video in schools until the ’60s.
Even though some of the info is obviously outdated, I thought it was alternately adorable and really informative for a grade-schooler:
One thing’s for sure: the word curse will not be uttered.
The fact is that whether she’s 2, 12 or 22 she may not realize it, but she will always need you. Right now, she needs you to treat her like you did yesterday, before her period started.
Just be as honest as you can in an age appropriate way and above all, remember that this is not a sickness or a medical condition which needs to be treated with kid gloves. Her first period is simply a part of growing up.
Now take a step back, breathe and enjoy what time you have left with your little girl, as she becomes a woman.
Young women need and seek acceptance and belonging among adult women. It is so vital to pass on to our daughters the importance of pride and appreciation for being female. It is time to celebrate the transition from girl to woman because in order to understand and value the responsibility of becoming a woman – a young woman must be acknowledged. Something special to acknowledge a young woman’s first period has a lifelong impact.
I suggest that girls prepare an emergency kit when they are concerned that they may not have the period supplies they may need when they need them. I would plan on having more than one kit so you can keep one in your locker or backpack, one in your purse, and perhaps one in the glove box of the car you ride in the most. Here is what you will need:
- A cute cosmetic bag to put in your locker, backpack, purse, or glove box.
- A few pads/tampons. You should only need a couple of the product you prefer.
- Panti-liners come in handy if you start out with light flow or need one as a “just in case” plan.
- An extra pair of undies in case you have a leak or start unexpectedly.
- A baggie you can seal in case you need the panties mentioned above! This way you will have a place for your soiled panties.
- A few feminine wipes. These come individually wrapped for on-the-go convenience, and will make you feel more clean and confident.
Make Sure You……
1. Celebrate your daughter. Even small gestures of the type suggested here will help her toward the health and self-esteem that have been a challenge for many women.
2. Assure your daughter that change, even good change, is disruptive and can be uncomfortable. All of her conflicting feelings are natural and will sort themselves out over time.
3. Help her bring meaning and respect to the changes by comparing her cycles to the cycles of the moon and the seasons – a continual process of creativity, growth and new beginnings. Without these cycles, new life would not be possible.
4. Emphasize this concept of creativity. She is experiencing the awakening of a vital force that she can express in many ways. It is this knowledge that has inspired the song, dance and celebration of many cultures in honor of “menarche,” or first menstruation.
5. Consider her perspective. Even with preparation, this first experience of bleeding can be startling or upsetting. Her body is changing and she knows that her life is too. Be sure to offer care and attention.
6-Talk openly about menstruation, and stress its positive aspects. This healthy attitude is necessary in order for your daughter to have the same pride in her body that she had as a pre-adolescent.
7- Celebrate your own passage into new territory, as well as your daughter’s. By forming these new traditions, you are helping to shape the culture, one family at a time.
8. Honor yourself, as you celebrate the cycles of life!
by Vanessa Karl
When you were born
You were tiny and bare
You were very cute
No teeth and no hair
Some years have passed
You’ve grown and matured
Been cared for and nurtured
So now you’re prepared
As your body is changing
You feel quite confused
But it will be ok
You may laugh, shout and scream
And shed a tear
But growing up is nothing to fear
It is new and exciting
A new phase in your life
So love it and live it
Without any strife.
This video Hello Flo it is also fantastic, watch it with your daughters!
We are very fortunate as parents that there are so many fabulous resources available for young teenagers now and I have included some of the links here:
Good luck and congratulations to you both!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”