In the U.S., the average age for girls to begin their menstrual periods is age 12. It is not unusual to begin as early as age 8 or as late as age 15. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a young girl of 8 starting her period, I take a deep breathe in and hope that she is prepared with information and products. While 8 years old is very young, some girls do start at an age before they (or their moms) are prepared to manage the situation.
A mother recently wrote to one of the beinggirl.com experts and asked her for help in finding the right product for her 10 year old who just started her period. She said she hadn’t had the “talk” yet and she and her daughter had no idea what product would be best for her.
First let’s start with the “talk”. As I often emphasize, the “talk” should never be a one-time spewing of information or a lecture between mom (or father) and daughter. Absolutely NOT! It should be the beginning of ongoing special interactions between the parent and child on all kinds of sensitive topics. How you address periods and products, can lead the way to a trusting bond with your daughter. After all, don’t you want to be the one she comes to when she desires information about other sensitive or embarrassing things. And daughters, if you are reading this, wouldn’t it be nice to have the type of relationship with your mom, where you can get the really, reallies from her?
Even if your daughter has started her period, you aren’t too late to be her expert. If you have the right resources, you can help her and yourself by being able to provide helpful tips on product selection, as well as what she can expect with the changes her body is going through. Take what could be a bit traumatizing and turn it into something that you share together calmly and without drama.
Make it a celebration of her. What I mean by celebration, is not getting balloons and cake, though some may do that, it means reassuring her that what she is experiencing is a normal part of growing up. She is special – to you, as her parent. I went to a meeting once where there was a speaker talking about celebrating your daughter’s first period, as an entre into womanhood, with dinner out, gifts and family announcements. Hearing this at the time, I felt kind of bad, because all I did was tell my daughter she could use tampons, since she was a swimmer, and that her period shouldn’t get in the way of life. She has managed to grow up successful, despite that less than sensitive advice and no gifts or hoopla. However, we had talked about periods before she started and she had products at her disposal. Importantly, since we had been talking, she felt comfortable letting me know she had started and seemed glad to be prepared.
A great place for mom’s to go to get information is the Always.com website. I have included a link below to the section aptly titled, “Moms”. A site designed for teens to get information and to find the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions is beinggirl.com. I have included a link to that site, as well. There is fun information on both the sites, along with free products samples. Moms, you may want to go to beinggirl.com and read some of the more frequently asked questions girls have, along with the responses developed by the beinggirl.com experts, so that you have an idea of what your daughter may want to know about and how best to address her concerns.
Take a look and let me know what you think. Also, Moms, I would love to hear about your experience when your daughter started her first period. And, daughters, what was it like for you??