Once you are the parent of a pre-teen daughter, there will soon be a season or event that is coming in your daughter’s life that you will be expected to have knowledge and guidance around. That event is her first period. It is normally a time that many parents experience a drastic change in the relationship between them and their daughters because of how painful, awkward, irritating, and quite incomprehensible the experience could be. The support you give to your daughter matters a lot now and here is some guidance on how that might best play out:
NO NEED FOR MUCH ACTIVITY
Certainly, having a period will call for some new actions that weren’t necessary before – like buying pads, tampons, or even period panties! However, just because it is NEW doesn’t mean it isn’t NORMAL. There is no need to make her first period a production! This stage in your daughter’s life is already an awkward one, so skip some of the overly-overwhelming options that accompany this adolescent milestone (i.e. planning a period party, celebrating menstruation, or giving her a piece of jewelry to note such an occasion).
DON’T FREAK OUT
Keep dialogue short, sweet and to the point. Factual and fluid is the way to go. Do not get caught up on too many “what-ifs” or dialogue that is deeper than necessary for the moment in time. All she needs from you, Mom or Dad, is to know that you support her and that you are safe to talk to, or even are willing to guide her to another trusted female or provider who can answer her questions. Having a small stockpile of various feminine hygiene products and pain relief, alone, can show that you have an empathy that surpasses what she thought you’d understand. Providing her a bottle of water and reminding her to stay hydrated is also very helpful – and to be honest, one of the easier things to say during this experience.
DO NOT SHUT YOUR COMMUNICATION LINES
Unfortunately, many dads in particular shut down communication lines with their daughter during this stage because they don’t know how it works. It’s not a smart move. Before this day comes, you ought to have asked the necessary questions or researched the latest information - probably from a female friend or other trusted, professional source (thank goodness for YouTube, right?) on what you need to do and how to best do it. Everything from inquiring as to which pad to buy for your daughter to how often she should change it (at least once every eight hours, and anytime it’s full). Let your daughter know that she is free to ask you anything and that you are available to answer her – even if it does take you to a quick trip to the interwebs and back.
SEEK HELP IF NEED BE
Family friends, aunts, and good neighbors are people you could request for their experience to help your daughter. They can help her through expectations of her first cycle and also may even offer to shop with her for pads or period panties in an anonymous and online avenue.
MAKE SURE YOUR DAUGHTER IS HEALTHY
You can arrange to meet with a Gynecologist if she is having a heavy or overly light flow as this could mean something is wrong. This may be as simple as asking her to describe how much she is losing with inanimate objects that are less embarrassing to describe. For example, comparing blood to the size of a quarter, dollar or somewhere in between. She may even invite the use of materials around the house to depict what she is experiencing without you having to see it first-hand.
The support you give your daughter during her period - especially her first period - is very crucial. Your communication with her could either be stronger or marred depending on how you prepared before now. If your daughter has period cramps, you can give her tea or a chocolate bar to help her relax her stomach muscles and also remove salty foods from her diet to decrease bloating. Always keep her hydrated and remind her to rest when she can during this transition. It’s the best support you can give to her.
Having heard your feedback before, we have made it simple (and continue to honor your guidance) with our latest Period Kit, which comes with everything she needs to “start” when she “starts”.