When I was growing up, I was very close to my mom. She was my Brownie leader, we baked cookies together and would often sit at the kitchen table and clip out coupons together on a Sunday morning. We did not, however, discuss many personal issues. Discussions about periods, sex, changes in my body, or emotional issues were really not comfortable discussions between the two of us. We could talk about a good book I had recently read but not about puberty. I actually got my period without my mom ever discussing it with me and it sort of freaked me out. I vowed that I would not let that happen with my own daughter.
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A couple of months ago I was accepted into the Kotex Ambassador program with Mom Central Consulting and wanted to bring you a few tips on how to begin the period discussion with your own daughters. This can be a slightly stressful and embarrassing discussion to have with your tween and having a few handy tips at hand to prepare you is a good way to start.
1. Take a car ride: Often, it is easier to discuss slightly embarrassing topics with your child when you aren’t actually looking at them right in the eye. If you are driving in the car together with your daughter in the back seat try asking a few simple questions. How are things are going with her friends? Is there is anything she wants to talk about with you? Maybe just a “How have you been feeling lately?’ question. It might make it easier for her to open up to you if she isn’t looking at you directly. My daughter is so embarrassed about me including her in this program that she won’t let me include her face when I share her picture! Silly girl!
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2. Take advantage of bedtime: Bedtime for my kids has always been sort of special. It is practically a requirement that I go into both kids rooms individually, tuck them in, kiss them goodnight and start some music or a book on tape. Making sure your children have one on one time is important since periods are not something your child is likely to bring up with others around. Make sure you spend time alone with each child so if they DO want to talk, you are available without other ears listening in!
3. Educate yourself: If you aren’t prepared for the discussion, your daughter may sense your awkwardness and take that as a sign that you don’t want to talk about the topic with her. Make sure you are familiar with all of the biological workings of the female body (which you probably are already!) and have a few products handy for a ‘show and tell’ in case she wants to know exactly what a pad, pantyliner or tampon look like. My daughter and I actually had a tampon dissection which helped her understand how they work.
4. Buy her a book: There are a lot of good books available geared towards tween girls and this changing time in their lives. Make sure to buy one that is geared towards her age and let her know that you are available for questions if she has any. After YOUR discussion with her, let her read the book (after checking it out yourself!) and be honest in your answers if she wants to talk about it.
5. Know your comfort level: This is an important consideration to take into account before you begin talking with your daughter. How much, exactly, do you want her to know? Are you stopping at the biological aspects of her period or moving into further discussions about sex, love, birth control, etc? I will admit I am disgustingly honest with both of my children. Maybe because I was so in the dark myself when I was growing up. At 10 and 12 we have had discussions ranging from the simple biological aspects of puberty to sex, homosexuality, transvestites and many other extremely sensitive topics. I make sure that my children know that they can come to me with ANY question and I will answer them honestly. Because if they are asking ME, then they are also asking their friends and I would rather they know the truth than wonder what they are learning in the locker room at school.
6. Take advantage of the Kotex Tween website: There is a ton of great information on the Kotex site for both moms and daughters. You will find topics like how to Prepare for the Talk , Puberty and Body Image, and how to f ind the right products for your daughter’s period. There is also a girl’s space where tweens can ask questions and learn from topics that have already been discussed. Knowledge is power when it comes to growing up!
Puberty is a tough time for a girl…between her changing body, out of control emotions, the stress of schoolwork, and issues with friends it can all add up to some overwhelming feelings to sort through. Knowing that she can go to her mom with questions about her body will relieve a little bit of that stress! Periods should not be something for them to stress out over…girls have enough other issues to deal with during their tween years!
If you would like some helpful information about talking to your daughter about her period, check out the Kotex website. You can also follow Kotex on Facebook.
Disclaimer: I am bringing you this information on behalf of Kotex and Mom Central Consulting. As a Kotex Ambassador, I received products and promotional items in exchange for providing this information. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.