As your daughter moves into the tween stage, you know the time has come to discuss puberty and all of its changes, including menstruation. When you think about this conversation you had with your own mother years ago, you may cringe. Instead of having an awkward discussion with your own daughter, employ some effective strategies for creating a more comfortable conversation.
Be Open About Menstruation
Tweens often feel awkward about this chat because they have been taught that menstruation is a topic to avoid. When you have your own period, say that you have to grab your tampons before leaving the house or share that the reason you’re lying on the couch is that you have cramps. By normalizing menstruation, you can help your daughter feel more confident as a woman.
Ask What She Knows
Think about yourself as a tween. Before your mother talked to you about menstruation, you probably had some concept of what the term meant. Some tweens feel awkward because their parents discuss the topic as though it is totally new. Ask your daughter what she knows about menstruation. You may find that she already understands the basics, or you may discover that you have some myths to dispel.
You know your daughter well. If she responds effectively to humor, infuse it into the situation. You don’t need to make periods sound as though they are beautiful; you can let her know that menstruation days aren’t exactly the best parts of the month. Of course, you should let your daughter know that she should talk to you and your medical provider about any concerns, such as heavy bleeding or intense cramps.
Look to the Future
Give your daughter pads and tampons and explain that she is free to ask you questions about how to use them when the time arrives. You could make a basket with other items related to menstruation, such as a box of chocolates or some comfortable clothing to wear. Make sure that your daughter knows that she is free to ask you questions at any time. Reiterate the fact that you also get or used to get a period, so the conversations do not need to feel awkward.
Speaking with your daughter about menstruation might seem overwhelming, but some useful tips can make the conversation more comfortable.