The more progressive parents congratulated their daughters and provided hygienic supplies openly, with encouragement.
Fortunately, today we’ve made progress and the vast majority of girls in the Western world come to their periods prepared.
Do you have a daughter who is growing up, reaching this wonderful, yet awkward period in life? Why not make it a little easier by making sure it’s a positive experience for her… and for both of you!
Feel uncomfortable with the idea? Well, fake it until you make it because passing on the negativity, embarrassment, taboo and disgust that our generation carries is not an option.
To get you started, we’ve put together some practical tips for helping your daughter to become comfortable with her developing body.
Start early, when you see your daughter is starting on the winding path of puberty. Body changes start to become noticeable, she’s at “that age” and the attitude might be showing already.
Take some special time, just the two of you, to go through options as far as period management is concerned. Visit internet sites that you have previewed to see the ins and outs of pads, tampons, menstrual cups and whatever else might be of interest.
This is the perfect opportunity to have a talk about events to come, letting her know how this works and why it is a normal, healthy process.
Make a date
Let your daughter know that the day she gets her period, you are going out, just the two of you together, to celebrate!
Have that special “girl time” and create a marvelous, feminine experience, be it a visit to a spa, manicures, a meal at a café or anything else that leaves special, personal memories. Making this a great day is a big step toward sweetening some of the negativity that may still be associated with menstruation in her circle of friends.
Making getting her period a positive experience is also an investment in your daughter’s future. It could be that your daughter will face the challenges of heavy periods over the coming years. Now that you’ve positively opened the line of communication about her femininity, she’s all the more likely to turn to you about her challenges, enabling you to help her through those life hurdles in adolescence – and beyond.
Be positive about the female body
Positive body image is a buzz phrase these days, but there’s good reason for that. How teens view themselves as they grow up makes an enormous amount of difference in how successfully they move into an emotionally healthy adult life.
The good news is parents can play a powerful role in helping a girl establish a positive body image. Here’s what to keep in mind:
Work on your own hang-ups
If you have hang-ups about menstruation (and many of us do), do yourself and your daughter a favor and work to get over it. Healthy women menstruate. (And think about it – if not for menstruation, you wouldn’t have the beautiful daughter you do!)
Cut judgmental talk about female bodies (yours or anyone else’s)
The level of perfection women expect of themselves in our society is impossible to ever reach. For our own mental health and for that of our daughters, we need to become happy with what we’ve got. Our aim should be to be our best selves, maintain a weight recognized as healthy, keep up good hygiene and find a way to get that beautiful smile to shine from within.
See beyond skin-deep
Is your daughter a star sports player? A rising artist? Does she have leadership skills that will help her save the planet? These are all truly beautiful parts of her. Try to give her the safe opportunities she needs to develop and appreciate them.
In addition, focus on teaching your daughter that every person on this planet has beauty, both from within and from without. Point out the inner and outer beauty on yourselves and those around you.
You could even make it a game while you’re together traveling, shopping or just hanging out. “Find something beautiful about that cashier… or that businesswoman sitting across from us on the train… or that homeless woman on the corner.” Seeing beauty is a muscle – the more you exercise, the stronger it will grow!
Positivity in all its forms makes us all better women and better people. Congrats to you and to the special young woman in your life, from us!