Every girl will witness some changes in her body at different phases of life. One of the most important of these is menstruation. Menstruation is not a topic that should be avoided. Mothers should make it their responsibility to monitor their daughters’ body changes and teach them about menstruation early. Changes like increase in breast size, hips enlargement accompanied by headache, and growth of hairs in pubic regions call for a conversation on menstruation.
As important as teaching girls about their body changes and menstruation is, some parents experience some difficulty in doing this. We have carefully made this guide, to help parents better teach their daughters about menstruation. The following are easy steps to take.
1. Start The Conversation
As a mother, it is your responsibility to teach your daughter about menstruation. You should not let her hear it from an outsider or her peers. This is to ensure she is not misinformed. Ensure you have good communication with her. Be friends with your daughter and talk to her extensively about menstruation.
2. Don’t Wait Till She Starts Menstruating
This is a major mistake most mothers make. This is because they are sometimes too embarrassed to teach their daughters about menstruation or they do not have the best information. You should not allow your kid to start menstruating before you speak to her.
The best time to speak to your daughter is between the age of 9 – 15. This is usually when females start menstruating. When you notice some changes in your daughter’s body, sit down and speak with her so she doesn’t get scared or surprised when she sees bloodstains. Some body changes you may observe in your daughter are:
- Breast size increases
- The appearance of hairs in pubic regions
- Her waist tapers
- Her voice becomes thin and soft
- Pain in the breast
If you do not have a good relationship with your child and you don’t teach her about menstruation, she may be scared to tell you when she starts menstruating. This often leads young females into speaking to their friends about it. A major disadvantage of this is that they may be misinformed by their friends. To avoid such problems, speak to her early enough.
3. Explain Correctly
This is usually where the major work lies but first, ensure you have the best and correct information. It will be a huge loss if you misinform your daughter. Tell your daughter that menstruation is a normal body phase that every girl passes through.
Teach her it signifies growth and transition from childhood to adulthood. Speak simply and directly. Maintain eye contact, do not exaggerate or give uncomfortable body movement. You may further break down your conversation as below:
- What is the normal age for menstruation? The age bracket for menstruation is usually between 10 – 15. Although recently, some girls see their periods at the age of nine and even after 15 years old. However, if your daughter’s period doesn’t come between the age of 15 and 16, see a physician. Teach her that her friends may see theirs before or after her but she will menstruate when her body is ready.
How does menstruation happen?
Teach your daughter that she is growing into a woman which means she can have a baby. The body prepares the walls of the uterus to receive a baby. But if there is no baby in the uterus, the walls of the uterus sheds and comes out of the vagina as blood, which means she will bleed. This bleeding is what is called menstruation.
Tell her this happens every month and stops only when she is pregnant which should be when she is fully grown and married. Teach her the importance of being chaste but do not instill fear in her.
- How long does menstruation last? Explain that her menstrual cycle will last about 3-7 days and that this happens on an average 28days.
- Can she get pregnant while menstruating? Yes, she can. This allows you to emphasize why she should be chaste and abstain from sex. Teach her how pregnancy may disrupt her plans. Speak calmly and do not instill fear in her.
You may use educational videos to teach her about menstruation and the different changes that occur in her body. It will help her understand better.
4. Assure Her it Won’t Hurt so Much
The thought of bleeding raises concerns about pain. Teach her that not everyone experiences pain. Although she may have cramps, assure her it won’t hurt so much and there is also a solution. She may take warm water or engage in physical activities to ease the pain.
5. Show Her How to Use a Pad
This is important so that she can take charge of her care. It also enables her to take care of herself in school when she is away from you. Get a pad and illustrate how she can put it on her pants and wear it comfortably.
6. Teach Her How to Track Her Period: Your daughter may be concerned about her period starting abruptly in school and embarrassing her. Teach her how to use a diary or an app to track her period. Usually, periods come on an average of 28days but during the first few years, it may be erratic. They are also lighter so even if she menstruates without being prepared, it can be easily managed.
7. Teach Her to be Prepared: She can menstruate between the age of 10 and 15. Teach her to inform you when she does so you can further assist her. Also, prepare your daughter for potential mood changes. Teach your daughter she may experience depression, social withdrawal, mood swings, or anxiety. Try to be close to her at such a point and if it exceeds your capacity, reach out to a pediatrician.
8. Reassure Her
Be as affectionate as possible. Let her know it is a normal body development which you also experience and you are fine. Give her all the love and support possible.
9. Always Keep Communication Open: It doesn’t just end at teaching her these things. You should let her know she can always speak to you about menstruation or any other challenges she has. She can ask questions and confide in you. Let her see you as more of a friend than a mother. It will help her be more open and communicate better with you.
Teaching your daughter about menstruation is not as difficult as most people think. Just ensure you follow the above steps and don’t speak about bad and awkward menstruation experiences. They may make your daughter unsafe. You can also seek the help of a pediatrician or a close relative. If you have more questions, we will be more than willing to help. Contact us now.