Tips on "The Talk"
The earlier you start communicating with your daughter about her body and her period, the more receptive she will likely be when she is experiencing these changes.
Have many talks, not just one.
Have several conversations with your daughter about her body, how it's changing, and about her period starting at a young age. Be open with her, but find that right balance between mom and friend. When you think your daughter is ready, or when she starts showing interest in or asking questions about her body, suggest that she begin exploring her own body and learning where her reproductive organs are located. Click here for a video tutorial on the female anatomy. This will help her become more in-tune with her own body and make it easier to talk about these topics.
Check in with your daughter regularly.
Regular and casual conversation to learn about what is going on with your daughter's reproductive health is extremely important. You don't want to bombard her with "the talk" all at once. Rather, have many conversations in order to ease into the topics.
If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. Research it together by asking a doctor or looking it up. While moms certainly know a lot, there are questions that your daughter may stump you with. Rather than not being open and honest, because she may find out the correct answer on her own, research the topic together. This will also help with your communication and can be a bonding experience for both of you.
It's never too late to open the conversation.
Even if you didn't start talking with your daughter before she seemed interested, it's never too late. Take the initiative to be there for your daughter through this time in her life, and let her know the door is alway open if she wants to talk, now or in the future.
Both male and female parents should talk to teens.
While moms are usually the ones to talk to their daughters, there is nothing written in stone that dads cannot participate as well. Dads don't necessarily need to get into the nitty gritty of period talk, but it's healthy for both parents to be included, if possible.
Offer an alternative adult for your teen to talk to.
If talking to mom or dad isn't an option for your daughter, suggest a relative or close family friend, or even a trusted teacher or coach, that she might be more at ease around. And most importantly, if she doesn't want to talk to mom and dad about this, don't make a big deal over it. The fact that she wants to talk to somebody and is reaching out means that one day she might be open to talking to you.
Educate your daughter about her options in feminine protection.
There are many options in period protection, and it's important to familiarize your daughter with what's available to find one she's most comfortable with. Many girls start with pads and may switch to tampons or menstrual cups as they become more comfortable with their bodies and menstruating. Click here to learn more about the various feminine hygiene options.
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