Talking to your teenager about Menstruation
It can seem daunting, for you and them. Puberty is difficult enough, they're feeling a surge of emotions, their bodies are changing, they're discovering the inner workings of the no-man's land called middle school. It can all be very overwhelming. Add getting their first period into this mix and that's where things can really seem like a horror movie.
As parents, all we can do is prep them for what's coming their way and educate them. They're already worried and awkward about this new phenomenon that will apparently be their monthly visitor for the better part of their lives, creating a positive mindset around it is numero uno on your task list. So be open, be honest, and try to treat them as an equal.
Demystify the physical details
Go back to when you were a kid, and everyone around you made it seem like you'd be bedridden for 7 days a month. We want to make sure that your child doesn't have sleepless nights dreading that moment. Explain to her how pain levels are different and your period isn't a disease but a very natural and empowering occurrence.
The next step is to reduce the fear of blood. They're probably thinking that there's going to be blood gushing out of them. Sit them down and explain how it works. How blood flow can be different and how it can be managed.
You don't need to know it all
Your child will understand if you don't have a fact sheet. All you need to do is tell them your journey, what you've learned, and give them a safe space for open discussion.
Instead of just buying period supplies for them, involve them in the process
A major part of this conversation is about how they're growing up. Try to remember that and empower them to make their own decisions. Take them to the store and show them the various options they have and highlight the differences. Give them all the information they need to make these choices without you too.
Show them how period supplies work
Let's be honest, sometimes even we, as seasoned period tacklers, still struggle with placing our pads/cups correctly. Taking your child through the step by step process will reduce their fear of the otherwise dreaded "moon time".
Additionally, if you and your child are comfortable, you could handhold her through her first-period change. Seeing you be normal with her period will also normalize the concept for her.
Get the men in the house involved too
Period talk need not be a secret meeting between just the women in the house. Involving your husband or son will help your children realize that getting your period isn't shameful or taboo. Your son could learn to respect the changes women go through too and help them in the process. In a country where pads are still sold with as much stealth as transferring nuclear codes, getting your kids comfortable with owning their period is exactly what's needed.
Empower your child to help others too
Once you give them all the ammo they need to tackle their period, tell them that most girls are going through it too. If they see someone needing a pad, or just look uncomfortable, urge them to lend a helping hand. I mean, what's better than women empowering women?