As a parent, you want to ensure that your child is properly prepared for any life changes that might come their way. If you have daughters, one important aspect of this is preparing them for their first period and being able to help them through this life stage in a positive way.
Menarche, or the first occurrence of menstruation, is considered the central event when it comes to female puberty. Menarche typically occurs between the ages of 10 to 16 years old. If you have daughters nearing this age or currently in this age range, it is the perfect time to hone your period positive parenting skills!
As a mother yourself, you likely faced your own set of physical, mental, and emotional challenges related to this bodily phase. And as a father, you may have had family members or friends in your early years that struggled with this.
The crux of the matter is there will always be challenges when it comes to such pivotal life milestones. However, if parents are able to prepare their children beforehand and instill a positive mindset around it, it would help ease these challenges and contribute to the development of a healthy self-image.
Let’s get started!
Positive parenting is a specific approach to parenting that involves deliberate steps to providing guidance, empowerment, affection, open communication, emotional security, unconditional love, a healthy sense of boundaries, empathy towards the child, and more.
Period positivity is a movement that fosters empowered mindsets and actions regarding menstruation. First and foremost, it seeks to undo stigmas, taboos, and negative media messages on periods that are causing insidious harm to the well-being of women everywhere. Period positivity also encourages further education on periods, open discussions on sustainable period products, as well as ending period poverty.
By incorporating period positivity into your positive parenting repertoire, you will be able to help your daughters develop a more positive self-image (free of associated stigmas or taboos) while also teaching them self-care tips.
Granted, periods are just one milestone when it comes to growing up. However, it is something that your daughter(s) will experience for years to come. Therefore, the values, mindsets, and practices you teach will have a lasting impact.
Does this mean that period positivity is only for parenting daughters?
No. The mindset of acceptance and neutrality towards periods can also be beneficial to sons. Young boys need to also be freed from the stigma and taboos surrounding the topic of menstruation. This will contribute to preparing them to be a progressive member of society.
Some girls get their period earlier than others – even as early as 8 years old. This is why it’s advised to talk about periods at an early age. In other cases, children, both daughters and sons, may ask period-related questions after seeing something online, after hearing something from a friend/adult, or after seeing disposable period products in the trash.
Whether the talk is scheduled or if questions are asked spontaneously, it is important to avoid stigmatizing the topic and to give information as objectively as possible. In a later section, we discuss why it’s important to make periods neutral.
For scheduled or planned talks about periods, you can choose to determine who will be the one to lead the conversation. Young girls are typically more comfortable having the talk with a trusted older woman, usually a family member or guardian.
For single dads, you can enlist the help of a trusted female member of the family like an aunt, especially if you are uncomfortable starting the talk yourself. If you will not be talking to your child about periods, it is important to have some alignment regarding period-positive best practices.
If you are talking to your child about periods, the first step is to ask them what they already know. Take note of any negative associations and myths that your child has absorbed about the topic.
The most common negative associations regarding periods are that it is a dirty thing or something to be ashamed of – or even something to be dreaded or made fun of. It may even be called a “monthly curse.” These are unhealthy view points that need to be nipped in the bud.
If your child expresses any unhealthy beliefs, calmly correct them. Periods are a normal and natural phenomenon that shouldn’t ruin a child’s self-perception or compromise their life experience. This is where establishing period neutrality is helpful, as we will cover in the next section.
One of the most important positive parenting tips is to demystify how periods are viewed. The most healthy attitude towards periods is to see it as a normal occurrence – nothing dirty, shameful, or disgusting about it. In line with this, periods are okay to talk about since they are just a natural occurrence in a person’s body.
Furthermore, periods do not change someone’s identity; in particular, a child does not become a woman or is not pressured to “grow up” just because of menarche.
You can further strengthen period neutrality by looking for factual information to dispel period myths.
This is an important point to cover for daughters. They need to know what to expect when it comes to having periods. For instance, some girls will experience PMS and as a parent, you should be able to provide helpful tips for how to ease period pains.
Another important point to cover is regarding personal hygiene during one’s period. Encourage washing the area to avoid infections. Period products such as organic feminine wash with carefully selected natural ingredients that cleanse and protect the vagina-vulvar area from infections is also beneficial.
Not all period products are made equal. Some products are uncomfortable to use or may contain harmful chemicals that can have negative health effects. Unfortunately, this is highly common in disposable period products and most feminine wash products.
This is why education for both parent and child is one of our positive parenting tips – take the time to look into options that you may not have explored yourself.
Organic cotton reusable pads or premium bamboo reusable pads are known for providing greater absorption, extra protection, and more comfort during periods. These can also be used in tandem with reusable cups. Allow your daughter to access and try various options until she finds the one(s) that she is most comfortable with.
Even after the talk, encourage your child to ask you any questions. This helps to open the discussion and puts you in the best position to guide your child properly. Though you can’t shield them completely from comments by peers or negative media messages, you can sure try to reverse the effects of such influences!
Illuminate your life with self-love and confidence – it all starts with better periods! As a company that is passionate about period positivity and well-being, illum wishes you the best in this important milestone with your child.
If you’re looking for top-notch, sustainable, and healthy period products to give to your daughter, feel free to check out our online shop – we specialize in providing better periods through comfortable pads and period hygiene products for girls and women of all ages.
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