The first period is a sacred rite. In south India, families celebrate this passage into maturity with much pomp. But, does the girl really understand what is happening to her and what it signifies?
Twenty years back, my friend introduced me into the mysteries of womanhood. She used to share the whispers she had heard among her adult cousins. We were too young to understand what all it meant and as a result not ready for the change awaiting us.
None of our mothers had talked to us. On the contrary, my mother was herself embarrassed to talk to me. First time it happened, I discussed with my friends and after three days talked to my mom. She had not known how to broach the topic.
Times have changed since then. Lot more information is available and society itself has woken up to awareness regarding such issues. I am sure teenagers today do not find it as difficult to talk about taboos with their mothers now.
But, if you are still shy and do not know how to talk to your daughter about her first period, here are some pointers which might help you prepare for the interview.
How to talk to your daughter about her first period?
Right Age to Talk
The kids are growing faster these days. The average age for the onset of menstruation has dropped from 12 to anywhere between 8 and 13. No doubt it is hard decide when it would be a good time to talk provided they are also too young to understand what it signifies. And, no butterflies stories either!
Not just periods up also physical changes
Two signs of puberty in girls which often indicate that her first time period is around the corner are breast buds and armpit hair. You might just keep an eye on their physical changes and once you really see something happening, it might be time for you to explain them why they are happening.
It is just not about menstruation but also about their physical changes. They can see an increase in body hair or might face breakouts. Their hormones are acting up and their moods would too soon enough. Tell them about PMS symptoms and that they can have body aches a few days prior to the periods.
Change in your Relation with your girl
If you have been a strict mother, this is the time to become a friend. Your girl needs someone to talk to. Friends do fulfil the requirement but there are just a lot of dynamics acting up there. Their social behaviour may change during this phase.
They can become timid if they are unsure of themselves and their bodies. Keep an eye on their social interactions and encourage them when necessary. Being a friend helps more than a strict mother.
Sex Education and Safety
This is the time to teach them biology as well or at least give a general idea. Sex education is necessary and should start from home, not only for girls but boys as well. A healthy interaction between parents also reduces the consumption of illicit sexual content and untoward behaviour in either gender teenagers.
Girls and boys both should be taught how to protect themselves and speak up when they feel something is wrong. They must be told how touching them anywhere, especially on the chest and below the waist, is completely wrong. Encourage them to tell you about their interactions with everyone they come across.
Taking Care of Your Girl’s Health
Another important thing to keep in mind is to monitor the blood flow and frequency of the periods. There can be irregularities in the cycle initially but everything should settle down in 8-9 months. If you find issues persisting even after that, consult a gynaecologist since there might be issues with your girl’s health.