Do you have a young Pre-Teen in your life and wondering how you will help to ease her though this important stage of womanhood? We answer questions daily on QUORA.com, and you would not believe the number of young girls, some as young as 10 years old, wanting to know how they can successfully HIDE their periods from their parents... this is sad, isn’t it? Of course, we encourage them to communicate with their mothers or older sisters, reassuring them that they, too, have gone through the same experience. Yet, this question keeps popping up. If you are a mother, step-mother, Big Sister, Aunt, or friend to a young girl, this blog is for you!
Do you remember getting your first period? Depending how old you are, you probably have noticed that you were somewhat older than girls getting them today. First periods can be scary for a 13-year-old, imagine for a 9-year-old. The sight of blood can frighten most adults. Surprisingly, today’s teens know less about what to expect then the previous generations, who did not have the internet. (Are you surprised by this?). Here are a few tips to help the young girl in your life ease through the transition.
1-Let her know what symptoms to be on the lookout for
She will know it’s coming once she feels the signs: pains in the lower abdomen and the back, and the appearance of pimples and pubic hair growth. If she is discussing these changes with you, as they are occurring, you are already one giant step ahead in communication, the door is open!
2-Have the Talk
Why do women have periods? What are they for? How does the menstrual cycle work? Why don't the boys have them? What does it look like? No taboos, answer ALL of her questions about menstruation, and do not wait until puberty. You can begin to introduce the subject in an age-appropriate manner as soon as possible. The more time you spend explaining to her what will be happening, the better understanding she will have. Most importantly, she will grasp that this is all very normal and natural. This blog will help!
3-Do not go off topic
Don't rush to say it all at once. The topic of menstruation can easily branch off into many things, like birth control and sex… there is no need to talk about all of that now. Focus on periods, cycles, health, that will be enough for now.
4-Show her what to do.
Do you remember the condom & banana demonstration at school? Well, this is not quite the same thing, but sort of! Explain to her the different types of protection, and how to use them. Let her tell you which one she prefers, and buy her first period kit. This will be a special time for you. Of course, we recommend using Period Panties, as they feel like regular underwear. They are also great to wear when the cramps come along and you fear the period is coming. Waking up to stained sheets can be traumatizing for a young child (or worse, staining your clothing while at school).
5- Share your personal experience
Confiding in your teenager by telling her about your first time, will further grow the trust between the two of you. Was it while sleeping, at school, at a friend's house? Did you expect it? How did you react? Were you prepared? Were you scared? What did you wish you knew? Ease her mind while you relive these memories.
6- Offer resources
You’ve done a great job so far, but perhaps your teen still has questions and is too embarrassed. Better gear her towards a trusted source: a doctor, trusted website, or a great book that contains updated relevant information. Who knows, she may become a mentor for her friends with all that knowledge!
We hope this blog will help you open up the discussion with your pre-teen. Remember, the average age for a first period is 11, so opening up the discussion as young as 8 years old is a sure way to prepare her, give her confidence, and rid her of worries. The internet is doing a very bad job right now at educating our youth, much better this come from a trusted source.
Be well, Justine
Let us know how it went? How was YOUR first experience? Share in the comments below!