As parents, you’re faced with having tough and sometimes uncomfortable conversations with your children. Having the “period talk” is an inevitable part of growing up. Discussing puberty and menstrual cycles doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation.
When your child gets their first period, you’ll want them to feel confident and comfortable with their body and the changes it’s going through. At HealthPark Pediatrics, we aim to be a resource for parents when discussing health-related topics with their children. Here are our top tips and recommendations for having the period talk.
What Age Should You Have the Period Talk?
There’s no perfect age to discuss puberty or menstruation with your child. If your child spotted you buying tampons and pads or understands where babies come from at a young age, they could be ready for the period talk as early as age six or seven. If your child has a case of curiosity, but you feel they are still too young to comprehend menstruation, you can keep your answers short and simple without stretching the truth.
The average age for girls to get their first period is between ten and fifteen years old. You’ll want them to feel prepared for when the time comes. Therefore, have the period talk with your child at least before their tenth birthday.
Tips for Having the Period Talk
1. Ask what they know already
Before the talk, be aware of what they already know or believe to know about periods and menstruation. They’ve likely heard false information or are confused about a few things, so it’s best to start with some clarification.
By starting this way, you may be surprised to hear what your child already knows. It may also save you from repeating information they’ve already learned. Generally, having a back-and-forth dialogue will make your child more comfortable speaking on the topic rather than sitting them down for a lecture on menstruation.
2. Share your own experience
One of the best ways to make someone feel comfortable is to speak from your own experience. There is a stigma of embarrassment around getting your period, which should never be the case. It’s important to reassure them that they are not alone in this, and every young girl will experience it.
If the mother has embarrassing stories or struggles from her period, she should share those experiences and how she overcame those obstacles. Hearing someone else’s experience could help alleviate any fear of getting their period.
Suppose the father is initiating the period talk alone. Although they can’t speak from direct experience, there is surely a story from a sister, mother, or female friend that they can include. Whoever is leading the talk must convey that it is a natural occurrence and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
3. Be open to their questions
As parents, you want your children to feel comfortable asking you anything. Maintaining a positive, supportive attitude throughout this conversation will make it easier for them to approach you in the future. The period talk can set the tone for the comfort level of other upcoming parenting matters. For example, “the sex talk” or other topics regarding puberty.
4. Find outside resources
If you feel unqualified to lead this discussion, there are many outside resources available. You can watch an educational video or read a book together. Whichever method you choose, leave the door open for questions. Don’t feel you need to have all the answers immediately. Your child will appreciate you taking the time to do extra research on their behalf.
5. Talk to someone you trust
Asking for additional help from a trusted family member, a school counselor, or your child’s doctor is always another route to take. If your child has an established relationship with an adult they trust, they may be willing to speak to them. Ask the people closest to your child for advice on approaching the situation. An older sister that has gone through puberty is another great source for advice.
Get in Touch With Us
Your child’s pediatrician is always a great resource to consult. All of the providers at HealthPark Pediatrics are there to provide education and guidance to parents, as well as help children through their developmental stages. If you’re seeking additional information on the period talk with your daughter, request an appointment online, or give us a call at (919) 896-7066.