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Hello. I am a mother of two daughters, and my older child, now nearly 10, has special needs. Specifically- Global Developmental Delay. She may also be on the Autistic Spectrum, but has not been formally diagnosed as having ASD yet. How and when do I start talking to her and my 8 year old about basic hygiene and how to feel free to talk to me in case they discover that they are menstruating? We often talk about how and when I realised I was pregnant, and they do ask questions about how they were born!! I am a 37 year old professional and our family is very liberal in terms of dealing with things like periods- we have no taboo on the subject and yet I want to be certain I know how to tell them and be prepared for any questions. having studied Science in University, I am able to explain the physiological changes, but would like to know how much to say! Thank you.

asked Apr 13 '14 at 17:19

ruchi9's gravatar image

ruchi9
2112


Hi Ruchi9,

Girls generally get their periods around the same time when their mothers did. So you can start telling your daughter about menstruation a year before she is expected to get her first period. Or else when she turns 9. If your daughter is old enough to ask about something, she is old enough to know about it.

Here I am providing you with 7 tips to keep in mind while talking to your daughter about periods:

  1. Refresh your own knowledge. Get your facts straight and be able to explain it well before explaining to your daughter. Your daughter could be curious on many things like why does menstruation happen (or even how is it related to fertility)? How does it feel? What to do if she gets her periods etc. If she asks a question that you don't know the answer to, tell her so, find out the answers and get back to her. Or even better involve her in finding the answers may be by referring to a website or book together. That way she'll also know other sources of information that are accurate and would not have to only depend on you for answering her curiosity.

  2. Have small conversations at the right moment. It is important to not tell your daughter everything in one go as this would overwhelm her with information overload and more likely to scare and confuse her but instead tell her over many small conversations. Answer her curiosity on this subject and arouse curiosity if possible. You can use TV ads or pack of sanitary napkins or tampons as a way to arouse curiosity and trigger a conversation. It is quite possible that your daughter already knows more than you think. Ask her what she already knows, build on top of it or correct her if what she knows is not correct. This way you can keep it casual for yourself as well as your daughter.

  3. Use diagrams to explain complex concepts. You might like to explain certain topics using a diagram. For that you can use Menstrupedia's Quick Guide. It will also give you an idea of all the topics that you should address for your daughter.

  4. Share your experience. Share your stories of periods and keep them positive. How did you deal with your first period? Were you at home or in the school etc. These stories will help your daughter become psychologically prepared for her periods. She will feel comfortable that she is not the only one to have to go through this. Sharing your experience projects you as a person who has gone through it herself and therefore understands how to deal with it and it will also help your daughter connect with you at a more intimate level.

  5. Instill body positive attitude. Give your daughter reasons to like her body and the way she is. Make her feel proud of herself. Never instill shame, it will do long lasting harm to her self-confidence and self-esteem. May be you can plan a private celebration with your daughter when she gets her first period. Take her out for a treat or buy her a gift or prepare her, her favorite meal! Make her first period a memorable and cherished moment.

  6. Give her a book about menstruation. It is a good idea to leave her with a book on this topic that she can read in her own private time and go through it at her own pace.

  7. Tell her about different products to manage periods. This is so that she is not clueless when she does get her periods.

It is very important that you remain your daughter's primary and most accessible source of information and therefore keep your conversation with your daughter on this topic comfortable and friendly.

Hope this helps!

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answered Apr 14 '14 at 03:38

karijoh's gravatar image

karijoh ♦♦
175127

edited May 06 '14 at 08:04

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Asked: Apr 13 '14 at 17:19

Seen: 6,961 times

Last updated: May 06 '14 at 08:04

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