How do I prepare myself for when my daughter comes to me about starting her first period?

Christine - posted on 03/21/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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My daughter is almost 11 years old and hasnt started having her period yet. I was 10 when I first started. How do I prepare myself for that inevitable day and what should I say to her? I dont remember what my mother said to me about it, and I want to be prepared. I already have all the supplies she will be needing at first, in the bathroom cabinet, but I'm very nervous about it. Any good advice?

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Sonya - posted on 03/22/2010

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I have 2 teenage daughters and I talked to both of them about it a couple of years in advance of their periods starting. We actually discussed everything to do with puberty from wearing bras to changing body shapes to periods. By giving them all of the information you take away all of the fear of the unknown. It's also a topic that they can talk to me or my husband about anytime they want...and they do! The day they finally started their periods we congratulated them on becoming women and I even made them their favorite dessert that night as a way of recognizing the milestone.

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Kristin - posted on 03/25/2010

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I just remembered the name of the book that my mom gave me at the time we had our talk. I think there is a new and updated edition of it available. It's "Our Bodies, Ourselves" but I can't recall who it's by. Again, good luck.

Lyn - posted on 03/25/2010

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by all means...buy the American Girl book, that talks about girls bodies, from body odor, to periods, to breast. My daughter (now 15) read it and we went over it from a medical point of view. (she got her period on Christmas day... imagine that surprise!) Kids in middle school (your daughters age) are already experimenting with sex believe it or not, but if you ask parents, they will agree that although it is too early, there is so much media attention to it, that these kids are involved in it. The sooner the better.

Kristin - posted on 03/25/2010

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You need to be talking about everything to do with puberty, sex, and growing up. Do not wait any longer, it will just get harder and more awkward. Be honest with her and tell her that she can ask you anything she is concerned about. Check with your child's doctor, your gynecologist, school nurse about how they talk to kids about these topics. Start off with covering the biology of growing up and you can touch on what you expect of her. But, the moral aspects can come a little later through smaller conversations that are less tense. This first one can be a really big pill to swallow.



Do try to do something small to celebrate her entering womanhood, just keep it appropriate to her. Some girls may be all over an "I got my period" party, others might just want to go get a sunday with just mom, and others may just want a hug and a card.



Good luck.

Paula - posted on 03/25/2010

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My daughter is 12 and (I think) very close to starting. I have recently been talking her through my symptoms when I have my period - and chatting with her about what happens and why, and how to deal with it.

Barbara - posted on 03/25/2010

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You have to be talking to her now about her period, her body, and EVERYTHING else! Her friends are probably already discussing ;) There are some great resources online and at the bookstores or library. Don't be scared or nervous, or she will sense that, and she will feel like that stuff is not something you are ok with talking about. She will start getting VERY emotional before the big event happens, if she hasn't already. This is a really good time to let her know you understand and you know how she feels when she feels frustrated with her feelings. I see too many mom of adolescents who freak out or don't understand when their pre-teens and teenagers have their little emotional episodes. You have to know this comes the territory of being a female. I think that is how I first brought it up with my 16-year-old and 13-year-old. Sometimes we will end up laughing about some silly thing that they will cry about or get angry about for (it seems) no reason. Girls will have emotions that they don't know why they feel that way, or what to do about it, and you just have to understand that will happen, and let it go sometimes.

Anyway, it seems like all the stuff that goes along with the period itself is just as important as the period. She needs to learn about all the changes, emotional and physical, that she will be going through.

Get comfortable now, so that you both will feel good talking about everything from here on out, or else she will never be open with you.

Oh, and by the way, she will need to learn how to use a tampon ;) I don't recommend a live demonstration, but maybe just be comfortable enough to educate her about her body and tell her how things work.

She will probably have a lot of questions, I remember my daughters didn't know if they could be in the pool when they were on their period because they didn't know if a tampon would be ok. I was glad they could come and ask me that; not just because you want them to come to you, but also so that they can know their answers to the questions from YOU.

Chanel - posted on 03/24/2010

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Lol, my mom told me about periods when I was maybe 8 or 9. We were watching the show Roseanne and one of the daughters on the show started her period so I asked my mom what that was. I'm glad I didn't have to wait until I started to find out about it, that would have been terrifying! My daughter is only 7 right now, I figure I'll have a talk with her once she hits 9 or so.

Caroline - posted on 03/24/2010

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MY GOODNESS!! Your mom yelled??? I'm so sorry!

Well, we know what NOT to do.

Alexandria - posted on 03/24/2010

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just be there for her and let here know what you know. My mom never told me about a period. and when i finally got mine i thought i was dieing and when i told my mom all she did was yell. so if you are there for her and give her supprt then she will know to come to you no matter what . and she wont be so slef consious

Caroline - posted on 03/24/2010

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And yes, at 11, you're really late. I learned some stuff at 7, and more along the way. FROM MY PARENTS! Don't wait for the school kids to tell her! She will feel betrayed by you.

Caroline - posted on 03/24/2010

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ABSOLUTELY!! YOU GO TO HER! And Google up the "Red Party" idea. It's a little New Age, but celebrating her ability to procreate is SO much better than making it sound like a curse. And NEVER call it a curse! But if you have a Red Party (I will!) use the ideas you like, and skip anything that makes you uncomfortable. I am not going to offer up incense, but I WILL use it as an opportunity to celebrate my daughter's womanhood, make her feel HIGH self-esteem because her body is WORKING, and is BEAUTIFUL! And I will use it as an opportunity to teach morals (teach them again---I won't wait for that occasion to start), and I will teach her to respect the process of birth, and not fear it, as so many girls/women do. I will tell her (again) about our homebirths, and how natural birth is so much easier & faster, since you're relaxed in your own environment, and yet, I will teach her that if a hospital birth is necessary, there are ways to keep it "your birth". I will use the Red Party to explain cloth pads, to show respect for the earth by not contaminating it with disposable pads, and other stuff she won't get from the usual education girls get. She'll hear about a lot of stuff from other sources, like school, and I want to reinforce their good information, but also show that it wasn't ALL that she could learn (they won't teach about cloth pads & homebirth).
Above all, though, I want her to feel EMPOWERED! Feel beautiful. Too many girls feel shame when they have their periods. That's sad.

Kate - posted on 03/24/2010

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i had already talked 2 my daughter about this by the time she was about 8, my sister started her periods when she was 9 and i was 11 and my mum was 10 so wanted to make sure she wasnt worried in case it came early. I just explained to her that its all about of growing up and nothing to be scared of, i told her its the start of her body getting ready for being a mum one day (which she wasnt to keen on) but she was fine. She asked if it would hurt and i was honest, for some people it does and others it doesnt. Dont make a big deal out of it, im sure she will be fine.
If im honest i bet she already knows all about it from her friends.
With you talking about periods and what they are for maybe its a good chance to talk about the birds and the bees.
GOOD LUCK x

Vicky - posted on 03/23/2010

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My children are nearly grown up now and don't remember being told about the birds and bees and periods because I told them when they wre very young, as and when they asked. At times I wondered if they were too young (early primary school age) but decided if they wanted to know I would tell them in a non-scarey way without getting embarrassed. It worked. I explained to my son and daughter, at different times that women have babies and that each month from about the age of 10-14 yrs an egg is released into the womb (or baby making area)and if it's not fertilized then it comes away with a little blood. At those times a girl uses cotton wool to soak it up. Sometimes this led to other questions which I answered honestly and simply but then they went away quite happily to play and it was never a problem.
Good luck. Vicky.

Jane - posted on 03/22/2010

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my girls are way too little but i do remember that my parents could have been much more informative than they were and before it gets here. i knew what it was, but not really and i was afraid i was going to get in trouble for it having happened. so my advice is to ask your pediatrician for a good book or info to go thru w/your daughter now. the more she knows, solid facts, the better armed she is to deal w/all of the hormonal stuff and all of the peer pressure that's to come. i would say, let her know that only she is the one who can make herself feel good about herself so she doesn't succumb to pressure later on when she starts to date.

Sheree - posted on 03/22/2010

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Definately talk to her before hand, and the changes that are going to occur. I had that talk with my mum when i was about 8. But we were exceptionally close and spoke about everything. I understood what was going to happen and was still devastated when i first got my period. i was never looking forward to it and really didnt want to 'grow up' in that sense. Warn her about the pain and what is going to happen, about if she wants to use pads or tampons etc. good luck

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You should tell her before it happens, she might freek out and now know what's going on. Keep a supply on hand for when the time comes. Give her a book talking about puberty and such, let her learn and ask you questions.

Jessica - posted on 03/22/2010

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I agree with the others, I think the best thing you can do is try to talk to her about it before it happens. That way you can make sure she will have good information about what it is, why it happens, what to do, and everything so she won't be so freaked out if its a total surprise. I started my period when I was 10 but I remember a year or so before that my mom started talking to me about changes that will happen during puberty and getting your period. I felt well informed and comfortable about what was going to happen. When it did happen, I happened to go to the bathroom in school one day and say a bunch of blood on my panties, but I wasn't shocked or anything because I knew what it was. My mom said that her mom never talked to her about it growing up and when she started hers the first time, she thought something was wrong with her and she was dying! I think they teach kids about it in school nowadays too but I still think the best place to hear it first is from you.

Jessica - posted on 03/21/2010

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I would talk to her before it happens! My mom didn't and it was a little scary. Tell her that it's not something to be afraid of and that it is a part of growing up to be a woman. Good luck!

Amanda - posted on 03/21/2010

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Just try to think about how you felt when you first started yours. I would talk to her about it before it happens that way she isn't as surprised when it finally does come. Let her know that it is a normal part of life and that every girl goes through the same thing and also let her know that you are always there if she has any questions. Best of luck to you and I hope this helps

Tracy - posted on 03/21/2010

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Don't wait until she comes to you...do it now. In the spring of the 5th grade, the kids in our school district see a film about their bodies and how they will change when puberty hits. They keep the girls and boys separated and usually show the films at the end of the day so the kids don't have to interact with one another and get all embarrassed. I talked with my kids when they were each 9, and then again when "the film" was going to be shown. I used the National Geographic video, The Incredible Human Machine, to go over the basics of what happens when a female egg becomes fertilized. It does not address the mechanics of sex, other than that a sperm is required for fertilization, so I found it very appropriate for my 9 year old kids. The video shows how other systems of our bodies work, too, such as our ears for hearing and our voices. We talked about it after the video was over. Very good video, available on Amazon.com. However you choose to talk with your daughter, just tell it like it is. Don't sugar coat it - tell her what to expect about cramps, how much blood is involved, how often to change her pads; everything you can think of that will help her cope with it. I will NEVER forget the little girl in my 7th grade P.E. class who started her period at school and was found crying in the locker room bathroom stall because she didn't know what was happening to her, and decided she must be dying!!!! Please talk to your daughter before it happens. God bless!

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