Stats On “The Period Talk’
According to new research, one in five parents feels uncomfortable and unprepared for their daughter’s first period. While some do feel they have a plan, only half of parents feel very comfortable discussing menstruation with their daughter/s.
The study examined when mums and dads have these milestone discussions with their daughters and how they go about them.
Three-quarters of mums (76 percent) report being the first parent to discuss menstruation with their daughter.
But nearly one in five of those polled said their daughter first learned about periods from her father (17 percent). While eight percent discussed it with both parents and five percent were educated at school.
Parents report first speaking to their daughters about menstruation at age 11 and about sex at age 12 – though mums are having these discussions slightly earlier than dads.
Even with these discussions, the stigma around periods remains and some daughters find it hard to talk to their parents about menstruation.
Only 45 percent of parents say their daughter informed them immediately after getting her period – and some daughters tried to keep it a secret.
One-third of dads say their daughter’s first menstrual cycle was kept a secret from them and 10 percent of mums were also kept in the dark for a short time.
Mums are slightly more likely to have a plan for how to talk about menstruation and are twice as likely to feel “very comfortable” with the discussion (64 percent of moms vs. 31 percent of dads).
Dads do deserve credit, though, as the majority are at least somewhat comfortable speaking with their daughter about periods.
Talking about menstruation can be an emotional moment for parents and daughters alike and parents reported feeling confident (37 percent), relaxed (29 percent) and, for some, nervous (29 percent).
When it comes to advice in general, daughters are slightly more likely to turn to their fathers, as the first close male relationship, approaching their dads for advice seven times a week (vs. six times per week for mums).
Seventy-six percent of mums say they’re the most likely to initiate a serious conversation, but 41 percent of dads report that they’re the ones to bring up serious topics.
However, when it comes to their bodies, daughters are, perhaps predictably, a lot more likely to ask their moms for advice rather than their dads (85 percent vs. 21 percent).
Periods can be confusing – cramping, irregularity, lack of knowledge about different products – so it’s not surprising that more than eight in 10 daughters have asked others for advice regarding their monthly flow.
And parents handle these questions well: their answers address how to be prepared by keeping extra pads or tampons around, how to feel clean and stay hygienic, keeping track of each menstrual cycle on the calendar and how to deal with physical and emotional symptoms.
“Talking with daughters about their changing bodies can be a difficult topic. In fact, many parents struggle to find the right way to navigate the conversation. It’s a weird time for daughters and parents, but being proactive is always the best option to ensure that your daughter doesn’t grow to be ashamed of her changing body and instead embraces it,” Siobhan Lonergan, Chief Brand Officer of THINX Inc., said.
Interestingly enough, parents with more than one daughter report approaching the topic of menstruation differently the second or third time around.
This comes from learning how to better approach the topic after receiving advice from other parents (45 percent) and being better prepared after doing more research (34 percent). And for 38 percent, they say their daughters just handle change differently.
“No matter how old, parents will always look at their children as just that, children and it can be difficult to have grown-up conversations with them. But getting over that fear and talking with them anyway can actually help grow the bond you have with your daughter and that is what being a parent is all about,” added Siobhan.
Popular period advice from parents to their daughters
- Always be prepared with menstrual hygiene products in bag and sports bag
- Change your pad regularly
- Know how to use different products
- Don’t be afraid to try a new product to find one that fits your lifestyle
- Don’t panic, this is how nature works and I’m here to support you
- Take pain relievers to deal with cramps
- Try to stay active
- Always be prepared and help other girls if you know they need it
- If you have any other questions, come talk to me
- Don’t be afraid, this is normal; communicate with an adult
- Feel better resources: chocolate, heating pad and Ibuprofen
- Keep track on the calendar or through a period-tracking app
- Don’t hide your problem from me just because I’m your father
- Don’t be embarrassed
- Knowing how to properly dispose of sanitary products
- Feel comfortable coming to talk to me about your period if you need to
Who discussed/will discuss what with their daughter:
Sex: 81 percent (Women) 24 percent (Men)
School/education: 53 percent (Women) 34 percent (Men)
Sports: 50 percent (Women) 46 percent (Men)
Article by By Zoya Gervis, SWNS from The New York Post
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