New research has shown that 1 in 5 parents feel 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.
76 % of mums report being the first parent to discuss menstruation with their daughter.
But nearly 1 in 5 said their daughter first learned about periods from her father. While 8 % discussed it with both parents and 5 % were educated at school.
Parents report first speaking to their daughters about menstruation at age 11 and about sex at age 12.
However the stigma around periods still remains and daughters find it hard to talk to their parents about menstruation.
Only 45 % of parents say their daughter informed them immediately after getting her period – and some daughters kept it a secret for over a year.
One-third of dads say their daughter’s first menstrual cycle was kept a secret from them and 10 % of mums were also kept in the dark.
Mums are slightly more likely to have a plan for how to talk about menstruation and are more likely to feel “very comfortable” with the discussion compared to 31 % of dads.
Dads do deserve credit, as the majority are at least somewhat comfortable speaking with their daughter about periods.
However, when it comes to their bodies, daughters are a lot more likely to ask their moms for advice rather than their dads (85 % vs. 21 %).
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.
Questions are usually asked about 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. Being proactive is always the best option to ensure that your daughter doesn’t grow to be ashamed of her changing body.
Parents will always look at their children as just that, children. 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.
Popular period advice from parents to their daughters
- Always be prepared with menstrual hygiene products in bag or 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
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