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I was talking lately with some moms of tweens, and a couple of them mentioned that they are kind of dreading the discussion that they’ll need to be having soon with their daughters, in regard to the changes that a girl’s body goes through at puberty. They were especially not looking forward to talking with their daughters about getting their period.
It’s interesting, I think, that for some of us, the hardest part of having a period discussion with our daughters, is actually the discussion we need to have inside our own heads, first, as mothers.
|My daughter, in the middle,
with a couple of her besties.
Some of us see our daughter getting her period as a farewell to little girlhood. And, in a way, it kind of is. The passing of time can be so poignant, so bittersweet, even.
But as mothers, the things we say to ourselves on this issue can either paralyze us, cripple us, or enable us to offer our daughters the best perspective possible, while building our relationship with them, all at the same time.
As mothers, we are the chief role model in our young daughter’s lives, and so how we approach this topic really does set the tone for how our daughters will think about it, themselves. Will they see that we are embarrassed, and attach shame or fear to it? Or will they see the wonder and the beauty that are inherent in the way our bodies were designed? And will they learn positive ways to approach navigating the difficulties that are inherent in the process? As mothers, we set the tone!
Have you ever taken a print to a frame shop, and tried to find the perfect frame for it? The perfect frame can take the same picture, and change it from “blah” to “Awesome!”. The picture itself hasn’t changed. But the frame changes the way you see everything!
When you spend a little time in advance thinking about how you want to have the period discussion with your daughter, you get a chance to pick out the perfect frame! This frame will influence how you present the information, and how your daughter will perceive the information.
So, when thinking about having a discussion with your daughter regarding her first period, if you find yourself grieving the loss of your daughter’s little girlhood, know that that is a perfectly normal, understandable feeling. Watching a season of life begin to come to an end is a loss, so talk about those feelings with a friend, or with a group of girlfriends. You’ll discover you’re not the only one who’s ever felt that way. Then, once you’ve unloaded those feelings, you’ll be ready to approach the discussion with your daughter in a different way.
To re-frame having this discussion for you, a little bit, I’d like to encourage you to take the long view of the discussion/discussions that you’re about to embark on as a mother. Assuming she doesn’t die, your daughter WILL grow up. That’s a fact of life. For you as her mother, this is a milestone in your daughter’s journey toward adulthood. What kind of role do you want to have in her life? Do you want, ultimately, for her to view you trustworthy, and as a reliable source of accurate information and wise advice? Do you want her to view you as her ally, and ultimately, by the time she reaches adulthood, as a true friend? These discussions are a golden opportunity for you to speak into her life, and build your relationship with her. Make the most of it!
You may remember that I mentioned in an earlier article that my mother never discussed the topic of my period with me, so I actually had no real-life role model on which to base my discussions with my own daughter. Another wrinkle in the process for me was that my daughter is very private with her feelings. I knew that if I pushed too hard, I would push her away. In retrospect, I was very much this way with my own mom when I was a teen, so I could really relate to the feelings of embarrassment and shyness that my daughter demonstrated when personal topics came up.
Another awesome resource is this page on the Kotex website. It offers helpful information and thoughtful ideas to help you prepare for the talk. It also has great tools you might want to take advantage of, like a calendar with facts about puberty, questions your daughter may ask, and different ways that might help you decide how you’d like to start the conversation. You should check it out!
So what about you? How are you feeling about beginning the period discussion with your daughter?
I wrote this review while participating in a Brand AmbassadorCampaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by KotexTween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.