The changes brought about by puberty can be scary for a young girl. Before she may have her period, she may already know some things about menstruation, which she may have learned at school, or from other people. Since puberty brings about changes in the body, it can be stressful for your daughter, especially if she has negative perceptions towards these changes. Thus, it may help if you prepare your daughter for these changes early on.
Most girls have their first period when they are around 12 or 13 years old. However for some individuals, it may occur a few years earlier than that. Tackling this issue can be awkward for you and your daughter, but generally they are more inclined to feel at ease, when the issue is discussed by a female family member.
Before discussing the issue, it may be best to evaluate what your daughter already knows about puberty. There may be a need to clarify inaccurate information, and a parent needs to address these issues accordingly. Explain to your daughter why menstruation occurs, and how it can affect the body. It is essential that you give your daughter an overview of ovulation, and that she fully understands what it means to be sexually mature.
There is also a need to explain to your daughter what it is going to feel like to have her period. It may also help if you discuss signs that her period may not be too far off. Girls usually get their period, two years after their breasts have started to develop. Explain signs as well like vaginal discharges, and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Let your child know that there will be times that she will feel varied symptoms like mood swings, irritability, and cramps, which may occur days before she gets her period. This will prepare her better for any discomforts, which her period may bring.
It is also necessary to teach your daughter how to use sanitary pads or tampons. You may even encourage your daughter to bring a napkin to school just in case. Sanitary napkins may also be purchased at dispensers inside the bathroom. Explain to your daughter as well, that menstruation varies for each individual. Some girls may only menstruate for two days, while others may have them longer. Some girls may also have light periods, while some individuals may experience heavy menstrual bleeding.
It may also be the best time to encourage open communication lines with your daughter. Tell her that if she has any concerns or fears, she can approach you anytime. Let your daughter know that there may be instances that you need to be aware, if she notices that her period gets really abnormal. These include prolonged periods lasting more than ten days, periods associated with severe pain, or if she is having an abnormally heavy menstrual flow. These instances may necessitate a consultation with a health care provider.
For every developmental milestone that a child goes through, parents play a key role in preparing a child for these changes. Although discussing a topic such as menstruation can be awkward at first, it may be a way to establish a stronger relationship with your daughter. There are a lot of expected changes that are yet to occur, once a girl begins the transition towards maturity. However, these may be the times when your daughter may need you the most. By tackling sensitive issues like menstruation, you are letting your child know that you are open to discussing other topics as well.
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