Talking about adolescence and puberty, and all other changes that go with it can be quite uncomfortable for both parents and kids. While most schools have lessons on health and/or sex education, it is important that parents still play an active role in educating teens on the subject. So how does one go about teaching your teenage girl about the monthly red days?
There are many opportunities to teach our kids about puberty, and this does not start and end during the teenage years. For example, a 6-year-old can be taught about sanitary napkins or tampons when going to the restroom together with her mom or even during grocery shopping for personal supplies. As with talking to kids on any other topic, facts must be stated clearly and in a manner understandable to kids. A simple explanation of bodily changes during a certain age would suffice as an introduction. For example, one might say that “Blood comes out of a teenage girl regularly each month. It is not a sign of sickness but it’s a means for the body to prepare for a baby in the future.”
What to tell them
It would be great to start with a story of one’s personal experience to break the ice and establish a connection with your teen. If your teen starts asking you questions, take it as a good sign of interest and openness on the subject. Otherwise, you can ask them what they already know, and offer basic information like, what causes the monthly period, how long it takes, what does one feel, and how does one deal with this. It would also be a good idea to give your teen a sense of control by giving her the freedom to choose between sanitary napkins, tampons, or menstrual cups. This enforces trust and also responsibility, which teens seek and value.
How to tell them
When talking to your teen, make sure to stick to the facts without being too technical with the explanations. Make the conversation casual and comfortable. Show that you care for her, and make her feel that she can always talk to you if she has questions on the matter.
Remember that regardless of whether you’re talking about menstruation, boyfriends or even pregnancy, creating an atmosphere of openness will not only make the conversation more comfortable, but will also build trust and respect between you and your teenager.