If you are the mother of a pre-teen girl, you no doubt have started to see some of the changes of puberty taking place in your daughter. Breasts begin to form, and perhaps you have already bought your daughter her first bra or two. She may be growing at an astronomical rate, and her hips may be growing more round and full. She may have told you about hair growing in different places on her body, and you may have already had to buy her some special acne facial cleanser to keep the pimples at bay. You may have also noticed that she is sleeping like a rock and is far more moody than you have ever seen her before.
These, as you likely are well aware, are all changes that take place before a girl begins her first period; although sometimes a few of them occur afterward. As a mother of a preteen, there are some things you no doubt have already done or are considering doing soon, such as talking to your daughter about shaving her armpits and wearing deodorant, going bra shopping, and other such activities that are almost milestones of a relationship between mother and daughter.
Perhaps the most important thing to do next is to prepare your daughter for an event that is no doubt right around the corner – the day her first period starts. So just how can you help her to prepare for this big day? Here are some tips:
The Aches and Pains of Menstruation. The good news is that most often issues like tender breasts and cramping are very mild in younger women who are just starting their periods. However, you can talk to your daughter about what these symptoms may feel like so that she can recognize these symptoms as a precursor to her first period. You will want to tell her that not all girls have these symptoms, though.
The Flow. Just as many girls who are just starting to menstruate often don’t have to deal with cramps and sore breasts, many also do not have to contend with heavy periods either. However, you will want to talk about how heavy or light her period flow may be, as well as the various colors and consistencies that are considered normal. Ensure that she knows the color and consistency will change from the start of one period to the end of it.
The Supplies. You can talk to your daughter about the different supplies she will need to use and ensure she knows how to use them before the time comes. This includes pads, tampons, and panty-liners, too. You can show her where you keep your supplies. Some girls may feel more comfortable having supplies on hand to use prior to the big day, and others may simply want to have a bathroom stocked with panty liners at first.
The Logistics. You will also want to talk to your daughter about how you handle things like keeping pads and tampons hidden in your purse, how she might handle changing her supplies during the school day, and what happens if she has an accident or runs out of supplies while away from home.
The Calendar. One last but important thing you can talk to your daughter about is how to track her menstrual cycle on a calendar and about why that is important. Talk about how you can start to predict when your period is due so you can take precautions, about how doctors will ask for this information at appointments, and how she should keep track of how regular her cycles are for health purposes, too.
This sure is a lot of information to cover with your daughter. Some mothers will cover all of this information in one big sit-down session, but others find that easing a preteen into this transition by talking about these things over the course of a few weeks, months, or even in some cases years is easier for a girl to absorb (and is far less awkward for her, too).
Here are a few other articles written by this author:
How Positive is Your Parenting?
Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends
Kids and Friend Drama: When to Step In