A woman’s menstrual cycle is a fact of life and her first period signals a major stride forward in her transition into womanhood.
While she may not be old enough to vote or drive a car, she is suddenly given a large set of responsibilities when it comes to her reproductive health. It should be both celebrated and explained, to avoid embarrassment or confusion.
Here are five tips to help your daughter manage her monthly cycle:
1) Education is key.
Even though everything can be found on the internet these days, and most teenage girls compare notes with their friends, there is nothing like learning about how the female body works from a trusted source.This source can be a mom, grandmother, aunt, or older/wiser sister.
Begin by explaining how the reproductive system works, why it is important, and what to expect, before it is too late.
When she's younger, it is okay to keep the topics easy and simplified. However, as she approaches puberty, she will need to understand why she bleeds (and that she is not dying), how she can become pregnant, and how to take care of herself.
Remember that most young women begin their cycles somewhere between 10-14 years old with the average being around 12 years of age.
2) Keep the subject of menstruation positive.
While her mom might experience horrible cramps each months or change personalities with premenstrual syndrome, this may not be the case for her daughter. It is wise not to scare or overwhelm her anymore than she will already be feeling.
3) Be prepared.
Start explaining the different forms of feminine products such as pads and tampons, and the use of both. Filling her in on what she should expect to see, how often she should change them, and proper disposal, are also important so she feels prepared.
4) Explain common symptoms.
Many women have some unpleasant symptoms. They may feel emotional, moody, tired, crampy, sore, hungry or headachey ... like the Seven Dwarves of PMS.