By Dannah Gresh, founder of True Girl
If you're like most women, your period has been much more like an exclamation point! It is something you suffer through and tough out. Have you stopped to consider that your attitude about it may still reflect the way it was or wasn't presented to you?
Forty percent of girls starting their periods have never heard about it from their own parents. Can you imagine how frightening it could be to wake up with bloodstained sheets or be horrified in the school bathroom and not have a clue what it means?
Let's make sure you punctuate your daughter's period with lots of enthusiasm and excitement rather than silence! Here is how you can talk to her in the right time and with the right attitude:
Prepare for the Conversation Years in Advance
Yes, begin teaching Sex Ed 101. I started these lessons with my son and daughter when they were in pre-school by talking to them about flowers. "You see," I would tell them as we looked into a lily, "even flowers have a daddy part (the pistil) and a mommy part (the stamen)." God created everything to make life. Even flowers! Get started as soon as you can with these simple life lessons and they will come much more naturally. Your willingness to talk openly about such topic ensures that your children will be able to come to YOU for answers.
Watch for the First Sign of Puberty
Your daughter's first period is the onset of puberty! There is something that happens one or two years before that. It's the sign to look for. Do you know what that is? Hint: She's got two and so do you! There ya go - you've got it! Breast buds.
Medical journals say that the average girl experiences the first sign of breast buds at 10.7 years, give or take a little. Every girl develops at her own pace, so be prepared for anything. About 15% of girls experience both breast buds and pubic hair before eight years old, which means they are probably set to menstruate between their ninth and tenth birthday. Even if you are surprised at how soon it happens, she shouldn't be!
Tell Her About Her Period Between Her Eighth and Tenth Birthdays
The average age at which a girl has her first period is 12.7 years. This age can deviate by as much as a year and a half. So be prepared to talk to her no later than age nine. This conversation is a great way to take advantage of spending time with your daughter. Here are two things you can do to make it easy to talk to her about.... "happy week"!
1. Tell her by using pictures of life.
Many moms talk about the basic function of periods, but fail to talk about why we have them. Having a period is God's great sign that he's preparing your daughter to be a mom one day! Here is where you have the wonderful opportunity to use your daughter's entrance into womanhood as a value-formation tool on the wonder of being a mom.This transition is so critical for our daughters in this day and age. The feminine quality of motherhood has been under attack, and our daughters are losing. In a 2007 survey over 1200 Christian teens, the vast majority of them did not want to be mothers and felt motherhood should be a goal secondary to the dreams they had for a career. How sad!
Start with the pictures and then accompany them with any of your specific thoughts about carrying your daughter in your womb, if you had that honor. Read Psalm 139 with your daughter during this time of conversation. This chapter gives you the wonderful opportunity to begin a dialogue to form your daughter's values about true beauty and the value of motherhood.
2. Give her a gift basket with all the necessary supplies.
Plan some mother-daughter activities and give her this basket! Purchase or put together a cute basket and stuff it full of girl things such as: a new bra, mini-pads, regular pads, teen-formula pain pills, body spray, books, chocolate, Thermacare menstrual heat wraps, and a letter welcoming her to womanhood. Also, consider including a small zippered canvas or fabric bag that's filled with the basics so she can discreetly take it to school. She might think you are "making a big deal about it," but I guarantee you, she would much rather you celebrate with her and give gifts than her be alone in the bathroom stall at school!
Along with the basket should come a mini-lesson on how to use it all. And, if anyone should happen to twirl a tampon or stick a pad to their forehead, just take a deep breath and laugh!
- Excerpt from Dannah Gresh's 6 Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl.