Helping your daughter feel comfortable about herself and her periods.

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Back in the day, when we were teens, there were basically two parental approaches to a tween or teen daughter’s first period. There were those parents who had created an atmosphere whereby the girl was so embarrassed of this event, that she told nobody but perhaps a best friend and began sneaking her mom’s pads from the bathroom cupboard. The more progressive parents back then congratulated their daughters and provided hygienic supplies openly, even with encouragement.

Fortunately, today we’ve had some progress. Do you have a daughter who is growing up, reaching this wonderful, yet awkward period in life? Why not make it a little easier by making sure it’s a positive experience for her… and indeed for both of you!

Get excited about it! Uncomfortable with this? Well, fake it until you make it because passing on the negativity, embarrassment, taboo and disgust that our generation carries is not an option. Easier said than done? No, this one isn’t tough.

Research together

Start early, when you see your daughter is starting on the winding path of puberty. Body changes start to become noticeable, she’s at “that age” and the attitude might be showing through.

Take some special time, just the two of you, to go through options as far as period management is concerned. Visit internet sites that you have previewed to see the ins and outs of pads, tampons, menstrual cups and whatever else might be of interest. This is the perfect opportunity to have a talk about events to come, letting her know how this works and why it is a normal, healthy process.

Make a date

Let your daughter know that the day she gets her period, you are going out, just the two of you together. Celebrate! Have that special “girl time” and have a marvelous, feminine experience. Be it a visit to a spa, manicures, a meal at a café or anything else that leaves special, personal memories, make it happen. Taking this step is a big step toward sweetening some of the bitterness that may still be associated with menstruation, in her circle of friends. It could be that she’ll have heavy periods at some point in time, at which point, things get tough. Having left this line of communication open between the two of you, you’ll be able to help her through that life hurdle as well.

Positive body image, quite the buzz phrase these days, does make an enormous amount of difference in the growing up process – in how teens view themselves as they move into adult life. The good news is parents can play a big, positive part in helping a girl establish a positive body image.

Again, if you have hang-ups about menstruation, do yourself — and moreover, your daughter — a favor and get over it. Healthy women menstruate.

On top of that, cut the negative talk. The level of perfection women expect of ourselves is impossible to ever reach. For our own mental health and for that of our daughters, we need to become happy with what we’ve got. Our aim is to be our best selves, maintain a weight recognized as healthy, keep up good hygiene and find a way to get that beautiful smile to shine from within.

Is your daughter a star sports player? A rising artist? Does she have leadership skills that will help her save the planet? These are all truly beautiful parts of her. Try to give her the safe opportunities she needs to show the world what she’s made of.

And concerning physical beauty… always an issue. Every person on this planet has beauty, both from within and from without. Point these strengths out on others, on yourselves. Maybe even make it a game while you’re together in the car, bus or train.

Positivity in all its forms makes us all better women and better people. Congrats to you and to the special young woman in your life, from us!