Menstruation or periods is a monthly discharge of vaginal blood in females. The onset of the menstrual cycle is called menarche and it generally starts at adolescence. The menstrual cycle comes to an end at middle or old age and is called menopause. The bleedings process typically lasts for about 3-5 days and repeats after every 24-34 days after the commencement of the last bleeding process.
Menstruation or periods can be a very sensitive subject to both parents and children. In India especially, periods and period blood are regarded as impure and dirty. This taboo has often harmed young children in their perception of their own bodies and everything related to menstruation.
The onset of the menstrual cycle can happen as early as 9 years of age. This means that children may not have enough knowledge of the periods before they start experiencing these changes. Periods and menstruation also bring certain changes in the body from skin problems to mood swings to appetite loss. This sudden change in their body might overwhelm many children who were not aware or properly educated on the same.
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Parents need to take a step forward and leave behind old taboos to help their children ease up to the idea of menstruation. There are many parents who refuse to talk to their daughters about menstruation as they consider the mere subject as impure or dirty. In many households, the topic is banned from being spoken about and children often end up having to hide their pain and insecurities.
These hush-hush attitudes towards periods can end up causing a lot of trouble for children. Hence, it is necessary to teach children, especially daughters, about periods to make sure they are not afraid or anxious about it. Here are some in which you can talk to your daughter about periods and prepare her to tackle it with ease and comfort.
It is extremely important that children understand the concepts of menstruation before they start their periods. This will help them be ready to accept periods as normal, natural, and a semi-permanent existence in their lives. Talk to your daughter about why women get periods and how it can be managed so that the bleeding doesn't affect their normal daily activities. Do not tell them that periods are impure or dirty. This will make them scared and insecure about their own bodies. Children in their adolescence tend to be very sensitive and the wrong information will leave them scarred and troubled for life.
Changes in the body and mind
With the onset of periods, girls experience a lot of new changes in their body. Both physical and emotional changes are associated with menstruation. You need to inform your daughter(s) about these changes beforehand. Bodily changes and expelling blood can be a very notion for young girls. You need to approach the subject with tenderness and help them navigate through this journey to adulthood. Skin problems like pimples and acne, bodily changes, mood swings during periods, feelings of shyness and insecurity, are all common effects of menstruation. Sit them down and explain to them that all these changes are normal and they do not need to be ashamed of it. Help them get over their shyness and give them a safe space so that they can express their problems without being ashamed.
Start preparing your daughter to help them deal with periods better. You need to teach them everything from how to wear sanitary pads to dealing with cramps and pains. Make sure your daughter knows how to use sanitary napkins so that she knows what to do when she starts her period. Sometimes children end up getting their first period during school hours. This can be extremely stressful for girls if they don't know how to wear pads and what to expect from periods. Make sure your daughter carries at least 2 sanitary napkins with her daily when she goes to school. This way she won't have to run around looking for napkins in case she starts her period at school. Do not make them use tampons and menstrual cups from the start. Make sure they are comfortable with the idea of tampons before you introduce them to her.
People often tell children that the topic of periods is taboo and they need to suffer in pain alone without letting anyone know. This can be extremely detrimental to a child's mental health as she would be scared to tell her elders about her problems. Assure your kids that they can come to you for help and answers whenever they want. Do not make them hide their problems. Make them understand that periods won't change her world. She will still be able to do her daily activities with ease without any issue. Your assurance will make your child feel better and also convince them that menstruation is a normal part of life.
Girl children need to be told that periods will not be a setback for them in any way. While painful periods can be slightly more difficult to work with, other days of periods can be easily managed with daily activities. Periods don't mean that they should stop participating in sports and extracurricular activities. It doesn't mean that they would have to stay at home 5 days a month solely due to menstruation. They need to understand that it will remain with them for a long time and they need to work around it. Give your daughter the confidence she needs to carry on her normal routines despite being on her periods. Do not restrict them from doing normal extracurricular activities. If they are scared, encourage them to try out themselves and see if they are able to have fun despite being on periods.