Dads, how do you handle things when it comes to talking about periods and puberty? Are you comfortable talking about your daughter’s first period? Well, here’s a dads guide to a daughter’s first period.
This post has been selected as part of Twinkl’s Period Education campaign and is featured in the ‘9 Tips on How to Explain Periods to a Child at Home’ post
Dads, Daughters, and Periods
Let’s be honest, their daughter’s first period is not something most dads think about, is it? Well, I’d like to think the role of a parent should be fluid (no pun intended). Theirs a lot of new stay at home dads these days and some are having new experiences watching their children grow up. Physical maturity, periods, hormones, testosterone, and puberty are all part of the process.
Let’s look at daughters though, for this article. Some daughters are close to their dads and some closer to their mams. In terms of which parent to turn to when your daughter starts her first period isn’t a case of pick and choose. Being informed is key to making this first step into maturity easy for your daughter.
Are you ready for your daughter’s first period?
I’ve always been quite open and frank with my kids about growing up, maturity and sex. But for some, it can be quite tricky. It can be an awkward topic to talk about. Somewhat embarrassing for both dad and daughter. What’s worse, the fact that your daughter is going to have her first period, marks a big milestone in her life. It’s tough, our little girls are growing up, sadly there’s nothing you can do about it. Apart from following her every footstep and having a 3-week interview process for every partner she has.
Ok, so let’s look at the facts. If your daughter is aged between 9 and 15, it’s likely the big day is about to arrive. Take some time to think about this and prepare.
Your daughter is and will be going through some significant changes over the coming years. Although it can be stressful and maybe frightening sometimes, you need to just deal with it. Mood swings and everything.
Around the age of 8 or 9, you need to have “the talk”. Not that you’d expect your daughter to be doing anything sexual at that age. But it’s important that your daughter understands what changes her body will be going through as she matures. Sex education is now part of the curriculum in the UK, but it is very much geared towards self-esteem and being true to yourself and self-respect.
There’s plenty of information about periods available online and in plenty of books. Remember don’t just give your daughter a book and say ” read that”. Be ready and available to answer questions she may have.
It’s also a good idea to keep some pads and tampons on hand. A lot of people, including women, teens and tweens don’t feel particularly comfortable shopping in the ‘feminine hygiene aisle’, but it needs to be done so just do it. Be informed about these products and ask your daughter about what she would like to try when the time comes.
An informed choice
For many girls, pads are more comfortable and a little less frightening than tampons. There are so many different varieties of sanitary products it can be overwhelming. Most women prefer thin pads with wings. It’s worth buying a few types with different absorbancies. This may seem overkill, but it’s easier for your daughter to figure out exactly what she needs.
Teens and Tweens talk quite openly these days, so If you find your daughter would prefer tampons, remember, it’s her choice. Just make sure that she knows how to use them safely. There are a fair few products in shops that are designed to be comfortable for tweens and young teens. Let’s be honest, some dads aren’t and won’t be comfortable with the idea of their young daughter using tampons and I can understand why. But again, remember, this is her choice. It’s her body and must be her own informed decision.
Don’t panic Mr Mannering!
When the time comes, it’s important to not get all flustered and panic. It’s a big deal for her. She won’t want the whole world to know she started her period. So just chill your beans and keep calm and collected. It will make it easier for her to break the news to you and openly talk to you about other things in the future if she needs to. It sounds a bit cliché but gets a bar of decent chocolate at hand or a new set of pyjamas. She definitely won’t want a ‘Period Party’ but you can certainly let her know you’re a proud dad of a daughter that’s growing up.
It’s not as embarrassing as you think.
You may find that your daughter hasn’t even told you that she started her period. But if you have already planned ahead, tampons and pads are already available to her. She isn’t embarrassed, she just finds the process a very personal one. It’s a natural process and therefore doesn’t require your input. You’ll be on a very much need to know basis. Just ride it out, she will talk to you, but it’s important to listen to what she needs. It may be a massive tub of ice cream, it may be that she needs more pads. Just go with it and don’t make it a ‘thing’. It’s not embarrassing, it’s natural.
Don’t offer advice
Your daughter will know more about her periods than you ever will. Even if she’s just starting out on her journey. Don’t try to offer advice because you will never know what it’s like to have a period. By all means, read up but don’t offer the advice unless she asks for it.
Girls Talk all of the time
The new generation of tweens and teens talk, a lot. Most boys at school even know when a girl is on their period. It just seems to be the way things are these days. There are apps to track periods, there are friends that track periods for friends. No one bats an eyelid at the word ‘period’ anymore. Take comfort in knowing your daughter has more than likely already spoken to one of her friends about periods.
Ok, we all know when it’s “the time of the month”. In addition to the stroppy teenager, there will be, mood swings, heightened emotions, cramps and pain. Suck it up Buttercup. Deal with it. Bite your lip, take deep breaths and ready yourself for when your daughter goes from being a fire breathing dragon to a teary little bunny rabbit. Be there when she needs your support, a cuddle or just to talk. Don’t be judgemental, just listen and offer advice if she asks for it.
Book a GP Appointment
It’s important to ensure your daughter’s health is monitored too. Periods can affect people in different ways, physically and mentally. Some periods can be heavier than others and can cause different feelings, such as lightheadedness, severe pains etc. So it’s worth booking an appointment with a GP or nurse, so a medical professional can discuss everything from a medical and sexual health point of view moving forward.
Be her Dad. Nothing has changed, your little girl is just growing up.