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13yo DSD still really struggling with periods... Any advice?

(21 Posts)
fuzzpig Sun 03-Jul-11 13:58:02

DSD has been staying, last night she slept in DD's bed and when she came down today she looked really sheepish and said there was a stain on the bedsheet. Then she burst into tears sad I said not to worry and gave her a big hug (was unsure if I should as she's generally not keen on physical contact, but she seemed to really appreciate it and we stayed snuggled up on the couch for a while). I told her it happens to everyone - virtually every month for me! And that she did really well telling me, as when I was her age I leaked dramatically at a friends house and didn't tell anyone blush

She is really struggling with growing up. In most other ways she is still a child - not interested in boys, shaving legs, makeup etc. Which is great really. But obviously this aspect has been forced upon her and it is totally at odds with the rest of her personality! She is quite awkward physically as well, and clumsy - have often found blood on the loo seat etc, obviously I've never mentioned it.

I think she started about a year ago - not sure exactly when as we only found out when her mum told DH she'd had to give DSD a bollocking for bringing bloodstained knickers home from our house angry

I don't know if she struggles this much at home, I get the impression she does, but I can't even ask her mum about it - even if I said "please don't tell DSD I mentioned it as she was really embarrassed" she would, and would most likely tell her off again for not being more careful.

This is new to me - I was quite excited about all these rites of passage, and apart from the leaking incident I wasn't embarrassed by it. But maybe it's just because I was lucky enough to have an approachable mum? DSD doesn't have that, and she wouldn't talk to her mates about it in a million years, so I'm the only one she can talk to, but I don't know what to do! Or should I just leave it and assume it'll get better in time?

Help please - I hate to see her so miserable sad

Al0uiseG Sun 03-Jul-11 14:00:05

Poor girl, she sounds lucky to have you though.

fuzzpig Sun 03-Jul-11 14:03:50

Forgot to add, I had wondered after reading other MN threads if it was a matter of practicality - so she does have access to plenty of STs/liners, got a decent bin by the loo, lots of knickers, and we are getting a laundry bag for the bathroom which she said is a good idea. But I do think there's more to it than that. She's just not ready for this sad

Won't be back for a while now, as I've got to go back to work, I just wanted to post now as it's been playing on my mind all morning.

allhailtheaubergine Sun 03-Jul-11 14:12:03

Poor girly.

I remember being terribly, terribly sad when I got my periods. I just felt to bleak. As though that was it, no more being a kid. There was no particular reason for feeling that way, but I did.

I'm not sure what would help.

Maybe reassure her that she is still a child by letting her do little kid stuff?
And reassure her that it's not all bad to be growing up by letting her do fun grown up stuff too?

Well done you for caring and wanting to help. I had no one to talk to about it all.

fuzzpig Sun 03-Jul-11 17:56:16

I don't know if she consciously feels "no more being a kid" - that's a good point. Freud actually thought eating disorders for example were a teen girl's way of preventing herself growing up, but I don't know if a teen really thinks of it like that. I guess I thought DSD was more upset about the embarrassment of leaking etc, rather than fear of growing up - at least on a conscious level. I don't know... I could ask her, but she is so shy about it, and to bring it up out of the blue would scare her like a deer in headlights. She is generally quite a closed book, so it really shocked me when she cried.

I like the idea of doing kid stuff though, she enjoys messing around with our DCs (4 and 1).

CeliaFate Mon 04-Jul-11 14:56:26

Oh bless her. At least she's lucky to have you to talk to. On the practical side I think you're doing everything you can.
I'd take her out and spoil her if you can just the two of you. Go for a hot chocolate and mooch round the shops. Perhaps a book such as one of these would help to give her information and make her understand it's nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of.
Had her mother prepared her for her periods? If not, the shock of it could well have upset her a lot.
As well as the sanitary stuff, how about a hot water bottle like this for cramps and pain. Does the job, but still lets her cuddle a toy.

fuzzpig Mon 04-Jul-11 14:58:18

Aww that's a great idea thanks smile

suzikettles Mon 04-Jul-11 15:00:59

How about showing her how to wash bloodstains out of pants and sheets? Not saying that she should be doing her own washing, but just empowering her to know how to do it if she wants to/needs to. I remember this being a key bit of period "lore" passed on to me by my mum hmm.

And if you have any good tips about avoiding leaking, particular towels, sleeping on a towel on very heavy days, possibly introducing the idea of tampons if she doesn't use them already?

I think it's brilliant that she told you about the leak. That's a really big deal and you reacted in exactly the right way.

girlywhirly Mon 04-Jul-11 16:14:18

Agree with suzi, perhaps using special pads designed for use at night might help with leaks, also sleeping on a towel (I am still doing this in case I have another unexpected bleed, am just about at the menopause) Perhaps a change of style of pad to use during daytimes may suit her better.

Is she regular, and does she know how to calculate when a period is due? Then she can wear a panty liner on a due day in case she starts.

I also agree that she is lucky she can count on you to help her, her mum sounds awful. Are you sure DSD is well informed about the facts of life, would she appreciate some books to help her come to terms with puberty and how she feels about it? You could just leave them on her bed for her to dip into anytime she was at your home.

scartette Mon 04-Jul-11 20:56:55

My dd is 14 and is exactly the same. She started 5 months ago and finds it all so awkward and embarassing. She leaks quite heavily every month also and she tells me, but can never bring herself to say 'the word'. I just give her a hug, tell her its dead normal, change sheets and carry on as normal. But you are right ,it's so unfair,-my ds is still so childish and immature and is not really ready for this emotionally. Tba, I'm finding the underarm hair much more of a battle. She just wont get rid of it herself,wont talk about it etc .I've given her her own little pink ladyshave and shown her all other options(shaving,immac etc) but she refuses to do anything about it. Trouble is, this time of year, it causes excessive sweat problems etc.
I'm just leaving her to it at moment. As for the wearing of the 'teen bra', another no-go area.She is wearing one but will not speak about it or say the word-she walks off if I mention it. I keep trying to find out if she needs a bigger size at the moment but she wont discuss it. I have to try and guage it by looking at her. Hope all this will make you feel a bit better and that you are not alone. Your dsd is very lucky to have you-her mum sounds awful !

fuzzpig Tue 05-Jul-11 08:11:36

Scartette sad it's frustrating in a way isn't it, you just want them to see it's all normal and nothing to be embarrassed about! DSD was the same with bras - she developed quite early and hated it, though that may be because they were the wrong size and uncomfortable.

I'll get a book (I remember reading "Have You Started Yet?" as a girl), I don't expect she will read it as she's dyslexic and hates books, but it may be a good conversation-starter. Useful for her twin too, who is not as developed yet, but is generally more grown up.

As for STs (she doesn't want to use tampons so I won't push that) TBH I'm not even sure she really uses them. When we/I've been shopping and I've asked if there's any particular brand or style she would like, she just shrugs and says anything is fine. I know she uses pantyliners so we have loads in the bathroom, but maybe she finds the rest a bit more complicated? With wings etc? She is also a bit fussy about clothes/textures in general so maybe they are too uncomfortable. I hear there are special teen-sized pads available but I couldn't see any in Boots.

I can't help wondering if her mum hasn't actually shown her what to do with STs, or if she's often berating her for leaks etc... But I really really hope I'm wrong about that. It's hard to even ask, as she is totally under her mum's thumb and gets very upset if something negative is said about her. It's quite dysfunctional TBH sad

Bonsoir Tue 05-Jul-11 08:16:50

Can you show her how to use Tampax (the old fashioned sort with cardboard applicators are much the easiest to use for beginners)? My mother was brilliant and encouraged me and my sister to use Tampax from our very first period as she thought STs were messy and uncomfortable, and she was dead right.

worldgonecrazy Tue 05-Jul-11 08:24:55

I'm a few years away from this but I saw this company at a Summer Fayre the other weekend and thought it was a lovely idea:

Maybe something like this could help your daughter feel more positive?

largeginandtonic Tue 05-Jul-11 08:28:00

Poor girl.

You sound lovely. I would be buying her stacks of various shape/style ST's and some cheap pants from Asda. That way she can chuck a pair if she thinks she will get roasted by her Mum.

Teaching her to sleep on a towel when she is bleeding is also a good tip. Getting her to note down when they are so she is a bit prepared would also help. Although they may still be all over the place i guess.

I remember reading 'Are you there God it's me Margaret' at about 12/13. Light hearted but enjoyable and quite informative. More emotional side obv. Judy Blume was fab when i was a teenager.

She is lucky to have you smile

QueenofDreams Tue 05-Jul-11 08:34:02

She sounds a lot like me in my teens. I was 18/19 before I ever came to terms with my period.

Part of the problem was having a very repressive/unapproachable mother. I got my periods, she started buying me pads. They were great big uncomfortable things, so I would try to go without. I just couldnt' stand the discomfort of wearing them. Even when I managed to convince my mum to buy thinner towels, I still hated the feel of them, I would walk with my legs clenched. I felt just bleak and miserable every month! I also hated the fact that it meant I was growing up. All my school friends were excited and couldn't wait to get their first period, but I dreaded the idea.

The one thing that changed that was when I started using tampons aged about 18 (my mum wouldn't allow me to use them). I think it was the lack of mess and the increased comfort that did it for me. As well as being a lot more mature by that point.

Maybe see if you can get her to try tampons? (in a gentle way obviously) It sounds like she is very lucky to have you though!

fuzzpig Tue 05-Jul-11 10:45:34

blush thanks all. I don't feel she's that lucky, I am of course happy to help her, but I am angry for her that she's not seeming to get this help from her mum.

Anyway, have found that laundry bag, and also I think I'll get her some of those Femfresh wipe things - I use them on my heaviest days, I know some don't approve but she finds it embarrassing to try and clean herself up, and at least they're flushable so she can destroy the evidence.

Bonsoir Tue 05-Jul-11 11:27:45

fuzzpig - I'm also a stepmother (to teenaged boys, however) and my opinion is that I should never, ever step on my DSSs' mother's toes but that if I can see a gap in her parenting that she has no desire to fill, then I go right ahead! You are in a unique place as a stepmother - use it to the children's advantage!

scartette Tue 05-Jul-11 22:56:44

Fuzzpig,that book is still available in a more modern form. I got it for my dd.
I think the simple pads without the wings are the better option for a pad.
The wings are awkward to manage and to position correctly. I get the Tesco own brand ones as they are simple,straightforward and not too bulky.

mathanxiety Tue 19-Jul-11 17:02:17

I really admire you for what you are trying to do for this little lost soul. Keep at it. What is her mother thinking shock ? Does she have any sort of close relationship with her father?

I second all the practical suggestions here, as well as the books. Maybe you could read them together if her dyslexia is getting in the way?

Sometimes it helps a young teen accept that she is growing up if there is an adult who can gently lead her into the world of girly things (nails, hair, etc.) in a way that is fun and involves lunch out, the odd purchase of some nice clothes, a little handbag, fashionable items here or there. You might well be that person in this young girl's life. It seems her mother focuses on the clumsiness and the mess and is not being one bit positive or supportive.

Theas18 Tue 26-Jul-11 16:29:21

If she doesn't read so well I'd vote for this

Which is what DD had when all the puberty stuff started to raise it's head rather too early at 8 ish.

Some other other period books are all a bit scary- well I thought they were when she was young and it sounds like your SD is a bit "young" for her age.

Having 2 girls my top tips would be the cheapest black knickers you can buy and lots of them, with permission to bin them if leaks happen at a bad time eg at school- the embarrasment to carrying bloody knickers all day- not worth the 50p or so the pants cost.

Sleep on a towel if needed and we still have the old "bed wetting " sheets on the girls beds!

notcitrus Tue 26-Jul-11 16:45:19

Just wondering if she is having particularly heavy periods that are difficult to deal with? If she's having leaks daily and needs to change pads more than every few hours, it might be worth talking to a GP, especially if they're painful.

And a stash of spare knickers so the poor kid doesn't have to deal with a bollocking from her mum at the same time.

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