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How do you talk to your daughters about periods? Share your tips with Lil-Lets for a chance to win a £300 gift voucher NOW CLOSED

(299 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Jan-16 13:04:58

The team at Lil-Lets would love to hear your tips on talking to your daughter(s) about growing up and preparing for their period. Or, how you faired having the same talk with your own mum.

Lil-Lets say "we are often asked by parents how best to approach that all important discussion with their daughters as they become a teen, grow up and start their periods. We know MN is a massive source of support for parents and different stages of the parenting journey and we'd love to hear your tips and experiences with this topic".

Please share your top tips on how to chat to your daughter(s) about growing up and preparing for their period. Lil-Lets also want to hear your tales of the same talk with your own mum.

Check out their video below:



Please add your comment or tip below and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 gift voucher for the store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck
MNHQ
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FlukeSkyeRunner Tue 05-Jan-16 14:31:43

We haven't got to this stage yet but I intend to give our girls plenty of information as I don't feel I was terribly well prepared.

anonooo Tue 05-Jan-16 14:57:49

a couple of years off, but I want to let her know that she can talk to me about anything. I try to be open with her now, but I can already see the barriers coming down. I guess at least teens now can find out info online, in ways that were not available to me.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Tue 05-Jan-16 15:22:24

DD is only 6 but I am just very matter of fact with her, when she asks what tampons are in the bathroom or whatnot.

Hopefully we won't need to have much of a 'talk' as she'll have assimilated a short lifetime of normalising and useful information.

To only find out about these things for the 1st time as a young adolescent must be very shocking.

CopperPan Tue 05-Jan-16 15:48:59

My mum wasn't really that helpful as she came from a very traditional background and didn't talk much about puberty or sex at all. But I learned a lot from magazines and health books rather than playground gossip.

I gave DD a book called What's Happening to My Body which helped to introduce the subject to her, and we've always been fairly matter of fact about body issues anyway.

turkeyboots Tue 05-Jan-16 16:00:10

I could use some top tips myself. I've always been fairly open about periods so hopefully that will help. DD (age 9) and I read a "what's happening to me" book together a few months ago, and I have no idea how much went in. But she has now hidden the book behind her dresser. So slightly worried I messed it up!

sleepyMe12 Tue 05-Jan-16 16:38:38

I'm a fair way off from having to have this talk but I'm a firm believer in being open and honest like my mum was with me.
Never really had to have a talk as such but when I had any questions my mum explained in an age appropriate way as possible.

ealingwestmum Tue 05-Jan-16 16:50:21

Direct approach taken here with DD, now in Y7 (age 12). I started when I was 9, my mum was 8 so we had the talk (first one) early, just in case. Bought her the Usborne's Facts of Life, Growing Up book at 9, which she also regularly hid in the early years! However, dipped in and out of the book as she recognised the changes in herself. It has now found a home on her book shelf smile

She knows where her starter pack is kept at home, but still refuses to take anything to school. DD is also a club swimmer (6 x week) and knows that she'll need to face tampons head-on, though I have not gone into any details with her yet on how. And she knows she won't be alone, as all of the girls in her club will be/are in the same position, unlike being at school where girls can opt out of swimming classes if needed.

Even now at this age, it's not something the girls talk about at senior school. When I ask her if she knows if anyone's started yet, she says they don't talk about that kind of stuff. Which I somehow find slightly reassuring...especially when they change so quickly in other areas in Y7!

Thankfully she is proactive in talking to me about her body hair, mood swings and body changes and has been removing her underarm hair for last 9 months (salon, my recommendation) to make things easier for her vs home shaving/creams etc as she virtually lives in a swimming pool.

She knows her first period is imminent, is apprehensive (and resigned to the eventuality) but also as mentally prepared as I think a 12 year old can be.

Fingers crossed the preparation will have been of use to her...time will tell!

Millipedewithherfeetup Tue 05-Jan-16 16:53:44

I never went for the "lets sit down and talk about periods" instead I mentioned hormones, growing up and periods in general conversations for a couple of years really say from about 11 ish, nothing major, was very consious of letting her know that this was perfectly normal and nothing at all to be scared of, my own mum never did this for me, I was so scared/worried/embarrassed to say anything, had no clue whatsoever what to do. I wanted my daughter to to feel able to come to me to discuss anything really. Her first period was very calm for her ! Thank goodness, discussed pads as well as tampons and let her make her own choices.

0dfod Tue 05-Jan-16 16:57:58

I found it helped my dd by being very matter of fact, she grew up knowing that the womb or she called it woman's room, like a bed needs 'clean sheets' aka womb lining and so the womb once a month cleans it self ready for a possible baby.

Obviously this was when she was small, now aged 13 she has her periods. Last year we celebrated when she started with a bonfire on the beach and food cooked on it, a small heirloom gift (siver braclet) and my female friends and family members offered her words of wisdom.

She was not shy, her younger brothers, ds (then 9) and dss (then 6) and dp helped with celebrating her first step to womanhood.

When the boys are older and are on their first steps to manhood we will do a similar acknowledgment.

Bodily functions should not be embarassing!

thisismypassword Tue 05-Jan-16 17:00:05

Well my daughter insists on following me to the bathroom even when I'm on my period. If she asks what it is I'll tell her, but I think at her age the concept will be too difficult. There's no way I'd hide anything like this from either of my daughters because I don't want them to feel abnormal! My mother sent me abroad on my first school trip when I was 11 with a load of sanitary towels just in case!!

mumsbe Tue 05-Jan-16 18:11:50

I always have age apropriate chats with my daughter. I was not given any information from my parents but had a chat from the school, this must have helped because it didnt bother me when I started my periods. I didnt even mention it at home.
I will make sure I give my daughter plenty of advice because I had an awful time when I got a bit older and had very heavy periods.

Grumpyoldblonde Tue 05-Jan-16 18:19:04

My daughter (11) and I have a very open relationship. I think we started talking about periods when she was in year 4 so she would have been 8 or 9. She asked me what about the contents of the bathroom drawer which contained tampons and pads and the conversation grew naturally where I told her roughly what happens. Since then we have talked more and I am confident she has a good idea of what to expect. She knows stained knickers can be binned and replaced and we keep a good stash of sanitary protection in easy reach. We are much more open than I was with my mum. I don't think it will be long before she starts now, I hope she gets in the swing of it easily (I was staying with a friend my first time, started overnight and woke up to a literal bloodbath- horrendous experience)

EasterRobin Tue 05-Jan-16 18:52:57

My mum used books, leaflets and magazine articles as a starting point for discussions about body changes. She even said she leant some things from them herself :-)

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 05-Jan-16 19:30:52

We have always had a pretty good dialogue. Both DDs will ask me just about anything and I try to answer as honestly (within age appropriate limitations) as I can. By the time DD1 started her periods (age 10, much younger than when I started so it's worth telling them early) she had a well stocked cupboard in the bathroom and the information she needed to cope.

sweetkitty Tue 05-Jan-16 19:40:44

I have an11 1/2 year old and an almost 10 year old. We are very open and honest. Just this morning DD1 asked why I was taking tablets, this one is a vitamin and this one is to stop me getting pregnant it's called a contraceptive and it stops me having periods. She asks what age I was when I started mine and that she'd rather be later as she does a lot of sports.

I bought the What's happening to me book and both DD1 and 2 have read it.

Bluelilies Tue 05-Jan-16 19:44:13

I've always had a very open relationship with my DD and gave her the Usbourne book on growing up when she was 9 or 10, which she devoured before coming back with questions on. She doesn't like to look stupid in front of people so has realised it's better to ask me things she doesn't understand.

The one thing I forgot to tell her was that it was OK to talk to her dad too (we're separated) She started her first period when camping with her dad and managed with tissues for 3 days because it didn't cross her mind that her dad would be perfectly able to but sanitary towels in a shop for her sad

WheresTheCoffee Tue 05-Jan-16 20:41:01

Periods etc were largely taboo whilst I grew up, I will have a more open conversations with my girl when she grows up!

borntobequiet Tue 05-Jan-16 20:52:51

Given that many girls start their periods well before their teens, you should reconsider the title of your thread.

jaykay34 Tue 05-Jan-16 21:16:35

My own experience was particularly cringey so I always vowed my daughter would never feel the same levels of awkwardness as I did. My mum is rather twee and lovely - and told me about periods a few months before I started. She basically seemed very shy and embarrassed, gave them the pet name of "pyramids" 😯 and gave me some huge sanitary towels in a huge make up bag - so I could hide and disguise them in my school bag. I actually remember starting my periods on April Fools Day and telling my mum "I've started my pyramids" and then having to disguise the huge make up bag in another bag in my school bag. Even changing my sanitary towel at school was a mission and I would wait until there was no one in the toilet so I could then go through the rigmarole of the rustling and unzipping of the multi bags !

So, I have always been really open and cool to my twins boy and girl. If they asked what something was I told them - ie sanitary towels, contraceptive pill, why I shaved my arm pits.

In year 6, the twins had their official sex-ed class. I knew it was coming up so said we would chat further about it after school. Son came home happy and chatty - amused that he had touched a tampon and a condom. My daughter was mortified and handed me a Jacqueline Wilson-esque note (attached to this post) and scurried upstairs. Basically the thought of periods had become real and inevitable to her and the realities of a tampon horrified her. I decided not to push the issue and take her lead as she knew the facts (and had for some time) - she just had to come to terms with it all.
Shortly after, she started to grow underarm hair, which she wanted removed, and she also wanted to shave her legs. This allowed us to revisit the puberty subject, and she told me that some of her friends had started their periods and had shown her some sanitary towels in pretty wrappers. So we went out and bought some and she dedicated a drawer to her little collection.
I did find, that when she started secondary school - she became a lot more open and periods became a more "cool" thing.
She finally started a couple of months ago (shes nearly 13 and the last to start in her group of friends). She came downstairs and told me really matter of factly "Mum, I've started my periods...I've sorted myself out...I've got enough towels for school...now don't say anything embarrassing".

I guess some situations, however you broach them, are a little awkward -especially when they relate to you. Just after the sex ed, I had to announce to the twins I was pregnant which was met with "Ewwww...that means you've had sex twice !" , and "why weren't you taking those pills ?" So my daughter was fine about talking about issues that affected me, but flustered about the changed in her own body.
She will probably remember the sex education at school in the same way I remember the "pyramids" chat - and vow things will be different with her own daughters !

sharond101 Tue 05-Jan-16 21:53:49

I heard horror stories at school before my Mum had explained anything to me and was terrified so although I am far away from this conversation at the moment I plan on doing it in an open and honest way as early as my Daughter understands and will not be fearful. A book is a good idea.

gleegeek Tue 05-Jan-16 23:36:58

We've got a few growing up/my body books which have been on dd's (12) shelf for a few years. I know she's read them but has never talked about them with me. She is such a private girl, I fully expect her to start her periods and not mention it! She has bathed alone since she was 9, so I have no idea if she has hair anywhere... I had the talk with her in year 5 (was over in 5 mins as she shooed me out of the room!) Tried again before year 6 sec ed, no luck. Tried again when they did reproduction in year 7 and got nowhere! I talk freely about having my period, must buy sanitary towels etc but no interest. I've bought supplies, put them in the bathroom and will see what happens!

voyager50 Tue 05-Jan-16 23:37:49

I remember reading the Judy Bloom book 'Are you there God, it's me Margaret' - it may be dated now but I think it is still a good one to give a young girl to read before she starts her periods.

SisterMoonshine Wed 06-Jan-16 00:10:59

I've been matter of factly drip feeding DD information since she was about 3 or 4.
Much better than a big talk later.

Makemineacabsauv Wed 06-Jan-16 01:30:14

She is 12, when she was 10 I bought her the book 'what is happening to me' but she said it was disgusting and would t talk about it for months. Then we used the book but she refused to look at the procreation pages. Just before 'the talk' at school the book came out again and we talked about periods. After 'the talk' (when she agreed) we bought some teen pads and made a wee make up bag up for her school bag with spare pants, some towels, mini pack of wipes. Then I found sanitary towels stuck all over her floor and walls after a sleepover... Hmmmm.. Now it seems periods are imminent as she is getting very stroppy (even more than normal) every 3-5 weeks and the make up bag has come out. She won't talk to me about it again but at least I know she knows what she needs to and she is prepared as much as she can be. Hate seeing her go through it though...

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