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Preteens

DD refusing to use sanitary towels. Help.

43 replies

Tippytree · 07/09/2015 12:05

DD has just turned 11. She's a very clever, quite intense and private girl. A few months ago I began to suspect she had started her periods because suddenly more than half of her knickers disappeared within a few days. I then found several wads of toilet with heavy brown spotting on them.

I casually asked if she had started her periods and she denied it. I was a bit nonplussed and couldn't think what else to say.

The same thing happened a few weeks later. She virtually had no knickers, and then I found a pair stuffed behind something and they were heavily stained with blood. I casually asked her again. She again denied it and was really surly.

I calmly mentioned the stained knickers I'd found, she insisted they weren't hers ( they were). Again I was nonplussed. In the end I showed her where I keep the packs of sanitary towels (have 16 year DD) and told her to help herself 'if' she needed them at anytime.

Since then she has sometimes used them. But she's still clearly throwing away stained knickers and sometimes uses wadded toilet roll. She also refuses to carry any STs in her school just in case.



I just don'tdon't get it at all. I always keep plenty of supplies of STs in. I have never got cross at her and infact have been very low key because I know she's very private about such things. I bought her a discrete little bag to keep spare STs in, in her school bag. I have even bought her black pants to wear when she's on, so they won't show any staining so much.

I don't know what else to do? I can't keep buying packs of new knickers every month and I worry that she might get caught out at school.

Any advice very welcome. She will not talk to her older sister about it either, so there's no point suggesting that. Older DD was fine about using STs from the start by the way.

OP posts:
bishboschone · 07/09/2015 18:02

My dd is 11 and I feel this will be her too. She doesn't want to grow up and go through puberty . I've bought her vests to go under her shirt as she has just started secondary school.. I started at 11 and it was awful , I couldn't cope and I still hate them now so I'm hoping she will be older . I've tried talking to her but she just says she knows and brushes me off .

shovetheholly · 07/09/2015 18:11

I second the idea of providing cash so she can get her own. If she's private and independent, why not turn that into a plus?

I wonder if you can enlist the help of your older daughter too? And also whether it might help to start a culture of being a bit more open about it in the house, e.g. not hiding sanitary towels/tampons away in a cupboard as if they were something shameful, but having them out in a basket and within easy reach on the side. It might help to send the message that it's a normal, natural part of most women's lives from puberty to the menopause, and not something she needs to be ashamed of. You could even add some of those metal boxes that are used to carry them if she's embarrassed about having loose towels in her bag.

RachelZoe · 07/09/2015 18:13

I was a bit like this but it was because my mother made SUCH a big deal of it and I just wanted some tampons (which I wasn't "allowed") and to get on with it. That doesn't sound like what is happening here, it sounds like you're being as calm and chilled as possible.


Maybe if she has a thing about "people knowing" shes having her period or it being a collective thing (if her sister and you are both using the normal stock), you could buy her a good stock of pads and tampons and have her keep them in her room? I know that sounds odd but maybe she would feel more private having a good hoard of her own products to use?


Sorry you're going through this, sounds very challenging. Flowers

shovetheholly · 07/09/2015 18:13

(Sorry, didn't mean to imply that you weren't giving that message that it's normal - just that there can be a supportive verbal message (and you sound very supportive), combined with a kind of furtive spatial behaviour about the actual towels that I can see might feel a bit contradictory to a young girl).

JustDanceAddict · 07/09/2015 18:13

My dd has just started at 13 and was ready, but I think if she'd started at 11 she would've been freaked out even though we talked about it all from a young age. Just give her the options, say you are not going to buy new knickers & you will wash (and she should keep some 'period' knickers in her drawer). I would be firm, but fair at this point as I'd get peed off with buying new undies every month too.

colley · 07/09/2015 18:13

When I had my first period, I hid my pants because I thought I had pooed myself and was mortified. I didn't realise period blood could look brown. Could this be the issue?

RachelZoe · 07/09/2015 18:14

Then obviously she could bring them to the bathroom one by one, not change and dispose of them in her room Blush

WyrdByrd · 07/09/2015 18:15

For the time being I'm inclined to agree with the poster who suggested putting together an assortment of towels/tampons for her to try, wipes, bags, bin and a book on periods/puberty, maybe with a note saying you know this can be confusing and tricky and you're there to talk if she wants to.

I wonder if she's literally just started secondary school it's a wee bit too much to take in on top of dealing with that.

If in a couple months there's no improvement then you will have to take a somewhat harder approach, but hopefully it won't come to that.

insanityscatching · 07/09/2015 18:22

Dd is twelve and has found starting her period quite traumatic tbh. She has ASD but is also intense and very private and would be mortified if any of her brothers or her dad knew.
Like you we have black pants but what I do is put a pad in every pair of black pants as she finds positioning them difficult (she has dyspraxia and sensory issues as well) that way she only has to change her pants (she has a small make up bag that she keeps clean pants in) and she finds it easier to manage.
Could you do similar? Have day to day pants and pads in her black pants and slowly get her to put the pads in herself.

tribpot · 07/09/2015 18:22

Yes, I was going to suggest the same as holly - can your older dd talk to her about it? Any chance you can talk to her friends' mums about how they're dealing with periods, without it getting back to the friends themselves that you've been discussing it?

I'm wondering if there's any way of telling her what it's like if you bleed through your clothes publicly without scarring her for life. Last year I had a really heavy bleed and didn't realise, I was walking down a street in London with a male friend when a rather embarrassed stranger rushed up and told me there was (a lot) of blood on the back of my skirt. I'm so pleased she did as I was wearing a cardigan I could put round my waist (and was staying in a flat with a washer rather than a hotel, phew). The point is, however embarrassing she finds the topic of periods, she will find leaking worse so it's much better to deal with it efficiently - not that she should ever feel ashamed of her periods.

However, I'm not sure how you get that message across to her in a way that won't do more harm than good!

MargaretCabbage · 07/09/2015 18:27

I was like this, I just felt really embarrassed about the whole thing and didn't want anyone to know.

I'd keep a huge stock of different pads/tampons for her, or let her have money to choose her own.

I think the idea of a lidded lined bin in her room is good, I would have loved this as I could have sneaked the rubbish into the main bin myself.

I also didn't like putting my pants in the washing basket to be sorted through, so maybe you could shout out when you're washing underwear and ask if there's any she's forgotten to put in the basket and ask her to put them in the machine before you turn it on.

Nothing would have made me feel less awkward about it at the time, but she will grow out of it.

PlaymobilPirate · 07/09/2015 18:31

Could your 16 year old chat to her about it?

3littlebadgers · 07/09/2015 18:39

I was similar to Colley. My first few periods were not like regular periods, in that they were brown and quite thick (best way I can describe it). I didn't even cross my mind that it might be a period because it wasn't bloody and that is what I was waitng for. So I did the tissue and hiding knickers thing. Maybe she is to admitting to starting her periods becuase in her mind she hasn't, something else is going on?

overthemill · 07/09/2015 18:42

You can get knickers which are designed to absorb the period discharge here. They are only in USA at moment but deliver here. I think they are a fab idea though would take a bit of getting used to and cheaper in the long run and more eco friendly. Moo cups obviously better but she's 11! I totally get how embarrassing it might be and understand her not wanting to talk about it. My dd started at 9 and it was so awful at her school , no facilities, no locks on loo doors - dreadful

BeeBawBabbity · 18/09/2015 15:12

My dd is an intensely private person and was very shy about this too. I found she was happier to talk if we lay in the dark and had a chat (at bedtime).

Also, I had to tell her it was blood, as she thought it was poo because it was brown. Might be worth clearing that up just in case.

TheUnwillingNarcheska · 21/09/2015 10:12

I would tell her leaking through her school skirt mid lesson with an unexpected gush will be far more mortifying.

It happened to a girl in my school who was forever referred to as Period Susan by all the boys. Sad

RhodaBull · 21/09/2015 12:09

Poor Period Susan Sad

With dd I have made a messy mess (not difficult!) of a load of sanitary towel packets in the bathroom. Not squirrelled away, but just strewn around on the surfaces so I'm making the point that it's normal and not something you have to be ashamed of.

Periods are a minefield of embarrassment, though. Remember discussing at a workplace years ago that if someone got up with their bag you might as well have been displaying a sign saying "Period here!" Some of us confessed to going to the loo with towels/tampons stuffed in pockets/up sleeves to try to deflect attention.

Only good point of getting older is that if my knickers fell down in the middle of the high street I couldn't care less. But when you're a tweenager/teenager everything is embarrassing, let alone periods.

Vernonon · 22/09/2015 15:37

Period Susan has made me laugh out loud. Poor poor girl.

Dreading this with dd - and think the point about kids thinking it is poo is so so good to know.

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