Having a daughter is rewarding – sweet tea parties and lunches, taking her on her first pony ride and daddy daughter dates. Having a daughter means… eventually she will become a, “woman” – in the traditional sense of starting menstruation.
Chatting about periods can be a difficult conversation to have, especially if you don’t experience them yourself. Obviously, every dad is different – but many don’t know enough about periods to feel confident about having ‘the chat’ with their kids. Yes, we said it, kids. Both genders should get an education on menstruation.
4 out of 10 dads never learnt about periods in school and only 41% of dads are comfortable talking to their kids about it. Only 19.5% of dads were comfortable talking to their daughters about it. One in three dads have never bought any sanitary products. But don’t worry, we are here to give you the 411 on periods, dads.
Roughly every month, the female body prepares to have a baby. An egg is released and the womb develops a thick lining with everything a fetus would need to grow. Chances are the egg is not fertilized, so the lining is lost and flows out of the body as a period. Hence, menstruation.
Dads, please understand every woman is different. Periods can be heavy or light, short or long, very painful or fairly easy. Periods last for about 3-7 days. The average ages for when menstruation occurs is 12 to 50. Periods can be quite irregular in teenagers. Your daughter might only develop stability in her cycle once later on.
Are you looking for moments to have the chat with your kids? There is no such thing as a perfect moment. Telling your kids about it from an early age is good, despite what everyone else says. Here’s a tip, if you’re buying sanitary products for your partner and the kids are with, discuss it, watching a movie that has a period reference in it? Talk about it. You don’t have to go into detail every time, just be repetitive with it, so it becomes normalized.
When having the talk make sure to mention 3 very import things to your daughters:
- Periods are perfectly normal, almost all woman get it in their lifetime.
- Speak up, periods should be normalized and not hidden. It is part of life.
- Get help, if you are in pain, don’t feel ashamed to talk about and see a doctor.
Having the talk with your sons should go as follows:
- Periods are not gross. Without periods, you wouldn’t have been here today.
- Do not tease females for having periods as they are normal.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more questions the better, educate yourself.
Talking to your non-binary kids about periods:
Kids that do not refer to themselves by a socialized version of gender, may struggle with the biological gender when puberty hits, which could be scary, so here are some tips:
- Make sure they know they are not alone and many people have gone through the same thing.
- If you need help, please speak up.
- Be yourself, periods don’t define you.
- If you do not feel like periods are part of who you should be, find the strength to talk about it too.
Signs you might notice:
- Growing taller
- Breasts begin to grow
- Changing body shape
- Underarm hair
- Mood swings
Signs you won’t notice unless she tells you:
- Pubic hair
Being prepared is a big thing. How do you as a dad stay prepared when it comes to periods? Here’s how; stock up and buy enough sanitary products, have a period friendly bathroom, this means having a small bin in the bathroom, make her a starter kit with all the necessary supplies such as pads, an extra pair of underwear, pain meds, etc.
Be a supportive dad when your daughter is menstruating. You are still her dad, nothing has to change once she welcomed into womanhood. Come on dads let’s get this bloody conversation flowing!