daughter started her periods before I could talk
to her about it. I felt really bad when she came
home crying….and here I had been waiting for
the right time.
- Mother of a 13 year old
I did not know anything…when I was in
class five. I started bleeding from there when I
was in school one day. I was so scared…my
mother was also not home…she was away for
two days. I told no one, only kept changing my panties…when
my mother came back, I did not tell her either….
- An 11 year old.
The first thumb rule one can safely go by is that
no time is too soon to begin talking about the physical
and psychological changes your daughter will begin
experiencing as an adolescent. It is very likely
that it will be your daughter, who may initiate
this conversation about
growing up and menstruation, which you have been
planning, but keep
putting it off for a better time. Therefore, any
time she chooses to talk is a good time for the
'big talk'. Being guided by your daughter's questions
is perhaps the best roadmap for every mother. She
will be a willing ear, interested and eager, and
the fact that she has approached you, signals that
you have her trust. One should make the most of
such an opportunity.
On the other hand, if your daughter has already
turned eight, and not yet evinced any curiosity,
nor asked any leading questions, it is time you
sat her down and had the talk. She may be shy or
afraid to ask, or she may just not be as curious
as her peers.
Most mothers we talked to, opine that a girl must
be informed of menstruation when she is about 8
or 9 years, before she experiences menarche or the
first period. The onset of menstruation occurring
at an early age of 9 is not uncommon these days,
and therefore most mothers feel the need to start
talking about menstruation earlier than the 12th
or 13th year, which has been hitherto the norm.
I know I must talk to her soon, but how do I
start? Won't she feel awkward and embarrassed?
- Mother of an 8 year old
If you ask me, I'd want her to keep her innocence
till she is 12, but I
think she already knows…keeps throwing these
pointed questions at me?
- Mother of a 9 year old
There are still many mothers who hesitate to discuss
menstruation at 'so tender an age. They worry as
to how much to tell, what will their little girl
make of all this, will they at all understand anything?
These questions posed by mothers are relevant even
to tweens and teens.
The second thumb rule one must follow is that never
ignore a question, especially brushing it aside
with, ”you will know when you grow up”.
If you do think the moment is inappropriate, tell
her you will explain later, and please ensure that
you do so. Children are quick to discern if there
is unwillingness to share, which may diminish their
interest or even your credibility, making them seek
this vital information elsewhere.
It is important to be open with your child from
the very first question, to be honest, to state
the facts as simply and accurately as possible,
in a straightforward, positive manner. Also, children
these days being highly aware minimizes the risk
of any mother shocking or negatively impacting her
child by talking about menstruation. She needs to
be informed about the facts, why it happens and
how best to manage the occurrence. Your daughter
will also need to be reassured that menstruation
is a normal, natural phase that every girl goes
Finally, it should be the endeavour of every parent
to ensure that their daughter is aware and appropriately
informed of menstruation before she experiences
it. Feelings of shock, fear, of being dirty or different,
sometimes even feelings of guilt can be avoided
by a timely conversation.