a time when both of you and your child are relaxed.
Tell her that you wish to talk about 'growing up',
about how she is changing almost everyday. Ask her
to share how she thinks she is growing and she may
talk about some of the apparent physical changes.
Take the cue, and proceed from external physical
changes like pubic hair growth, development of breasts,
to some internal changes, thereby introducing and
explaining menstruation as a natural, normal phenomena
that every girl experiences, somewhere between 10
- 16 years of age. You can use a book on the human
body, one with good pictures, to explain the process.
Provide her with as much detail as she is able to
handle, and this she will herself indicate. At all
times, try and use the commonly accepted terms for
various body parts and functions.
For instance, for a 6 year old, it will suffice
to say that every month, all older girls and women
bleed a little, from an opening near where they
pee, and that it is completely normal to do so.
A 9 year old will appreciate that it is a monthly
cycle, which occurs at puberty reminding women that
they can have babies if they want to. During these
days, a woman bleeds through her vagina and has
to use some form of protection such as sanitary
pads. Explain to her how sanitary pads are used.
A teenager again, might want to know about menstruation
even in greater detail and must be helped to do
Across all ages, at all times, emphasize that there
is nothing dirty or shameful about having periods.
Reiterate the importance of hygiene and appropriate
protection during these days. Explain to her the
possibility of slight discomfort that she may experience
during her period. Also that every girl is different,
and so is her menstrual pattern. Finally assure
her that you are there to help her when it commences,
and anytime thereafter.
This is just one of the ways in which to approach
the topic. Mothers can surely find ways that they
are comfortable with. And in the event that you
feel that there is no way you can articulate these
topics with your daughter, find an alternative,
trustworthy resource, someone your daughter will
also be comfortable with. One mother we met with
seems to have resolved her dilemma with an effective
No way was I going to be able to talk to my
daughters about sex and menstruation…so I
took them to a counsellor who is a friend and she
explained it all to them. After that, I also referred
to the issue, but not that openly.
- Mother of two teenagers
Many of you mothers will empathize with this lady,
since it is not easy to talk about such intimate
topics, in a society such as ours which discourages
openness while dealing with these issues. However,
times are a changing, and what worked for us may
not be the best for our children. They are bombarded
with information and experiences like we never were
at their age. Therefore, they are in greater need
of parental support, so your involvement as a mother
Your efforts will go a long way in helping your
daughter to cope with the transition and make her
feel good about herself, ready and confident for
the subsequent stages.
Having discussed when to talk about menstruation,
and how to go about explaining it, let's understand
what all has to be conveyed to your little miss.