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Menstruation is a major source of curiosity for girls, and you can be asked about it when your daughter is 8 or 9 years. Chances are high that the topic may arise when your daughter comes across the TV ads that are seen daily, or if she comes across sanitary napkins at home or she hears the word being spoken and is simply curious. Most girls are able to sense that this is relevant to themselves, and often become obsessed with this new knowledge, often worried to distraction wanting to know what, why, how? She may approach the subject very furtively, as though it was something dirty and wrong. It is not surprising that children pick up vibes that topics such as menstruation and sex are taboo, the primary reason being that most of us continue to be tentative and secretive about it.

If not informed about it at home, they invariably learn about it in school, or while playing with friends. The nuggets of information they acquire from their peers are hardly ever complete, or even accurate. There are innumerable questions and doubts that need clarification. If your daughter is helped to understand the facts, especially before she begins to menstruate, she will be better equipped to deal with the transition, physically and emotionally.

On the other hand, girls who begin to menstruate without being forewarned, which is not uncommon, may react very badly. Being alarmed by seeing blood, they may think they have hurt themselves or are seriously ill, and may even grow up to feel diffident about themselves and their sexuality, which in turn can affect their future relationships. The foremost need is to reassure this child that menstruation is natural and normal.

Though every mother is aware of what one has to go through, it may help to revisit the facts enabling one to confidently explain the process in a structured manner. The way your daughter copes with this new event in her life, either with confidence or with embarrassment, will depend a great deal on how and what she learns about it. Further, talking about menstruation with your daughter may also be the first step towards talking to her about other adolescent sexual issues, which most mothers, understandably, find difficult to talk about.