In India, menstruation has been something of a taboo. Over the years, with the advent of social media, people have become more aware and open about social issues. We see a lot many initiatives these days which aim at eliminating prejudices against social customs and taboos. Periods are one such topic that is still not openly acknowledged in most households.
Although the internet provides our kids with whatever information they require, it is better to talk to them about certain things, first hand, lest the find out in a wrong manner. Most parents leave it for too late to talk about these things with their children and most of the times, children learn about things from their external environment.
Here are a few tips for you to get started -
Timing and Practice
Most girls get their period between the ages of 12 to 13. It is important to talk to them about menstruation way before this so that they have enough time to process the information you give them and to get ready for it. Some parents think that their daughters are too young for ‘the talk’ and eventually realize that it’s too late. Make sure that this does not happen. Also, you need to plan what it is that you exactly plan on telling your children. You don’t want to overwhelm them, but at the same time, you also want to pass on all the crucial information without leaving out important parts.
Keep it positive and open
Don’t make it a huge deal; this may scare off your children even before you have actually gotten started. Keep it informal and conversational. Try to slip in a few things once in a while so that your daughter has a fair amount of information to start with. Periods can be an extremely overwhelming phenomenon, therefore try to be as positive as possible while delivering certain facts to your children. At times, it may be difficult to explain certain things clearly, in such a case; you can visit a nearby library or simply use the internet for understanding things better.
Once you start doling out information, your kids are going to want to know more. They may ask certain stupid questions, but do not lose your patience and answer all of them clearly.
Explaining menstruation after it starts
You don’t just have to talk to your daughters before they get their periods, but also after they have to get them. Just talking about things and actually experiencing them are two very different things. Be calm and comforting; try to make them understand the importance of hygiene. Talk about the physical changes and symptoms that they could experience during their period.
While you’re at it, you may also want to pick up the streak and talk about how menstruation is related to other aspects of life such as pregnancy and birth. It is probably also a good idea to have a sex talk with your children since they are already open to taking in new information. Just make sure that you give them the proper information at the proper time and do not overwhelm them under any circumstances.