Dads and Daughters: Embracing the “Period Talk”
Menarche (noun): the first occurrence of menstruation
The onset of a young woman’s menstrual cycle comes with a whole host of emotions: fear, pride, exhilaration, uncertainty, relief, confusion, shame. Responsibly preparing girls for this milestone can reduce confusion and uncertainty, thereby shaping menarche into a positive experience. For many girls, it may bring comfort to learn about menstruation from their mothers, older sisters, aunts, or other trusted female figures, as these women can share directly from their own experiences and answer questions based on such experiences.
However, for many households including those of single parents or same-sex marriages, daughters may rely solely on their fathers for the “Period Talk.” Credible third-party resources can be a critical tool for any parent, but in cases where fathers alone broach this topic with their child, such resources can be even more vital. Listen up, dads, because we need you on our side, and your daughters are counting on you!
Learn about the symptoms.
Learn about the products.
Learn about the appropriate language.
Even in households in which a mother or trusted female figure gives the “Period Talk,” fathers should still learn about menstruation and treat the topic with love, care, and perhaps most important, dignity. Your daughters are watching you. While they shape their perceptions of their own changing bodies, they’re gauging your feelings, responses, and behaviors. If you change the channel during every tampon commercial or cringe walking by the feminine hygiene section of a store, your daughter may interpret periods to be shameful or gross. In contrast, if you ask how she’s feeling, willingly and unreluctantly purchase products she needs, and answer her questions (even if that means getting back to her after doing some research), your daughter will learn to understand and appreciate her body.
Lastly, remember your sons when working to empower your daughters. We encourage you to have conversations with boys about periods to help lift the veil of confusion, expand understanding, and instill greater respect for women’s bodies.
Dads, you can be valuable allies in our quest to challenge the stigma around menstruation and expand product and education accessibility. You’re not alone, and we’re rooting for you!
By: Aanee Nichols