Talking to your Teen about periods
Diss period myths and teach your teen about body empowerment and positive period choices
When your teen (or pre-teen!) is nearing puberty and waiting for their hormones to mature, it can be a pretty scary time for them, even if they don’t admit it. It’s all a bit unknown so of course they may be worrying. Periods can start as early as 8 years old right up to early teens so it’s never too early to start chatting to your child about it, even if they don’t have them. It’s important for all genders to know about menstruation to help them get a sense of how our bodies work and understand both how themselves and others may be feeling during a menstrual cycle, from mood swings to period pains.
The best way to start a conversation with your teen is to keep it simple and remain open and approachable so they are comfortable coming to you with any questions or problems that they experience. Doing a bit of reminiscing or swotting up on typical period faux-pas might be an idea so that you can confidently talk about how their period is likely to begin and what to expect when their mind and bodies are going through change. Regardless of gender it’s important that your teen knows about puberty to keep an open mind and to encourage body positivity for themselves and for their peers.
It’s all in the mindset:
With gossip and jokes a common factor of the playground, and now on social media too, teens nearing or just starting their periods can feel the fear and be a little confused as to what is right or wrong when it comes to periods and period products. It’s your job to give them the facts alongside the different period protection options available today and empower them to make informed choices that suit them, not their best friend or the person who sits next to them in class. Periods are nothing to be ashamed of and so making sure your teen realises this, is important. Once your teen grasps that mindset, they will be ready to start their period with pride and be compassionate towards others too.
Dissing the myths:
Period hygiene is important and something that teens may worry about. The smell, keeping and feeling clean or having enough pads to last their period due to cost restrictions are all valid concerns and something that you’ve maybe even thought about as a parent too. Add in reusable sanitary pads which are stigmatised for being unclean and uncomfortable, and there are more question marks for people on their periods. Reusable sanitary pads are actually better for sensitive genital areas as there are no irritating chemicals so can leave wearers feeling fresher and more comfortable throughout their cycle. On another note, finding sanitary bins in some toilets, especially male toilets, is pretty difficult even in today’s society, so reusable period pads are actually a bit of a life saver for people who are transgender or identify as non-binary in particular. Just pop the used pad in the waterproof Out & About bag and go! It fits perfectly in your pocket or satchel without the stress and worry of trying to ditch a disposable in a public bin. There are many other period myths that have popped up over the last few centuries; way too many to list, but if you fancy a bit of light reading then click here. There is also a good teen resource here if you want to forward on for them to read too.
Menstrual cycles can be irregular and even once they settle down, everyone’s ‘regular’ cycle is different. Without giving them the fear, it’s worth mentioning that there may be an occasion where they are caught short so it’s an idea to carry some period protection with them if their period pops up unexpectedly. Your teen may not have the funds to invest in period products, so it’s worth you doing a little mini shop for them with all the things they might need, including a big box of tissues and that much needed bar of chocolate they may crave during their cycle! Bloom & Nora mini pads in a discreet Out & About bag are perfect for keeping in their bag, or even in their pocket for emergencies away from the house. They do have a higher upfront cost than a pack of disposable pads, but they will pay for themselves in the long run as you buy once and it will last them for around 10 years, when they will hopefully be in a position to buy their own! State schools in England are eligible for free sanitary pads, which include Bloom & Nora, so worth speaking to the school to try some reusables without putting your hand in your purse/wallet!
Choosing period products:
Nowadays period products vary in size, material and type; from menstrual cups to period pants. Rewind to when you were at school, and sex education teachers showcased a simple selection of tampons in plastic packaging, sanitary pads as thick as a door stop and then sent you on your way with a couple for when your first period came. Thankfully, most school education today is a lot more informative and inclusive to different situations and parents are more open to chatting to their children about their bodies and making sure that they’re happy and healthy. That’s why you’re online looking to prepare your teen for their periods!
Reusable sanitary pads are the easiest and least scary reusable option for teens and are nothing like the pads you or your parents used. They are well made with high quality fabrics, much more discreet, much more absorbent than disposables and can save you money throughout your teens period days. Plus, they’ll never be caught short as you just rinse, wash and reuse! Chances are, your teen will already be aware of the environmental benefits, so a little introduction and empowerment from mum or dad can get them started with reusables in comfort and in style. Pick up a little triple pack for your teen today and get chatting about positive periods sooner rather than later.