Daughter's First Period - Strange Things - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-26-2011, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 11, turning 12 (my only child and I'm a single Mom so I'm completely new to all this) and has started her first period this year. I sat her down, explained what was happening and what was going to happen. I told her to let me know when she has a period and I will give her pads to use.

I notice strange things around the house such as blood being all over the couch. When I ask her if she had an accident, she says no.

I am also finding toilet paper soaked with blood in the garbage can and sometimes bits of blood soaked toilet paper on the bathroom floor.

I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm not sure if she is being lazy about menstrual upkeep or if she is too bashful to ask me for pads or what is going on.

I'm just wondering if any other Moms out there have been through this during their daughter's first year of her period, maybe she is just trying to adjust to what's going on?

To make matters worse, I overreacted about the blood on the couch. I know it was hers but I was shocked and upset that she lied to me about it.

Most importantly, why does she feel like she can't come to me for help? Finding these things around the house is pretty scary so how do I talk to her and what do I do?

Thanks.

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Old 12-26-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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That sounds tough. I would sit her down for another chat- go buy a few boxes of pads and let her keep them in her room. 


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Old 12-26-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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Rather than requiring her to come ask you for products, just keep them stocked up in her bathroom. Get a variety of products, show her where they are, then check up to see what she's running low on.

When my dd's started, I got a huge range of different products and explained that different woman liked different things. I also talked about school, swimming, ect.

If you haven't already bought your dd a good book on puberty, it's time to do so.

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Old 12-26-2011, 07:22 AM
 
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Yeah, i think she is seeking more autonomy over this...i would buy her some Kotex or Luna Pads or whatever and give them to her outright ....then she doesnt have to come tell you if she needs them or not. 


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Old 12-26-2011, 09:20 AM
 
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Girls can be really secretive about this stuff. I had a girl scout troop for a good decade and we saw all sorts of "weird" behavior in this regard. Sometimes, no matter how you try to keep dialogue open and make it a normal "no big deal" thing, girls can be secretive and gross/bizarre in their handling of it. My girlfriend is a labor and delivery nurse and super open about this stuff with her girls and yet her eldest hid the fact she was menstrating for most of a year!

 

I bought DD her own things when she was 12. As it turns out, she was almost 14 before she started. She did tell me that first time but she's been pretty secretive since. I just buy her stuff when I buy my own stuff. 

 

Get DD her own things to keep in her own place. Don't put her in the position of asking you for pads or she will continue to try to handle it with toilet paper and such. I know you admitted to the over-reaction on the couch but just work on not making a big deal of those things... even if she lies about it. That first year can be really caotic and nerve-wracking and filled with a ridiculous amount of shame in some girls.

 

 


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Old 12-26-2011, 09:30 AM
 
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Also, if you haven't already, teach her how to clean up blood stains. Explain that hot water only makes it worse, so she should only use cold water. I keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide for each bathroom and in the laundry room because I find that's most effective. If you like, you can incorporate the lesson into a routine lesson on laundry and housekeeping. 

 

I also think it's fairly common for girls to protect their privacy at that age. I, too, would respect her need for privacy and autonomy. 

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Old 12-26-2011, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Also, if you haven't already, teach her how to clean up blood stains. Explain that hot water only makes it worse, so she should only use cold water. I keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide for each bathroom and in the laundry room because I find that's most effective. If you like, you can incorporate the lesson into a routine lesson on laundry and housekeeping. 

 

I also think it's fairly common for girls to protect their privacy at that age. I, too, would respect her need for privacy and autonomy. 



Also, "Bac-out" from biokleen works wonders!  I put it in a spray bottle, then I can spritz the stain and leave it.  It takes awhile to work, but it has been a miracle worker for us.  After dd3s birth, the peroxide got most stuff out, but not all.  That was the first time we used bac out.  Since then, it has gotten grody milk out of carpet (discovered just by the lovely smell), huckleberries out of shorts (my dd sat in a pile), and countless other "biological stains".  

 

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:27 PM
 
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If you only had this kind of talk when she turned 11 and was close to starting, you may well have sent her the message that this is an embarrassing topic for you, and therefore should also be for her. Something we really shouldn't talk about. That's something you may want to reverse - you really don't want her thinking that her reproductive life is something to be ashamed of.

 

*Personally*, I would not just go out and buy her pads. That is something she should have a say in. If I were in your shoes, I'd likely do a bit of research into what is out there for her to use (i.e. what I would use and what my daughter might prefer could be quite different) and then make a date with her. Go out to lunch, shop for some more "big girl" underwear, and some sanitary products. Let her know that you got off on the wrong foot and sent her the wrong message. That this is a normal part of growing up and becoming a woman. And, above all, that she should never be embarrassed to come to you about this or related issues. You've BTDT, and you can help her navigate through. She may be uncomfortable shopping for sanitary products where she could run into friends from school, so consider going somewhere a bit further afield so that's not an issue. If she's unsure, let her know that it's okay to try different products until she finds what works best for her. And that it may not be what you use. This is a completely individual choice.

 

My Mom is Old World, and a "good girl" used bulky pads with a belt, and suffered through her "monthlies." This was back in the day when they were first coming out with self-stick pads, thinner pads, etc. Mom knew nothing about them. Let's not even talk about tampons. "Good girls" did not use tampons. Needless to say, she wasn't someone I was too keen on talking to about personal issues. But I didn't want that for my daughter. Female health and reproduction have always been open topics here. LOL As a single Mom to a son, so has male health and reproduction (yep, that took some research, reading, education on my part!). At 17 & 20? They are both comfortable coming to me wit this stuff. As are my daughter's friends.

 

I encourage the latter to talk to their Moms, because *I* would hate to find out that my daughter wasn't comfortable talking to me. But I also won't turn my back on a kid who couldn't talk to his/her parent. Very many can't. You don't want that.

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies. I can rest well now that I was probably freaking out for nothing.

 

I did have a talk with her.

 

First, I told her that our relationship was important to me and then asked her about the toliet paper in the trash. She says "I thought that is what you are supposed to do with them" LOL. Bless her heart. She got that from me telling her never to throw pads in the toliet.

 

However, she didn't tell me she needed a pad. I asked why and she said it only happened for a day and didn't bother with asking me.

 

That tells me that maybe I do need to put them out for her and that this is just a privacy issue.

 

By the way, I wanted her to tell me mainly so we can mark it on the calendar to keep track to get an indicator when the next will arrive. But I guess if it's really a big deal, I'll just let her mark it herself. I guess I thought she would need my help more than what I thought. I'm used to having to hold her hand through everything and suddenly it's like she doesn't need my help with this. It's just hard to swallow - something new to me.

 

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If you only had this kind of talk when she turned 11 and was close to starting, you may well have sent her the message that this is an embarrassing topic for you, and therefore should also be for her.

 


I didn't just start these talks when she turned 11, actually been having these talks a couple of years now. I was just elaborating that I did have the talks so I was surprised to see her sneaking around with clean up and not asking me for pads. I think she is going to be embarrassed about it no matter what I say. Maybe saying it once is enough and it's probably just time to let her handle something like this on her own. I mean...it's not too complicated...more like a learning process and I'm assuming everyone just adjusts to their own preferences.

 

Strange, this seems to be an adjustment phase for us both, her wanting more and more privacy. Me having to respect her privacy as my little girl grows up. :( Depressing.

 

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Old 12-27-2011, 12:28 AM
 
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I was uncomfortable about this as a young girl because my mom never talked to me about it. She went through menopause after chemo at 32, so she had my older sister talk to me AFTER I started my period. That was awkward. I was pretty shy, and she made me ask when I needed pads or liners. I ended up trying to use toilet paper, would take some from my step mom when I was at my dad's house, etc. I ended up leaking onto my clothes a lot, and it felt so shameful. Eventually I got the nerve to tell her I needed to buy some tampons and liners, but only after a friend helped me work up the courage.

I'd probably talk to her about the options now that the room for conversation is there. She could look at the different styles of sanitary products online if that is more comfortable, and then you (or both of you, if she's comfortable) could make a trip out to get some. I'd get a few different styles of pads, liners, and tampons for her to try. Check once a month or so to see if she needs more, and just add them to the shopping list. She may not feel comfortable asking for more for awhile, and that is pretty normal. Kudos to you for talking to her and trying to make this as easy as possible for her.

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Old 12-27-2011, 12:48 AM
 
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I didn't just start these talks when she turned 11, actually been having these talks a couple of years now. I was just elaborating that I did have the talks so I was surprised to see her sneaking around with clean up and not asking me for pads. I think she is going to be embarrassed about it no matter what I say. Maybe saying it once is enough and it's probably just time to let her handle something like this on her own. I mean...it's not too complicated...more like a learning process and I'm assuming everyone just adjusts to their own preferences.

 

 


You know, it's really easy to say things like "if only you had the talk earlier" type thing. Fact is, kids are different and will have their own reactions. You never really know what is the "right" way to handle it with any individual. DD and I had plenty of talks about reproduction when she started asking at like 3. By 8, she pretty much knew it all. By 12, she'd had several friends who had started and had been through the school nurse program twice. I thought taking her to the store the next town over to pick out items was a GREAT idea. Nope. DD was totally stressed out, started crying in the aisle and to make matters worse, a girl from school came down the aisle right in the middle of it all. It set back our discussions for a good year. I'm really grateful that her period didn't start then because I suspect she would have gone underground with it. Like I said, she still doesn't really want me to talk about it despite the fact she feels safe talking to me about much heftier topics. 

 

Don't feel bad. Few modern moms are really so antiquated in their approach as our mother's generation (and my own wasn't weird about it at all and I STILL didn't really want her involved in it.) Some girls don't think twice about it and will let the world know. Others just want it to be private which is totally fine too. Our kids aren't born blank slates. Some reactions they just own no matter what environment they were raised in.

 


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Old 12-27-2011, 01:03 AM
 
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Given the way the original post was phrased, it was not an off teh wall interpretation that OP had not had a/several discussion/s earlier, and that is what I based by response on. I'm going to leave it at that, since I have no experience with a girl getting that emotional about a fact of life.

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Old 12-27-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kpax View Post

 

By the way, I wanted her to tell me mainly so we can mark it on the calendar to keep track to get an indicator when the next will arrive. But I guess if it's really a big deal, I'll just let her mark it herself. I guess I thought she would need my help more than what I thought.


 

yikes2.gif  Few girls this age would want their period marked on a calendar. It's mortifying. I think you are off in your expectations of her emotions. Also, you are off in your expectations of her body -- many, many teen girls have irregular periods. Settling down into a nice routine happens for most women the closer they get to 20. Just like during perimenopause when our cycle can by unpredictable, it may be unpredictable for her for the next few years.

 


 

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If you only had this kind of talk when she turned 11 and was close to starting, you may well have sent her the message that this is an embarrassing topic for you, and therefore should also be for her. .....

 

*Personally*, I would not just go out and buy her pads. That is something she should have a say in. If I were in your shoes, I'd likely do a bit of research into what is out there for her to use (i.e. what I would use and what my daughter might prefer could be quite different) and then make a date with her. Go out to lunch, shop for some more "big girl" underwear, and some sanitary products.....


 

although I usually agree with your posts, I think you are way off. Some kids find this a difficult transition no matter how ideal their parent(s) have been in preparing them for it. Some kids breeze through, some don't. Some times it's about them, and sometimes it's not. Blaming the parent for the status quo is seldom helpful in figuring out how to move forward.

 

Neither of my DDs would have wanted to shop for products at that stage. And what in the world would they be going by to making a choice other than packaging? I bought a selection of products for them to try and then talked to them later about what they liked and wanted more of. FAR less embarrassing that standing in the middle of walmart having a conversation and seeking an opinion from them on a subject they don't know anything about.

 

 

One re-occurring theme I see in this thread is a lack of respect for an adolescent girl's need for privacy. I think the real question is how do we help and support them with the transition while respecting that very, very real need for privacy.


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Old 12-27-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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I got my first period at ten and was horrified. I can't tell you how many times I had to leave school cause I had bled thru. It was awful.

My mom had to tell me I had my period by finding blood in my underwear. Gross. Weird. Awful.

I never would have wanted to go on a pad shopping day. Hell no. Never.  Yuck. I still don't like to buy them really I mean I do of course but not my favorite thing in the world to do.

 


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Old 12-27-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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My mother insisted we tell her when we were menstruating, so that she would know everything was "ok" (what that meant I have no idea) and so she could hand out the napkins.  My sisters and I found that horribly invasive, and one sister did not participate in the beginning - hiding the fact that she started her period and using toilet paper until her flow became too heavy.  It was a nightmare.  I know you have the best of intentions, but I think you should really take a step back.

 

If you think it would be helpful to her to track her periods, buy her a personal calendar, show her how to do the tracking, and let her do it if she wishes.  I bought sanitary supplies before my daughter started her period and let her experiment with them.  When the time came, she knew which type she preferred and then it was just a matter of letting me know when she needed more.  She was soooo private about her period that she kept her pads in a locked box deep in her closet!  She knew she could come to me with any questions (and did, when a problem came up), but HER period was HER business, and I stayed out of it unless invited to have an opinion.

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Old 12-27-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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My dd told me that there is a free ap on the ipod touch for charting cycles.  It's a high tech version of keeping a calendar, I guess.  In our situation, it's great.  DD is very independent, and the ap works for her.

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Old 12-27-2011, 10:02 PM
 
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yikes2.gif  Few girls this age would want their period marked on a calendar. It's mortifying. I think you are off in your expectations of her emotions.


Honestly, I think that it's part of a parents responsibility to make sure that their DD is at least somewhat regular. I knew girls when I was in in 6-7th grade bled for a month straight and didnt tell their mom. I knew girls who skipped entire cycles in early high school and knew they couldnt be pregnant because they were virgins, but refused to tell their mother because they were afraid of being accused of having sex. I, myself, went through a time where I bled for 2 months straight at 16 and became very weak. My mother always had me keep a chart, from the time I started (at 10) on, and it was never embarrassing or mortifying., it was just part of having a period. It was taped in the the bathroom cabinet where I got my tampons from. So, when I bled for 10+ days she knew and took me to the doctor after about a month.

I think the iphone app would be great, but there are lots of ways to discreetly keep track.

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Old 12-28-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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I think the iphone app would be great, but there are lots of ways to discreetly keep track.


 

having your DD tell you so you can mark it on the family calendar ain't one of them. I do believe that doing so is a completely horrid idea and not in line with gentle parenting at all.

 

Irregular periods, though not to the degree you describe, are normal at this age. With both my DDs, it's fairly obvious what is going on just from the trash can in their bathroom and how many supplies they go through.

 

http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/girls/irregular_periods.html#


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Old 12-28-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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Something to keep in mind too, it's not just the physical part that girls can react to. Talking about periods is pretty easy but as it turned out, what stressed my own girl out wasn't "periods" but what they stood for. She worried about the expectations of motherhood and what that meant to her future plans. She worried about having such a clear sign of growing up without really knowing what she wanted as an adult. She worried about sex and boys as she wasn't emotionally ready yet it seemed her body was preparing for them without her. Some girls ponder quite deeply on this stuff at very early ages. Their reaction to periods isn't just about bleeding once a month.... that part easy. If you are seeing stress and unusual behavior, make sure to open dialogue about all the emotional stuff too. At least in our case, that was the stress trigger, not the bodily function.


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Old 12-28-2011, 10:21 AM
 
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I remember when my mom showed me her "secret" code on the calendar  in her office, there was tiny marks that seemed like nothing and I thought it run that no one knew what the meant. For decades I had my own code, even when I lived alone, it was just habit. Even now with my digital calender I have a fun way to mark things and only get graphic on my ttc calender tha is private.  The has never been a shame thing at all! It was a personal matter that was mine to be my own way with.  I may have been handled differently because I did not start till right at my 14th birthday.

 

 

Btw I would think that the mom who wanted to know each month so "that she knew everything was ok" that ok meant not pregnant, just my thought. As a teen I would have not gone well wIth that oversight.


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Old 12-28-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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Something to keep in mind too, it's not just the physical part that girls can react to. Talking about periods is pretty easy but as it turned out, what stressed my own girl out wasn't "periods" but what they stood for.

 

 

 At least in our case, that was the stress trigger, not the bodily function.


This is such a good point and a great thing to gently acknowledge (but not exspect her to chat about yet) with a daughter and be forgiving about.

 

 


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Old 12-28-2011, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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having your DD tell you so you can mark it on the family calendar ain't one of them. I do believe that doing so is a completely horrid idea and not in line with gentle parenting at all.

 

Who said I was going to mark it on the family calendar? I'm insulted you assumed that without asking more questions. She has her own calendar. By the way, I live alone with her, I'm a single Mom, so there really is no "family calendar" but she does have her OWN calendar in her OWN room.

 

Anyway, thank you all for your responses.

 

 

 

 

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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My girls are too young still, but I what my mom did (and what I'm planning to do) is she kept assorted supplies in the bathroom, show us how to use them, show us how to deal with stains and gave me a private calendar to mark days off on.   We had tampons on the bathroom, my mom did tell me about the risks of TSS with using them, told me not to use them all the time and suggested that they only be used for when necessary (like swimming) as they do carry some risks, but she left the choice up to us.

 

With my girls, I also plan to talk wtih them a bit about normal cycles and what is normal and what isn't. (ie. if they have bleeding longer than 7  days, really heavy bleeding, or extremely long cycles, mid-cycle spotting then it could signify a hormonal imbalance and we could work on it using diet/supplements, etc.  I realize that some cycle irregularity is normal, but there are also a lot of people who live with condition like PCOS for years without treatment, and I think if there is any type of hormonal imbalance, it's better to seek treatment (we typically try natural treatments first), then just live with it and think it's normal.

 

I do think girls need privacy with this and for the most part should be able to keep track of their periods and be able to tell if something is "wrong" so long as they are given the proper information in the beginning.


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Old 12-28-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

I remember when my mom showed me her "secret" code on the calendar  in her office, there was tiny marks that seemed like nothing and I thought it run that no one knew what the meant. For decades I had my own code, even when I lived alone, it was just habit. Even now with my digital calender I have a fun way to mark things and only get graphic on my ttc calender tha is private.  The has never been a shame thing at all! It was a personal matter that was mine to be my own way with.  I may have been handled differently because I did not start till right at my 14th birthday.


Btw I would think that the mom who wanted to know each month so "that she knew everything was ok" that ok meant not pregnant, just my thought. As a teen I would have not gone well wIth that oversight.

I have a secret code, too. And I showed my daughter. But she keeps her own calender in her own room. I just told her it was vital to keep track because your period is a health marker of sorts.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ameliabedelia View Post

she kept assorted supplies in the bathroom, show us how to use them, show us how to deal with stains and gave me a private calendar to mark days off on.

 

 

 

Those are my next steps.

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

 just told her it was vital to keep track because your period is a health marker of sorts.


Exactly. My thoughts were, why not get her used to keeping track and help it become a habit? It's something we should do when we are older anyway.

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by karne View Post

My dd told me that there is a free ap on the ipod touch for charting cycles. It's a high tech version of keeping a calendar, I guess. In our situation, it's great. DD is very independent, and the ap works for her.

That sounds great. When I got my first period (just before I turned 14) my mom taught me how to chart--noting my temp on graph paper and using color codes with colored pencils. Made it into a fun and interesting project. After the first couple months I stopped charting until my adult years, but I am so glad she gave me that knowledge and the power to make sense of my irregular cycles so early in life. I'm definitely going to do the same for my daughter!

ETA: I am also in favor of little secret symbols! I made up my own and still use them to this day. That way you can mark it on any calendar and nobody will know what it is. For bleeding, I draw a little circle with 5 dots around it, looks like a doodle of a flower. I vary the size and darkness of the symbol, and sometimes the number of dots, to show how heavy the flow is. 3 little dots in a triangle indicates spotting. A heart for sex, a circle with an exclamation point in it for ovulation (although those won't be relevant yet for her.) For 10 years I kept track of my cycle by just marking little secret symbols in my day planner I used for school.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post


I have a secret code, too. And I showed my daughter. But she keeps her own calender in her own room. I just told her it was vital to keep track because your period is a health marker of sorts.



Just so I'm clear, though---- completely "random" periods for even a couple years after starting is normal, right?  Like, isn't it common for girls to skip months until they are older?  I don't think I would have been able to accurately predict my periods for years after originally starting.

 


 

 

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Old 12-28-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post



Just so I'm clear, though---- completely "random" periods for even a couple years after starting is normal, right?  Like, isn't it common for girls to skip months until they are older?  I don't think I would have been able to accurately predict my periods for years after originally starting.

 



I don't know that it's your average girl is totally random for "years" but it's also not unheard of. It's a good idea for a girl to track her periods even if they are irregular. Sometimes you can find patterns as to why some months are skipped (like my best friend growing up who's period stopped every swim season because her body fat levels dropped to low to menstrate.)


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:21 PM
 
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kpax-

I need to ask to edit your post to Linda on the Move.  Please avoid personal attacks.  Feel free to debate the post, not the poster. 

 

 


 
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