How did your dds react when you told them about AF? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 08-24-2002, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. I'm new to this forum, but since my two oldest are now 9 & 10, I think I'll be hanging around here a bit more often.

Anyway, I think I bungled my "talk" with my 9 year old dd. I had been worried for months about how to tell her about menstruation. I figured her friends would start talking about it soon and since some of her classmates are nearly 10, some of them may start AF soon. So, she found my Keeper in my purse and asked what it was and I decided this was the perfect opening. We were on our way out together anyway, so I talked to her while we were alone in the car together. I tried to remember to give all the important details, I don't know, I was so mixed up and nervous. When I finished talking she was silent for a while and then asked "How long does this go on for?" I told her, in this fake cheerful voice, "Oh, from about the time you're 13 until you're about 50." (I did remind her that it's only for 5 days per month.) Then she informed me that she had a bad taste in her mouth and that her stomach hurt. I felt awful for causing her stress, but it's something she had to know, KWIM? So, we ended up going out for frozen yogurt and I told her that she could come to me anytime with questions.

So, how did your daughters react? Were they stressed? If so, did they eventually get used to the idea? How did you approach the subject?
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#2 of 23 Old 08-24-2002, 02:21 PM
 
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My daughters are much younger (4, and 1 1/2). My 1 1/2 year old obviously doesn't know about menstruation, but my 4 year old already does. I don't recall sitting down with her and explaining it to her... I think it was just a normal part of learning. Thinking back, I believe it was about a year ago, she asked me what the pads were for, and I explained it very basically. I just told her when girls are about 13 or so, they will start bleeding out of their vagina for a few days each month, and that it's a sign that they will be able to have babies (but that she should wait until she's much older to think about having babies! LOL!). Since then, occasionally she's asked questions. She knows the technical terms for the reproductive organs. She knows how babies are made. She knows a bit about charting, and has requested I help her with that when she's older. She's even stated she can't wait until she's older and starts bleeding so that she will be able to have babies. This is a kid that also can't wait until she gets armpit hair. Maybe my daughter is just weird... but I like to think that she's so accepting of what will happen is because I've always treated it as a natural part of life, and never hid it from her. I've always answered her questions, and she is quite an inquisitive kid.
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#3 of 23 Old 08-24-2002, 03:33 PM
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Sounds like it was a big shock for her. I remember when I first found out, and I'd had no idea that something like that went on, and the whole idea of blood sounded so painful and icky and messy... it did take me some time to get used to the idea, and I imagine she's still trying to take hold of the whole idea.

My daughter has known about menstuation from the time she was very little, since I basically had an open bathroom door policy, and she saw me using tampons and pads and asked questions. She's 9 but is maturing pretty early, so we've talked some about what she wants to use and what we should do to celebrate. I also found it useful to get a book on the subject (I got It's a Girl Thing by Mavis Jukes and it's wonderful, good info and a great, freindly-but-hip tone), mention it to her briefly and then just put it somewhere she could access it... I know she read it and has consulted it...

Maybe you could have another talk over ice cream or tea, and just mention that you were nervous talking about it and you were worried that she might be feeling really worried, and explain some about how things were when you were a kid (I know for us, all the 5th grade girls got herded into a rooom to watch a video put out by tampax, and then the PE teacher talked some and we all stared at our shoes and never mentioned it to each other again) and how you want to be more open and honest now. I would also mention that it's really a very little bit of blood, maybe a couple tablespoons, but it seems like more because it comes out over such a long period (pun not intended!). My daughter did worry about the blood loss, so we compared 2 tablespoons to the pint you give when you donate, using water. I also talked about my period, I'd buy a thing of ice cream and mention that always craved sweets right before it started, stuff like that, so she sees how its integrated into your life.

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#4 of 23 Old 08-24-2002, 03:45 PM
 
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daylily,

Having three boys I've never given this issue much thought, but your post reminded me of something from my own childhood. I had read "Are you there God, it's me Margaret" and I was actually looking forward to getting my period when I started it. I thought it was the ultimate sign that I was growing up. My younger sister, however, stared her period when she was 10, and somehow she hadn't been told anything about it. She was at school, and didn't come out of the bathroom, and then the teacher went in and tried to explain to her, and she didn't believe the teacher... It was really, truly awful. She refused to wear pads for some time, thinking it would stop if she didn't. I remember going over in my head the way I would tell my daughters after seeing how traumatized my sister was.

It sounds like you handled it really well, frozen yogurt and all. I think hearing about it from a positive source (you!) makes all the difference in how she feels about her body and being a woman. Good luck!
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#5 of 23 Old 08-24-2002, 07:52 PM
 
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I don't remember having a specific menstruation talk with dd (nearly 8), but she has known about it for a few years. It's never been a secret - she sees what I use, and has watched me use it (no privacy in this house!!: ). It's never been a big deal to her, but I did also tell her when she asked that sometimes it did hurt, but it was mainly just a tummy ache kind of hurt. Dd2 is 2 and she has also been in the bathroom asking "what's that", so I've told her too "I have my period".

I'm sorry your dd got upset, but at least she won't be caught unawares now.
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#6 of 23 Old 08-24-2002, 09:14 PM
 
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My dd was pretty laid back about the whole thing. But she has an older friend so I think that it probably helped to have her friend go through it and see it wasn't that big of a deal.

I think the whole penis in the vagina thing was more of a shock than periods, lol.
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#7 of 23 Old 08-29-2002, 11:27 AM
 
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I have 2 dds, now 14 and 16. Like some other moms, they just kind of learned about sex and reproduction over the years, open bathroom door policy, and 2 homebirths. they know a heck of a lot more about uteruses and placentas than most kids, I bet!

I do recall having many questions from my precocious oldest dd, about how babies are made, and finally having to tell her the penis goes into the vagina, when she was 4 or 5. But I managed to keep my cool, and she just accepted it.

When my sister and I were about 9 and 10, we heard about all this from a friend at a family dinner aprty, and we were so upset, having been sheltered from the awful truth until then. We had to leave the party, came home and had "the talk" from mom, with tears and all. Not a good introduction, and I made sure that wasn't going to happend to my kids.

My son is 11, and he knows all about this stuff too.

Mine also know very well, how impt it is to prevent pregnancy until they are in a stable relationship, and with good finances and time to take off and be with their kids. Several of their older cousins (on dh's side) had kids in their teens and they see how not ideal that is for the families.

BTW, 13 is late for a girl to start, no? It seems many start at 10 or 11. Mine were 11 and 12. So waiting til they are 9 to give them info is leaving it kind of late, IMO.

It's amazing when one's own daughters become women!
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#8 of 23 Old 08-29-2002, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses, guys. It looks like the ideal is to just expose them to it from an early age. I always have had an open door policy for the bathroom, but I foolishly assumed the sight of blood would frighten my little ones, so I'd be very discreet about changing pads, etc.

Yes, 13 is probably a bit later than average, but I was a month shy of my 13th b-day when I started menstruating, so I'm assuming my dds will take after me. I have a neice who was 16 before she started. Also, my dds seem to be late bloomers--they are both a bit smaller than average and my 6.5 year old just lost her first tooth, about a year later than average. I suspect most of their peers will start their periods before my dds do. But I could be totally wrong.
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#9 of 23 Old 08-29-2002, 03:59 PM
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I remember that when I got my period, "they" said that girls typically started about 6 months sooner than their mothers. I also think most of the time you get some breast development, then some pubic and underarm hair, and then it starts. My breasts started developing when I was 9 and my period started when I was 12, but my daughter (who hits every biological developmental milestone really early, getting teeth at 4 months, losing them starting at 3... her body is in some kind of hurry to grow up :-/) has some breast development at 7 and pubic hair now, at 9... so I'm thinking she'll probably start when she's 10, or near to there.

A great book on all of this is called Growing Up : It's a Girl Thing (It used to just be called It's a Girl Thing, if you get an older copy - it's just as good) bu Mavis Jukes. My daughter and I both read it, I got it when she was 8 and just sort of gave it to her, no fanfare, and she read parts then and has referred to it more and more as things change... it's really interesting, with lots of stories from the author's life about stuff she didn't know, as well as really good, solid information.

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#10 of 23 Old 08-30-2002, 01:42 PM
 
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In addition to informative books, try offering your daughter some fiction that includes girls being happy/excited about their first periods. Other than "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" (which is excellent) I'm not sure if the books I enjoyed as a preteen are still in print, but it wasn't hard to find fiction that put a positive spin on menarche--just go to a bookstore and leaf thru books whose main characters are girls 11-14 years old, and you'll probably find some.

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#11 of 23 Old 09-01-2002, 01:51 AM
 
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omgosh I loved Judy Blumes are you there God,its me Margeret-
yes, thats a good start maybe, some real life exposure to seeing you be comfortable with pads and tampons or whatever you use might be helpful too, just a thought- blessed be-mary
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#12 of 23 Old 09-01-2002, 09:12 AM
 
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Daylily-my daughter is almost 9 and I think I explained the menstrual cycle to her when she was maybe 7? I think her biggest concern was if it hurt or not, and I told her that you know, crampy sometimes, not really painful-and she was all right about it. I think she was figuring that it won't happen to her for awhile, so why worry about it now. Now me on the other hand, when I did get mine I remember thinking "oh great-this is going to go on for years" I was 12, very tomboy, and not ready to be bothered with it all. Plus my mom cried and cried and then told my dad! Ugh! The horror! LOL, anyway, I think you sound like you did a fine job telling your daughter about periods
And you know what else I just heard the other night on a show on TLC about girls and adolescence-that a girl's body will start the menstrual cycle upon reaching a certain weight-I think it was 105?-because then the body will be able to support a baby...Duh, you know, I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense! I thought that was mighty interesting.
I have to quit talking about this-hard to believe that my baby will ever be big enough to get her period! Where does the time go!?
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#13 of 23 Old 09-03-2002, 04:46 PM
 
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"The Care and keeping of You: The body Book for Girls" from Amercan Girls is a pretty good resource. It covers all aspects of growing up from brushing your hair to growing pubic hair, dealing with cramps to inserting a tampon, good nutrition ect. . .wth a sort of laid back tone. Very matter of fact about everything and everything is treated equally important. After all its all changing. They also have a journal to go with it.

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#14 of 23 Old 09-10-2002, 09:30 PM
 
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I found really good books at a Christian bookstore and bought one for my daughter (and my son, actually) for their age range. I told them to read about the book and then we could talk. Ido occasionally lunches out with just one child at a time, so we have time to talk about things and when we were next alone we talked. My mom did this with me and I really liked it. It told me what I needed to know and my mom left the door open for me to ask questions if I had any. My kids seemed pretty comfortable with this approach, too.

We're pretty open about things, we also have a 2 year old (our kids are 15, 13, 10, 8 and 2) who I'm still nursing. Even my 15 year old son can be found looking over my shoulder making faces at his nursing brother, they are pretty matter of fact about it all and didn't find it at all odd that I was having another baby at 41.

Just this week I got my period and was mentioning again to our 13 year old that hers could come any time now. Our 10 year old dd was also in the room (I purposely brought it up then to start to teach her about it)...she asked a couple of questions and was satisfied with the answers.

I've read that often we try to tell the kids more than they really were asking. I remember one time reading about a child who asked where babies come from and the mom went into a lengthy dissertation about the facts of life. She got finished and the child said her friend said that babies grew inside mommys and then came out when they were big enough and she wanted to know if that was true.

I try to follow my kids' lead, answer simply and they will continue to ask questions if they are looking for more of an answer.
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#15 of 23 Old 09-29-2002, 12:02 AM
 
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I know, I'm a dork....but what is AF?:

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#16 of 23 Old 09-29-2002, 01:59 AM
 
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I believe that AF is supposed to stand for "Aunt Flo(w)" which is refers to menstruation.

My DDs, ages 4 to 10, have all been told about it when they've seen me changing pads. I got "The Period Book" for my oldest on her last birthday, but she obviously wasn't interested.

I wonder how we will manage to explain it matter of factly to our son?
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#17 of 23 Old 09-29-2002, 07:31 PM
 
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I got my now almost 12yo a book called "my body my self" when she was 9.5 and she later that night told me she was so relieved to have something about it all. She was ready to hear it.

She and I talkabout her changes in excitement. We are planning a little ritual with her close friends for when she fIrst starts. I want her to have no shame or embarrassement over it, and we are totally open about it.

I plan on taking the same approach with my son when he gets older. DH will probably be a big part of it too. It felt briefly awkward when I first gave her the book, but after she disappeared in her room for a few hours with it, she came out with it full of comments and questions. It was cool. I hope it's that successful with our son.
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#18 of 23 Old 10-03-2002, 07:33 AM
 
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I never remember having "the talk" with any of my dd (15,13,9)
We have such an open door policy in this house they have just always known.

Having two older sisters, dd(9) will say very often "I think I have cramps mommy, maybe I need to relax with some warm tea"

We did have a little celebration when each started.



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#19 of 23 Old 10-04-2002, 03:45 PM
 
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hmmmm, I am not sure how I actually first told my kids. (Aaron is 7, Becca is 10) But I am pretty sure it was about the time I was involved in being a gestational surrogate for some friends (Their Embryo through IVF and my womb..). I was a single mother at the time ( 4 years ago) and the kids went through it all with me. In the context of helping them understand that the baby we were "babysitting" for the duration of the pregnancy was not ours, and not their sibling, we had a lot of talks about how babies are traditionally made. They were told what hormones I was taking and when ( Lupron to stop ovulation because we didn't need my eggs, Progesterone to trick my body into thinking it was pregnant..so on) and they helped with my injections..It was all just pretty matter of fact.

My son now rolls his eyes if it comes up and tells me all the facts like " duh mom,,I know it all and this is soooooo booooring!"

My daughter has been asking more and more questions lately, and I had bought her a book when she started getting breasts and pubic hair. A word of caution!!!! Maybe tell your children with who and when it is appropriate to share that book! I took hers away after I found her up the street just after we had moved to a new town showing the book to the neighborhood boys! EGADS! We had to have a talk about it being the privelidge of other parents to tell them about life, and tell them when they want them to know! Not all parents start so early!

but apparently I have done well, because Rebecca started her period this Tuesday,,and was jumping up and down, so excited! She wasn't caught off guard at all..

For us it is just life,,,I have to chime in with DaryLLL....my kids were both at my surrogate birth as well as my one year olds birth, and can telll you all about the birth process, placentas (you should have seen them run to watch me deliver the placenta,,the Dr thought it was soooo funny!) and so on. None of it is taboo, uncomfortable or embarassing. It is just life!
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#20 of 23 Old 10-04-2002, 09:47 PM
 
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105 lbs to start periods? Cool, dd is 8 and 46 lbs, she won't get her period until she is 20. She should be able to deal with it then.
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#21 of 23 Old 10-04-2002, 10:40 PM
 
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I've heard the weight thing too. That it starts when you reach a certain weight. It seems to be pretty accurate so far??
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#22 of 23 Old 10-05-2002, 12:54 PM
 
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I don't have a daughter but I think most of you did a great job explaining it. My mom did a rotten job, told me how horrible it was and made it sound just terrible. I get horrible cramps and I really believe part of it is all in my head!

As for the weight thing, I only weighed like 83 pounds wehn I got mine, I didn't weigh over 100 until after my first year of college!
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#23 of 23 Old 10-05-2002, 02:05 PM
 
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So my period came yesterday. The box of tampons now sits beside the toilet until I'm done. Dd2 (27 months) sees it this morning, takes one out and says "this goes in vulva, Mommy". Now she knows about vaginas too!
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