Here are some tips on talking puberty and periods – and general advice on how to raise a daughter for dads.
Let’s be honest: talking about puberty and periods with your daughter is something that most dads prefer to leave to their partner or another signiﬁcant female in the family.
But by showing her that you’re comfortable talking about periods – and being there for her when she needs you – you can help boost her conﬁdence.
Open up an emotional dialogue
Don’t let the ﬁrst time you discuss anything personal be when she starts her period. A top tip on how to raise a daughter for dads is to ask questions – and listen!
Just as you’d want to know what’s going on at school, ask her about her feelings. Fathers raising daughters will ﬁnd that this makes those period conversations much easier when the time comes.
Do your homework
Download our Always Changing & Growing Up Parents Guide for more information.
Start conversations early
You need to ensure that your daughter has the facts before she enters puberty, so start discussing puberty and periods from the ages of 7 or 8. If she’s already started showing the ﬁrst signs of puberty, it’s deﬁnitely time to talk.
Starting to develop breasts
Getting spots / greasy hair
Experiencing mood swings
Discharge in her underwear
Growing pubic hair
Keep it casual
Having ‘the talk’ as a one-off can overwhelm her with information, so address the subject in easy stages to help build your daughter’s knowledge.
Look for natural moments to talk – say, when watching an advert or ﬁlm or buying period products.Fathers raising daughters often ﬁnd this kind of conversation uncomfortable, so try discussing periods where there’s less need for eye contact, such as in the car.
63% of people in the UK believe we should speak openly about mensturation*
Don't give her the brush-off
If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s OK to admit there are holes in your knowledge. Say you’ll ﬁnd out the information she needs and get back to her – and make sure you do. You don’t want her to think you’re embarrassed or dodging the subject!
Mark the 'big moment' in a small way
When she does start her period, don’t make a big deal of it. Say something like, ‘You may not want to talk to me about this now, but if you ever need anything, you only have to ask’.
Chances are she’ll roll her eyes and say, ‘Oh Dad!’ but a few kind words can demonstrate that you’re there for her.
'Period-proof' the bathroom!
Girls can get very embarrassed about being on their period, so on top of making sure that she has period products available, provide a lidded bin (with bin liner) so she doesn’t feel awkward disposing of used products.
Make sure you teach her the motto: Bin It – Don’t Flush It! Period products, or any other toiletries, shouldn’t be ﬂushed because doing so can cause blockages in the drainage system.
There are so many different types of pads (wings, no wings, day- time, night-time) and tampons (with or without applicator, plastic or cardboard) – not to mention period pants and menstrual cups!
Here’s what you need to know when working out which period products she should use.