Manjit Thapp for betty.me
We all know that periods are totally natural, and most see them as a normal part of everyday life - so why are so many young women embarrassed to talk about them?
A study of 1,000 British women run by ActionAid showed that 54% of girls and women aged between 16-24 shy away from discussing their period entirely. Not only this, but 65% of women from a study ran by Eve Appeal say they even avoid saying the word 'vagina' entirely, and instead refer to phrases such as 'down there' - it's only a word after all, right?
So what can we do to help smash the stigma of periods and encourage girls not to feel embarrassed about these important bodily changes? Here are five top tips on how to speak to your daughter about these issues and make sure she's fully prepped for her period!
Sure, a lot of parents can find talking about periods with their daughter uncomfortable - but it really needn't be! The more you speak openly and in a relaxed manner, the less intimidated your daughter is likely to feel. It's totally natural after all, and it's important that this comes across!
2. Avoid one big 'chat'
Try and introduce them to the topic of periods and hormones casually through everyday life where possible, in order to avoid the daunting, sit-down 'chat' which can sometimes be overwhelming. This can place too much importance on something that's totally normal and no big deal! If they're asking questions at a young age, answer them as honestly and frankly as you can - this will help to break down the taboo of talking about periods from a young age and encourage them to be more body confident.
3. Know your stuff
It's important you have the right information so that you can relay it to your daughter as best you can. Swot up on the little details that may have become a little hazy over time, such as the length of time you can leave a tampon in and the risks of TSS. It's a good idea to suggest a range of different sanitary products too, so she feels she has some control in the situation and can decide what works best for her and her body. After all, knowledge is power!
4. Be positive
Avoid using euphemisms and phrases to describe your period as some women so often do - steer away from negative language and talk about menstruation in a positive way. Perhaps mention this signals the start of her becoming a woman, and the reason we have a cycle is so that we can have babies, which is a wonderful thing!
5. Support is key
Starting your period can be a daunting experience for girls, and there's no doubt your daughter will have lots of questions about the changes her body is going through. Although you are always there to offer advice, there are lots of other resources out there that she can turn to if she's still feeling a little confused! Why not suggest she has a look at betty.me, a content site jam-packed with a whole range of advice for teen girls, from personal hygiene and periods, to friendships at school.
betty is a new teen brand which aims to break the taboo of talking about periods and challenge societal barriers about these types of teen issues. betty is changing the way we perceive and talk about periods, and instilling body confidence in young women. For more information, visit www.betty.me or follow @bettycollective on all social channels.