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The Cycle Of Life Talking To Your Daughter About Her Cycle And Her Options

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Sooner or later you knew it would happen. Besides your young lady physically becoming a “young lady”, you’re also being confronted with the topic of tampons.

You can run, you can hide…but you can’t avoid this conversation…and according to experts, you shouldn’t. While your daughter may be convinced that ALL girls her age have yielded to their “obvious’ benefits and are using them, you can assure her, they are “NOT”.

Among the key concerns is whether she is in fact “old enough” to try tampons. According to experts however, chronological age has very little if anything to do with it. After all, physically, you little girl is no longer a “little girl”, and in fact a “woman”. So, it’s actually more about mental maturity and physical comfort.

Many girls as young as 11 or 12 successfully use tampons, while others well into their teens and early 20s find them truly difficult and uncomfortable. What’s most important to remember is that there are no medical reasons cited for girls discomfort or for (choosing) against them. It is primarily a choice…one based on her personal comfort level with tampons and her ability to be responsible about their usage.

Before making an “educated” decision, you should clarify with your daughter her personal attitude and concerns about tampon usage. Together you should discern if she is comfortable (first with the idea, and secondly with the procedure) of inserting and removing them. Then you must discuss her willingness to be responsible about changing her tampon frequently.

For many girls, especially athletic and active young ladies, tampons hold a particular appeal, especially with regards to allowing them to pursue their interests “comfortable” and “worry-free”. Friends and teammates already using tampons can be very influential and a great support. However, studies have determined that a mother’s comfort level regarding tampons and the topic of her “girl” growing up is phenomenally powerful.

If a mother is comfortable in her own “sexuality” and has the ability to discuss openly with her daughter the changes taking place and natural development, including her (own) preferences and rituals, and is supportive and encouraging, chances are the young girl will be comfortable also in her new body, and more open to giving tampons a try.

A key deterrent for many girls approaching and reaching puberty, especially those who reach puberty at an early age is the “awkwardness” and lack of understanding of their own body. Many young girls are hesitant, even uneasy about touching or exploring their own physicality. It is YOUR job as a parent, especially as a MOTHER to assure her that this is normal…and that achieving a comfort zone with herself and the art of inserting a tampon takes time, patience and practice.

If she however is patiently persistent but continues to experience “problems”, she may want to seek medical attention. While it’s nothing to worry about, her “discomfort” may be purely physical. According to medical professionals, the size of the opening encircling a girl’s vagina determines her ability to successfully use tampons.

Most girls can “easily” insert a tampon sans difficulty but other may experience an uncomfortable disruption to the hymen. They should consider using junior-size or slim-fit tampons geared especially for teens and pre-teens. If she continues to have “problems”, suggest she schedule and appointment with her doctor, or use this opportunity to have her establish a yearly practice of visiting the gynecologist.

It’s also imperative to emphasize the (health) necessity for changing her tampon every four to six hours to avoid the potential for toxic shock syndrome (TSS). This rare but potentially severe disease is associated with prolonged tampon use and occurs more frequently among younger girls than older teen. Older girls have had more time for their bodies to build up essential antibodies for fighting off the bacteria responsible for TSS.

Another important point is encouraging your daughter to use a tampon with the minimum amount of absorbency necessary to control her flow, using more absorbent tampons on heavier flow days then switching to lighter absorbency products, and recommending she alternate between tampons and pads.

Whether she chooses to use tampons or not, remember you are her most trusted source of trustworthy information. Your ability to discuss these important and “private” issues will determine how well she accepts herself, the changes her body is going through, and her transition into adulthood.


Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > The Cycle Of Life Talking To Your Daughter About Her Cycle And Her Options

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