Dads and their Daughter's Periods
So dads, are ye comfortable talking to your daughters about periods? Don't worry if you aren't. There is no right and wrong on this one. When I started Nickeze, I had, and still have a video, of a dad's voice over on some of my videos on Nickeze I have to say, I did get a bit of, well I won't say criticism, it was more like, that some people said they didn't think dads should be doing the voice overs, as it might make girls feel uncomfortable. I know in my time, I probably wouldn't have felt entirely comfortable talking to my dad about my period, but then I had my mum. But what about all the bereaved dads, separated dads, single dads, divorced dads? Their daughter's period doesn't know if they are on an access visit with their dad, if the teen's mum is deceased or indeed all the dads that are home alone! So dads may very often, be the only one around when their daughter's period comes.
So is it blind panic, or are you in control?
I have found that more and more dads, as they learn about the Nickeze First Period Box, are ordering one, and it makes me hope that they are ok. I often worry about the sizes being chosen but hey, they are doing fantastic, being so proactive and being so prepared and it makes me so proud of our dads out there.
It is not that I feel that they aren't capable, they are, in fact men can be a lot more sympathetic to women about their periods than fellow women. But are we isolating dad's? Because they don't get periods, do we think they can't possibly know what to do? Who does that dad speak to about their teen's period? If he feels that it is a topic just for women, then it makes the topic extra hard to bring up in conversation and we need to be instrumental as women in changing that, as it benefits everyone.
What can dad's do?
This blog is really about helping dads to talk to their daughters about their periods, and to get beyond the 'ugh dad!' I talk to mums a lot about first periods and it can be a challenging time, dealing with the worries, the moods etc., I guess it is the times that are in it too. The expectations of ourselves, the expectations foisted upon us. We want to get it all right, we are afraid of 'damaging' our kids, we won't, but who ever said we have to be rational!
So, to the dads out there, the first thing I will say is that the first man that your daughter will love is her dad. It is not the teenage boy band, the members of BTS.... or the boy at school, close competition of course, but no, it is you!
You are the first man she has ever loved. So how you handle her period is important. I am big into taking cues from our kids. You know when you worry about things like, 'so when do I need to give them privacy?', well, to me it is, when as a little kid they run into the bathroom uninhibited and then suddenly they start closing the door and suddenly locking it, well there is your cue and just go with it and stop worrying.
Dads nowadays, in general, are much more involved in their children's care, from changing nappies, feeding etc., than they would have been in our own dads generation, when all that was seen as 'woman's work'. This change has probably paved the way for dads to talk to their daughters about periods, but we are not quite there yet.
What do Dads Need to do?
So what if you don't know the in's and out's of periods. You don't need to. If you are prepared with the sanitary bits and bobs in the house, tell your daughter where they are, somewhere easy to reach and find. There are lots of teen ranges of pads, tampons might be a bit tricky to navigate and to be honest, many teens are completely freaked out by putting tampons up there at that age! And of course period underwear solve most issues from fear of leaks, they are absorbent, leak proof and really friendly to the environment and really hands especially when all the disposable sanitary products are so mind boggling on that supermarket aisle.
This is a probably a topic I repeatedly bring up, but I am hugely concerned about the loss of young teen girls to sport and to physical activity, due, in many cases to their periods, possibly uncomfortable with their body changing with puberty. It appears to be much more marked than it was in our time, as sport at lunch break in secondary school tended to be compulsory and therefore wasn't the issue it is now. I don't need to go into the merits of sport for teens in general, but the loss of girls from sport does needs to be addressed. I have completely alleviated that issue for my own teen daughter as period underwear has completely changed things for her. She is comfortable in her own skin in general, but it really has helped with worrying about leaking when doing exercise.
Management of Period Pain
Unless contraindicated for some reason, have some paracetamol in the house, period cramps can be debilitating and hurt like hell. There are also lots of other ways to relieve any period cramping, warm baths and showers, hot water bottles, massage over the area and guess what, exercise. Ok, I admit, maybe that is something you least feel like, but what I am saying, are periods should not be a reason not to not go to PE, play sport and be on that team.
I am probably a little more lenient on the comfort foods around period time, within reason of course. But us women whether scientific or not, tend to have some cravings, mine is chocolate, maybe that is why everyone gets chocolate with their Nickeze order......my own assumptions I guess, that everyone wants chocolate too :)
But a good nutritious diet with lots of fresh fruit and veg, you know the drill!
Chatting to your Daughter
I don't work off any fixed formula, as you know your child better than anyone else and you really don't need to handle her any differently around her period. Just be open and ready to chat. For a child that just doesn't want to have that conversation with you, just go with that. Respect that. Be a little bit gentler around those days, go a little bit easier, she will know why, it doesn't excuse any bad behaviours, or that will be possibly used again and pushed further the next time, but being a little more understanding and making that auld cup of tea, actions will speak much more loudly than words and she will know that dad is being kind and dad knows, and maybe it will pave the way for her to talk to you about it when she feels more at ease about dad knowing that she has her period. They usually become much more open as they get older and might even enter TMI territory at times :) We have a bit of that in our house. My poor suffering husband, a wife, two daughters, a female dog and Nickeze Period Underwear everywhere! Bless him, but he has a lot to put up with! No wonder he escapes for the odd pint of Guinness!
So the take a way points really are, you know your child better than anyone else, periods aren't going to change that, yes there might be the moods, but she will get over that. Dads are great, and as I say to dads.....
JUST GO WITH THE FLOW!
I am here to help if you ever want to ask anything, just email me at email@example.com, only delighted to help.
Love Ellie xx
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