Girls need to know about menstruation well before "menarche", the first menstrual period, occurs. Too many parents wait until a girl is a certain age, say twelve, to discuss the subject, not realizing that many normal girls may begin menstrual periods as early as the age of nine or ten.

Signs that your daughter may be approaching menarche are breast development and pubic hair growth. Talk with her about all the normal changes of puberty, and the process of the menstrual cycle. Take this time to dispel any myths about menstruation.

Reassure your daughter that it is natural and that it doesn’t have to keep her from her normal activities. While menstruation is certainly not a hygienic emergency, this may be a good time to discuss with your daughter how she can best care for her body with daily baths, use of a deodorant, and frequent changes of pads or tampons.

Contrary to prevailing myths, girls who are virgins CAN safely use tampons from menarche on, if they choose. Help your daughter to prepare emotionally and in practical terms for her first period with her own supply of sanitary products, ready in advance.

Feeling that menarche is a natural event can help a girl feel better about becoming a young woman.

Mr. B