13-year-olds can tie their breasts

Exciting and unsettling - the first menstruation

For some it comes earlier, for others later - but for almost all girls the first period is an important event. Many questions arise. If parents talk openly with their daughters, they can develop a relaxed relationship with their bodies.

With the first menstruation there are also questions - parents can support their daughters with open discussions. Photo: MichaƩ Ludwiczak, iStock, Thinkstock

Lena is insecure. When she went to the bathroom that morning, she discovered blood in her underpants. The 13-year-old knew straight away: this is the first period. On the one hand, she felt very grown up, at last she could have a say with the other girls. On the other hand, she was shocked: What now? Did she have to use a tampon now? Should she ask her mother?

The first period does not come according to the calendar

Girls have their first menstrual period on average between the ages of 12 and 13. Others, however, are already ten or eleven and some girls do not have their first bleeding until they are 16. There is no real age. However, if the first period does not occur even after the 16th birthday, a visit to the gynecologist can clarify the situation.

For mothers, their daughters' first period is often just as exciting. After all, the girl is now becoming a young woman. But many mothers find it difficult to talk to their daughter about it. The inhibition threshold is great. But those who deal with the changes as a matter of course create a good basis for open discussions.

First signs of the period

A girl's body begins to change even before the first bleeding. During puberty, the breast slowly becomes apparent, armpit and pubic hair grow, and some girls have a whitish discharge. This fluid is a completely natural secretion and can set in a year or two before the first period. It is a sign that the sexual organs have already become active. Even then, a mother can address the changes.

Lena is already further, she has her first period. She calls her mother and shows her the blood. So she can explain to her what that means. Because many girls do not even know what is going on in their body. When you understand exactly how your cycle works and why you bleed each month, it is often easier to deal with.

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A natural way of dealing with your own body

But not all adolescents dare to talk to someone about changes in the body and about their first menstruation during puberty. A false shame often develops over years. If physical processes and changes in the family are never discussed, the threshold of inhibitions increases and a taboo topic arises.

That is why it is important to cultivate a natural approach to your own body and your menstruation from an early age. It can be a way for the mother to make her own period a subject of discussion, as a matter of course, without turning it into an artificial situation or a stressful conversation. This can help girls deal just as easily with their own cycle later on.

It is also important that the parents answer questions honestly. Even if the language turns to topics such as sexual intercourse, parents should not avoid them, but rather take time for the daughter's questions. The first appointment with the gynecologist also becomes an issue for many girls when their period starts. This should also be addressed in the family. A doctor should be consulted at the latest when pain or other complaints occur.

Sanitary towels or tampons?

First of all, Lena wants to know one thing: What now? Sanitary towels or tampons? It is best to give the daughter different options to try out. So she can find out what is best for her and what feels right and comfortable. At first, many girls feel more comfortable with sanitary towels. Often the desire for tampons grows after a certain time, among other things because the freedom of movement is greater. Inserting tampons takes practice, and girls shouldn't be discouraged if it doesn't work right away. The concern that the use of tampons will damage the hymen is unfounded.

In general, parents should try to show their children a good relationship with their own body. Menstruation should be seen as a sign of femininity and not just as a tedious affair with comments like "You are so bitchy, are you getting your days or what?" to be accompanied.