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Navigating Puberty

I know this is an uncomfortable topic, but hear me out.

It’s Basketball Season...

I’m getting ready to perform after earning the only available spot on the Pom Pom squad for the Winter season. Out of over 75 girls who auditioned, I was the one who secured it. My dad was incredibly proud.

When I came home with my new uniform, I was excited to show it off.

“Nicky, why is your skirt so short?” he asked. “Nicky, you’re going to need to wear some leggings. That sweater is bigger than the skirt!” He laughed as he said this, and every Friday before I left dressed for Spirit Day.

He was right; the skirt was short and didn’t pass the fingertip test. However, my dad’s pride was evident when he showed up at my first game, sitting in the stands while we prepared for our halftime show. He came close to encourage me, “Nicky, you’ve got this, girl!” as the cheerleaders swung their skirts during their sideline routine.

Suddenly, an unpleasant odor came through the air. My dad noticed it too and gave me a look. I hoped he wouldn’t embarrass me, but then he said, “What’s that smell? Someone isn’t fresh!”

A cheerleader had her period and smelled as if she hadn’t showered in days. That night at home, my dad joked about it. “Nicky, which one of your friends smelled so bad this evening?” Then he turned serious. “You know how to stay fresh, right? That’s not acceptable.” I replied, “Yes, Sir.” He continued, “I can’t have my baby out there smelling like that.”

We never really talked about periods. I was very studious, paid attention in school, and knew how to buy my own products and take care of myself. My mom said it was embarrassing because I wouldn’t even talk to her about it. My body was changing, and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable discussing.

Do you have a pre-teen or teenager who has started her cycle? Have you been able to have hygiene conversations with her? We created The Menstruation Issue to tackle these concerns, help you have these important conversations, share information about the right products, and help her maintain proper hygiene and hormone balance.

Tips for Dads:

  1. Start Early: Begin discussing basic hygiene and body changes before she starts her period. This makes the topic less intimidating.

  2. Use Resources: Utilize books, articles, and our Menstruation Issue as guides to help explain the process and what to expect.

  3. Be Supportive: Approach the topic with sensitivity and openness. Ensure she knows it’s a normal part of growing up.

  4. Practical Tips: Teach her about different menstrual products and how to use them. Discuss the importance of regular bathing and wearing clean clothes.

  5. Create a Kit: Put together a period kit for her school bag with essentials like pads, tampons, wipes, and an extra pair of underwear.

Share your experience: Have you had a successful conversation with your daughter about menstruation? Is it a conversation you have left up to her mom or a mother-like figure? What tips worked for you? Share in the comments below and help other dads navigate this important topic.


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