Having sex conversations with your kids is now more critical than ever. In this article, learn more about the timing of your daughter’s menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
According to a new study from Columbia University, first sexual encounters can be affected when a girl gets her period. (published in the journal PLOS ONE). There’s more, though, and you’d be wise to take a seat if you’re parents. According to researchers, menstruation can also influence a girl’s first pregnancy, susceptibility to certain STDs, and even the age she marries.
Menstruation is often disregarded in public health as a vital sign of a girl’s physical, nutritional, and reproductive health, which is a shame.
Studies involving young women in Malawi and South Africa show that menstruation before the age of 12 is linked to various risky behaviors, including early sexual debut, pregnancy and childbirth, risk-taking sexual behavior, and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
We can’t control the time of our daughters’ menstrual cycles. When discussing sex with our daughters, we should start earlier rather than later.
Many parents (and kids!) may feel uneasy in this situation. Betsy Brown Braun, the author of Just Tell Me What to Say, has some advice for dealing with a sensitive subject:
Adults who know each other well and love each other profoundly engage in sex to express their feelings.
- Don’t allow humiliation to take over your language; instead, use actual language. It’s better to say “vagina” and “penis” rather than leave your child with queries about these body parts.
- Avoid sending the message to your children that they cannot turn to you for assistance and advice by refusing to discuss some topics with them.
- Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter by Colleen O’Grady, a marital and family therapist and the author of the book Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter Were you aware of how difficult it was to get a woman of her stature and physical development to do what she did?
For parents in a similar circumstance, O’Grady, a family therapist with more than 25 years of expertise, gives the following advice:
- Educate her about the dangers of sexting.
- Tell her what you think is appropriate and what isn’t.
- Be careful not to underestimate your father’s influence.
- Begin by teaching her about setting limits.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you’re still unsure how to approach these discussions. Remember that you don’t have to be perfect. You should ensure your daughter does not initially learn about sex from her peers to avoid this. Instead, establish yourself as someone she can rely on for many years.