Monthly Mission - dads and daughters

Dads can teach us how to tie our shoes, ride a bike, and drive a car. If we’re lucky, our fathers play an important role in many of the milestones of our lives, starting in childhood. But all too often, when it comes to menstrual health and development, a father’s place can become a little less clear. There may be embarrassment, shame, or confusion on both sides – and this can lead to a breakdown in important communication between a daughter and the invaluable support that only her father can provide. As young girls begin to develop, they may start to pull away or naturally try to hide these changes from their dads. The truth is, a dad’s role in this stage is just as important as remembering to put on her helmet before he sends her off on her bike. When a father participates in this formative stage of his daughter’s life, instead of letting her mom handle it, this signifies to the daughter that he accepts her, and will love her as she grows and changes. Because, listen up, dad: this is about way more than momentary discomfort. This is about arming your daughter with the confidence she needs to take on the world, knowing you’ve got her back. And that type of confidence? It only comes with massive amounts of open communication, love, and support.

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Healthy Hygiene - Teachers Resources

Whispers in the locker room, awkward conversations with family members, and commercials with veiled messages for strange-looking products. We all knew it was coming. Did we feel prepared?

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average American girl will get her first period before her thirteenth birthday[1], with ages as young as eight and nine becoming more and more common.

Only two generations ago, our grandmothers could anticipate this life event arriving while they were applying for their driver’s license, or writing final exams.

As the discussion grows over the causes of premature menarche, the question remains: how do we support young girls and women as their periods begin earlier and earlier?Read More… >>

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By Shawna H.


Going through puberty can be a tough time for a young girl. That is even more true when the young lady is autistic.  There seems to be scant literature pertaining to females on the autism spectrum, and even less speaking about, or to young autistic girls about the changes of puberty, and beginning menstruation.

Preparing for Puberty with AutismI can’t speak for all females on the spectrum about getting your period, and the whole puberty process. I can only relay my experience, and maybe some of that might be helpful for other young girls, or her parents in understanding. I have heard many ladies on the spectrum who have had quite different experiences with puberty than I did.

For me, it was a change that I welcomed. I looked forward to getting my period, and becoming an adult. It was exciting to me to become a woman. I learned a lot about it at school during sex ed. There was a lot of information available during that time to learn from. I think that this may have made the biggest difference to me in not only welcoming my period, but accepting my body as one in transformation. Knowing what to expect was paramount to easing my anxiety, and allowing me to be open to change.

Here are some things that I found to be helpful in preparing me for menstruation, and other changes that occur during puberty:Read More… >>

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My name is Leanne, I’m 20, and have Asperger Syndrome.  Like every other woman in the world, I get my period every month.  Although I’m not a teen or preteen anymore, I do remember what it was like.

This article can be helpful to parents of a daughter with a disability or people who work with people with special needs such as special education teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, or other people whose jobs require close contact with people with disabilities.  So please read on because some of what I’m about to mention might help both you and your daughter.

My mom and I read a book about puberty and periods when I was about 9 years old.  She and I had both noticed that I was starting to develop on the outside, so she knew that it was possible that I could get my period soon.  I thought the book was about punctuation, because the title had the word ‘period’ in it.  The book also talked about things like stuff you can use when you’re on your period, what to do if you get it while you’re at school or away from home, and other stuff about periods.  If you just want to talk to your daughter about this yourself, make sure you simplify your explanation to make sure she can understand it. If you want to read a book about this with your daughter, make sure the book is appropriate to her developmental level.  Social stories have also been known to work when teaching special needs kids about puberty.  After I read the book, I was SO excited to get my period!  It was my body’s way of saying, “You’re a woman now, Leanne!”  Every time I went to the restroom, I would look for it, and one day, there it was!

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Developing Daughters
Did you know that today, girls are hitting puberty at a younger age than ever before?

With the age of onset of puberty continuing to decline, many girls are starting this very confusing, hormonally charged phase of life extremely young. According to current research, 30% of girls will start puberty by the age of 8.

It is extremely important for parents to recognize these changes, even if they are subtle – and begin communicating regularly about puberty and menstruation. Even if they are not happening to YOUR daughter, there is a good chance they are happening to some of her elementary school classmates. The sooner you can begin the dialect, the easier the facts of life will be to understand for your daughter.

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Growth and developmentPuberty is a topic few parents feel ready to explore.  Regardless of your comfort level, it is important that you learn and pass along the basics to your son or daughter before puberty begins.  If your child has started school, then the information that follows is relevant now.

Ready . . . Set . . . Grow! 

Puberty is the phase of development when a child’s body transitions into an adult body, including the attainment of reproductive capabilities.  During puberty, children experience considerable change: physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially.  This article focuses on the physical changes.

Read the rest of our guest post over at

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Say it again

Last fall I had a conversation about menstruation with my then two-year-old daughter. I didn’t want to; I was forced. Some were amused by its content. Some inspired.

Just the other night, the topic of periods came up again. Because I was having mine, and once again my daughter saw the string between my legs.

What is a Period, MommyThe conversation started off exactly like the first time, but ended up going in a different, more detailed direction…

“Somefeen in your butt, Mommy.”

“We had this conversation before, honey. Do you remember? There is nothing in my butt. It’s in my vagina, and it’s called a tampon.”

A look of recognition came across her face, and she nodded as if to say she remembered. And then she was quiet for a moment. I thought I was getting off easy this time. But…

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Tying shoesBack to School
It seems like the need to be prepared for a new school year arrives a little earlier each summer. Before the first day arrives, there is much to do and many items to buy including:

  • adjusting bedtimes and morning routines,
  • purchasing school supplies, and
  • choosing an outfit for the first day.

If you have a daughter in elementary school, there should be at least one more item on your list: puberty education.  While many parents imagine several years between their daughters learning to tie their shoes and needing to try on a bra, that gap is often much shorter.

1 in 7 Incoming Second Graders
According to recent research, more than 1 in 7 seven year old girls (15%) and more than 1 in 4 eight year old girls (27%) have already started puberty.

Read the rest of our guest post at The Mom-Blog.

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Your daughter has started her period.  Now, in the same place where the little girl with bows in her hair stood – is a pseudo woman.  It can be bittersweet to realize just how fast your daughter is growing up.  As a parent, it is extremely important to welcome the changes and to help your daughter transition into womanhood feeling accepted and loved.I don't want to grow up

It is also important to try and take a step back and realize what your daughter may be feeling.  For so many girls, the onset of menstruation comes seemingly too early in life.  Suddenly, they are dealing with extremely ‘adult’ things such as picking out bras and handling periods during a time in their life when they were perfectly comfortable dressing up Barbies and playing outside.  In your daughter’s mind, the start of her periods alerts her to the fact that she is in fact growing up.  And this realization can be both welcome and frightening for a young girl.

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It can be difficult to feel like you are one of the only girls in your grade that hasn’t started her period or hasn’t seemed to ‘blossom’ yet.  If you are what might be called a ‘late bloomer’ (I know, awkward term) it is normal to feel anxiety and worry that you are different, or that something is wrong with you!

Why-haven't-I-started-my-period and where are my boobsBut the best thing to do is put your worries aside – and realize that when it comes to puberty, there is no such thing as ‘normal!’  (Heck, you might even consider yourself lucky.)

Some girls start menstruating at the age of 8 or 9.  Others may not start their periods until they are 15 or even 16.  Some factors that can delay your first period are EXTREME exercise (meaning several times a week for several hours per day) and a diet that is lacking in vitamins and minerals.

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