Road dog (truckie) and father of three teen girls, Dean, gives the low down on how to navigate the world when your teen has their period……and survive.
I guess us blokes have always been the butt of jokes from females – from the Mere Males columns in women’s magazines, to the ongoing ‘dad jokes’ that make everyone cringe at a family barbie.
But take it from me. If you have teen girls (I have three) and you value your life, discussing periods is definitely no joking matter. If you value not losing a testicle, the topic totally needs to be handled a) by someone else if you can slyly palm it off, or b) failing ‘a’, then with a degree of sensitivity, with no pre-conceived stigmas or judgement.
It’s not always easy to be a dad
Remember that us dads are already setting off on the back foot. In the eyes of our teen girls we of course know absolutely nothing about life or anything of value. Words out of our mouths have no content or relevance, and being male and never having menstruated can make us the last person on earth that they will come to.
But sticking your head in the sand about the topic of periods is not the way to go. Welcome to the 21st Century, where if you blindly ignore the issue you will not survive those teenage years.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate safely through those teenage waters:
Don’t Make Fun Of Them
If your teen is crying at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason, don’t put them down, make fun of them, or accuse them of being hormonal or ridiculous
Don’t Pester Them
Don’t crowd your teen girls and continually ask and demand to know why they are upset/ emotional etc-often they don’t know themselves but just continue to be moody
Don’t Go On….And On
If used disposables are filling up the bathroom bin do not accuse the teen angrily -just ask them casually and quietly to empty the bin when they get chance this week. That’s it -don’t go on about it if you value your life!
Don’t Ask who ate all of the chocolate, the ice cream, your Doritos, Special Edition Honey-Soy-Pork-Rib chips etc
Don’t Ask what happened to your face? Looks like a smashed crab? So many spots this week?!
Don’t Ask pointed questions.
Plan For Periods In Holidays
Remember that while outback adventuring off the grid may be your dream holiday, it may be your teenage daughter’s hell if she is menstruating that week. Menstruating can feel super complex even with modern facilities. When planning a holiday involve the teens in the planning. Let them know what hygiene (and wifi!!) facilities can be expected. Ask them if anything additional is needed when away, and upgrade where necessary. Trust me, this conversation will save you hours of whinging at the other end!
Upgrades do not mean 5 star resorts – We regularly go on off-road 4WD adventures and luckily my girls are already using a mix of green menstrual options such as menstrual cups, period pants, biodegradable pads and cloth pads. They are a game changer for holidays. A portable shower packed in with your camping gear, buckets with toilet seats (see camping stores) are also options to discuss with your teen.
Give Them What They Need (Within Reason Of Course!)
If your teen needs chocolate or any other specific food requests, go get it! Hormonal food cravings really screw with emotions and mood (flashbacks to pregnant Mrs here…) You will know when she needs it! Most importantly don’t judge.
Ask Them What You Can Do
If your teen is emotional and upset it is okay to ask if there is anything you can do to help. Offer a hug, ask if there is a favourite movie they’d like to watch, or would you like to come for a walk and get out of here for half an hour? These are loving, caring and supportive responses without the direct negative response evoking question and usual reaction by asking “What’s wrong with you crazy halflings!”.
Give Them Space To Speak
Two ears to listen, one mouth to speak. Be present in quiet times with your teen if you are allowed in their space as per the above point. This may sound like some out there Yoda words of wisdom but trust me, they work. A comfortable silence while hanging out is fine. Chill with it. Much better than bombarding their head when they are already fragile and ready to bite your head off in one foul teenage-feral rampage. If they have sorted things out in their minds then they may share. But don’t push. This helps to keep the doors of communication open. Listen, never judge, don’t offer advice unless it asked for (because of course, we know nothing and were never teenagers ourselves). Rather ask ‘what do you think you’ll do?’. Their little minds love talking about themselves. So encourage and empower them to find their own solutions. Plus it gets you off the hook if shit goes wrong.
Offer To Help Them Shop
It is okay to ask your teen if they want you to get them any monthly supplies. Many teen girls are embarrassed to purchase or ask for these items. It is also open minded as a male to ask them if they’d like any sustainable options. The upfront setup may seem more costly than disposables, but they will save you over $3,000 while they live at home with you. Now that’s a lot of beer money! Plus extra jewellery for the 4X4. Offer ideas like menstrual cups and period pants. Ask them to make you an exact written shopping list complete with the brand, absorbency, size, colour, website etc. You want to get this right. Follow this shopping list exactly-do not deviate if you value your life!
Navigating menstruating teen girls is tough. But be kind, patient and forgiving of yourself, and of course your teen. Menstruation is new territory for your teen as well. A journey for both of you. Happy travelling!
How does your husband cope with your teen girls when period time hits? Tell us in the comments below.