When you become a parent you are guaranteed to experience situations, problems, or issues that you never expected. This is perhaps most true for a Dad with a daughter, the unique experience of raising a daughter brings with it a host of unique circumstances. One of the biggest examples of this is learning to dealing with periods.

Periods are one of the most natural, healthy, and necessary processes on the planet. However, despite being experienced by 50% of the worlds population periods remain to be a relatively taboo subject. One of the first times a young girl will experience this idea of her period being ‘hush hush’ is probably with the males in her life. As a Dad you can have a really positive impact on your daughter’s experience of menstruation, her attitudes to her own changing body, and her capacity to understand that there is nothing shameful or dirty about that monthly bleed.

One of the most important things you can do as a Dad is make it clear that talking about periods, and everything that comes with them, isn’t off limits. Covering your ears and running at the mere mention of a tampon isn’t going to help your daughter feel comfortable. In fact, it is more likely to make her feel embarrassed, awkward, and shameful about this monthly process. Whilst it might be quite unlikely that she wants to speak to you about her period you should make it absolutely clear that she can talk to you, if and when she is ready.

A practical step you can take is to be informed, the more you know the more you can help. If you don’t know already, the basic biological process of a period is that every 28 days an egg is released from the ovaries and makes its way down the fallopian tube towards the womb. Throughout the month the lining of the womb has been thickening in order to house the egg if it has been fertilised by sperm. If the egg arrives in the womb unfertilised then the lining of the womb is shed in the form of a period and the process begins again. You should also understand the different menstruation products like pads (placed externally on the pants) or tampons (inserted into the vagina) and the versions your daughter prefers to use. Become knowledgeable on the symptoms of her periods, the specific form of pain they can induce, and the steps she takes to reduce this.

Having a period throws up a lot of practical issues, so one of the subtler ways you can help your daughter is by having the practicalities covered. One thing many men might not consider is the importance of having a bin in the bathroom (preferably with a lid) that your daughter can discreetly dispose of her waste. You could designate a drawer in the bathroom for her to keep tampons or pads which could be restocked and replaced. It’s also a good idea to have a hot water bottle handy or some period specific painkillers like Feminax.

Navigating this time is difficult for you and your daughter but the most important thing is to do is try and make this experience as comfortable as possible for everyone. The best advice is to simply listen to your daughter, understand what she is going through, and do everything you can to help. How have you navigated periods with your daughter? Is it something you feel comfortable with? Join or start the conversation below.