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Dear Dad: 5 Things All Dads Should Know About Menstruation

When the first period - also called menarche - comes, it can be a big upheaval for your child. Menstruation doesn't just come with a new cycle and a body that needs to be relearned, which in itself can be a bit of a mouthful. Your child suddenly also has to learn to navigate a new identity, where she may not feel quite like a child or quite an adult yet.

That is why it is absolutely essential to have the right help and advice - not least from father. Because even if you, as a father, do not menstruate yourself, you are certainly not ruled out of this important chapter in your child's life. On the contrary, you can have an absolutely decisive role in ensuring that your daughter can have a safe start to her menstrual life - something we ourselves would have wanted when we were younger.

So here you get, dear father, our 5 best tips on how you can support your child in the time around her first period:

1. Be prepared and well informed

Our first piece of advice may be self-explanatory: read up on the homework so you can pass on your knowledge to your child. Many fathers may think that they have little to contribute because they have not experienced menstruation on their own bodies. Fortunately, the lack of physical experience does not stand in the way of reading up on the basic facts, so that you can answer the questions that may come up and give your daughter the support she needs. We can e.g. highly recommend the book "It's just blood" by Louise T. Sjørvad and Jette Sandbæk, which you can also read with your child. Remember: The more you know about menstruation, the better you can be there for your child when it's her turn!

2. Listen and ask questions

If you have not been in the habit of talking openly about your body at home before, the time around the first period is an obvious time to do so. Therefore, think about how you can contribute to creating a safe atmosphere at home where your daughter feels comfortable talking out loud about her period; ask her how she feels and be ready to listen without judging or interrupting.

In short: Let your child know that menstruation is a completely normal topic that she can talk to you about when she needs to. Your openness and sincere curiosity can make a decisive difference to how your child experiences her period (and not least her relationship with you!) - a gift that she can take with her for the rest of her (menstrual) days.

3. Be practical and supportive

Who said a hands-on dad can't shine when it comes to getting the home ready for his daughter's first period? Completely impractical, you can e.g. make sure there are always menstrual products in the house for when your child needs them. Put them in a place where they are most accessible - for example in a basket in the toilet (if you are the do-it-yourself type, you can also build a shelf for pads and tampons from scratch, which can become a joint project at home. You know what they say: Only the imagination is the limit!).

However, always remember to ask your child what products she needs before you go out and tear the first and best off the shelves in the supermarket, and make her answer part of the normal purchases in the future. By taking care of the practical aspects of your child's period, you show that you are a support in her daily life - even when she bleeds.

4. Always focus on your child's needs

As I said, the first period - and the following many periods - can be a challenging period for your child. Although you want to help, it is important to point out that sometimes the best help can be to give your child space. Our fourth piece of advice is therefore quite simply to respect your daughter's need for privacy and not press on with well-intentioned fifs and menstruation facts if she is told no, or you can sense from her that the need is different right now.

Also remember that the many new hormones racing through her body can affect your child's mood, so try to be patient as much as possible and give her the space she needs. The most important thing is that she knows she can always come to you when she is ready.

5. Share your concerns and experiences with other parents

Finally, it can be of great help to you as a parent to talk to others who are in a similar situation to you. This could be, for example, other parents in your child's class or friends with children of your child's age. Put your concerns into words (when your child is not present) and create a space where you as parents can share experiences and advice together.

If your daughter is experiencing serious problems or concerns related to her cycle, it may also be helpful to seek professional help. If, for example, your child experiences a lot of pain in connection with her period, it is always a good idea to see a doctor. Many mistakenly believe that menstruation must hurt, but that is a myth! So be aware and don't hesitate to seek help.

So there you have them: our five best tips for creating a safe environment for your child in the time around her first period. We hope that you feel prepared to guide her well through this exciting and at the same time somewhat overwhelming time in her young life. We're rooting for you, Dad!

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