Monday, August 27, 2012

In the Mix Monday: U by Kotex Tween--Talkable Moments

     As many of you already know, Ladies Holiday is proud to have been chosen as U by Kotex Tween Ambassadors and we are participating in a six part series to help other moms, like ourselves, create a healthy dialogue with their daughters about starting their periods. Today in part 3 of the series, I’ll be sharing some helpful tips to guide your preparation for the Talkable Moments, as Kotex calls them, which will make the subject a natural part of our lives thereby eliminating the anxiety and awkwardness that can come along with it. 

     I often turn to the Kotex website because they have tons of great articles and helpful resources for educating parents and Tweens on the subject of "The First Period", I also talk with other moms, and read books about puberty that were written for Piper's age group to get ideas about how to present the information to her.

As I mentioned in my first U by Kotex Tween post here, many mom's including myself, are nervous that their daughter will ask a question that they don't know how to answer appropriately. If "Knowledge is Power" then I am a Super Hero because I have been eating up all the information I can about this stuff, now I feel more confident than ever about approaching Piper's questions with ease.

I also make it easy for Piper to find the information she is looking for without coming straight to me first, for example the book I gave her last year which I posted about here has been a great resource for us both. All I had to do was make the book available to her and let her know that I was available if she had any questions. I took a whole lot of pressure off myself when I realized that I didn't have to start with one big talk or "The Talk" as many call it, but that I could build up to it with many small moments woven throughout the time that Piper and I share together. Once I read the advice on the Kotex website on how to break the ice I felt so relieved. By starting with small conversations on the subject we can build up to a larger dialogue that we'll both feel more ready for when the time comes.

Talkable Moments:
  • Bonding. I noticed that Piper opens up to me more when we are spending time doing things that help us feel close and that make her feel more grown up. Pedicures at home, doing chores together that her younger siblings can't do, running an errand (just the two of us), doing crafts together, reading together, these are all activities that help us feel close. 
  • Reading Her Cues. When I make sure that these activities are truly one-on-one, we naturally end up with the privacy and intimacy that makes for comfort in asking questions of a personal nature. When we are having fun she wants to share more with me than at other times. 
  • Igniting Her Natural Curiosity. This step actually takes a little planning before the bonding and cue reading come into play. Some things I have done to ignite Piper's curiosity are to give her age appropriate books on the subject and also to leave age appropriate books around the house where she'll see them, even though I haven't put them directly in her hands. This gives her a chance to explore the subject a bit on her own, and because the books weren't hidden or treated as something that she "shouldn't" be looking at, she is comfortable asking me about them when we have some private time. Additionally, Kotex sent me a fabulous stash of U by Kotex Tween pads and liners for Piper to use when she's ready. I promptly put these on the shelf in the bathroom that Piper uses (next to her bedroom) and it didn't take long for her to ask me about them. I felt that by leaving them in an area where they were visible and not hidden, I automatically sent the message that there was nothing to be embarrassed about and that this was something she could ask me about. It seemed natural that they would be stacked neatly amongst her other personal care products. 
Ladies Holiday, Copyright 2012

     These are only a few examples of the many ways you can get her gears turning on the subject which may lead to the little talks you'll have during your bonding time and by reading her cues, which you may not have to do because she may just ask! Piper and I had a short and simple "Talkable Moment" just recently, after I had placed those U by Kotex Tween pads on her bathroom shelf. We were painting our toe-nails together, no one else was around, the conversation quite simply went like this:

Piper: "Hey mom, I noticed when I was getting the cotton balls that there were some...boxes? On the shelf in my bathroom? They were sort of that"
Me [all nonchalant and cool-like]: "Oh, yes, I did put those up for you. They are pads for when you get your period someday. They're pretty cool because they're made especially for girls your age so that they fit just right in your underwear. Pretty cool huh?"
Piper [interest peaked and all smiles]: "Oh, coooool. I saw them up there and I was like 'hmmm...I wonder if those are for me?'
Me: "Yup, they sure are, and sometime soon we can talk more about how to use them when you need them. Do you have any questions right now?"
Piper: "I don't know...when do you think [the first period] will happen?"
Me: "It's hard to say, girls start at lots of different ages. Maybe later we can take a look in your American Girl body book and find out if there are any signs to let you know if you're getting close."
Piper: "Oh yeah, good idea mom. So, do you want purple or orange stripes on your nails?"

     As you can see, it was pretty easy to tell when she wanted to start talking about it and also when she was ready to move on from the conversation. All I had to do was follow her lead, when she made it clear that she was done talking about it, I let the subject drop. I imagine it also felt good to her having the freedom to ask and the control to set the boundary for when she was done with the subject. We've had quite a few little conversations like that recently and I think we are about ready to have the well-planned, sit down talk that Kotex suggests you plan and set a date for. I have been feeling for awhile now that I needed to have "the Talk" with Piper, but I kept putting it off. Since I've been participating in the U by Kotex Tween Ambassador program my jitters have been wiped away, knowing how easy it is to keep putting off the talk indefinitely, I appreciate the advice on the Kotex website for setting a date that I plan to have the talk, but building up to it first with many "Talkable Moments" as I've shared with you today.  It's also been helpful for me to make some distinctions about what said talk will entail...Piper's 9-years-old, we can and should have the period talk soon, but that doesn't mean we have to have the sex talk yet...although I feel that many of the tips I've been getting from Kotex to prepare for the period talk will be helpful for our future talk on sexuality as well.

     We live in a time when information is more accessible than ever before, I want to make sure that my girls get the right information and that they can feel secure, comfortable and even excited about the changes that will happen to their bodies during puberty. The best way to ensure that is for me to be the person she can go to and rely on for honesty, information, and the hugs and comfort that will reassure her as she changes. Bonding, knowing her well enough to read her cues, and creating talkable moments  with help to foster just such a relationship. If you are looking for more information to help you in this or a similar journey with your child, I highly recommend you check out the Kotex website's resources for parents, you can find them here. Next month, Deirdre will share with you some tips on preparing your daughter for the possibility of starting her first period while at school. Kotex sent us each these great little bags to pack with helpful items to keep our girls prepared:

Ladies Holiday, Copyright 2012
     We hope you'll check back often for Deirdre's post, due in September. Until then, please feel free to comment on this post and share ways that you are helping to set the stage for talking with your daughter about her period. If you've already had the talk, how did it go? What would you have done differently or what made it work so well? We always love to hear your voices.

In health, 

“I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

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  1. A topic I don't really look forward to addressing with my daughter when she gets older, but I will have to knuckle down and provide her with as much information as possible. Luckily right now she is 3!

    Nice post Tamar!

    1. Thanks Rachel,

      I can totally relate to the feeling you describe, but I promise you, it's turning out to be much easier than I'd anticipated. One of the most helpful things for me was reading the book that I gave my daughter to read, it helped me get a better idea of how I should word things and how much information I should/needed to share with her at this stage in the game. Plus I try to remember how much I love to be a woman and share that joy with her :)

      Always love to hear from you!

  2. Wow - this is a great way to go about it!! Even though this doesn't apply to me, thanks so much for blogging about it! I'm glad you linked up to Take it on Tuesday!


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