It used to be when I was growing up girls could attend etiquette classes. You would learn how to properly fold a napkin and hold a fork, how to address thank you notes and your elders, and how to entertain your future husband’s coworkers. Now, etiquette has a whole new twist due to the explosion of social media sites. Parents of course hold the reins here, saying ‘no’ to your children about social media sites is a common practice. For those parents who do let their kids sign on to Facebook or other sites, it is imperative to teach your children proper etiquette for using the sites and to also protect themselves from misuse of the site by their Facebook friends.
Yesterday kicked off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The National Eating Disorders Organization is committed to helping those who suffer from eating disorders and helps their family members cope also. In this day and age when the definition of beauty is so often determined by rail thin models, it is really important for us to teach our daughters what a normal, healthy body weight is and how to enjoy food without guilt. Take a few minutes and browse through the website to learn more about this important organization and how you can spread the word during this spotlight week.
Continuing our series about period facts is today’s topic that is usually uppermost in a young girl’s mind – how much blood will there be? Assure your daughters that it’s really not so much and it doesn’t come gushing out like a cut. Menstrual blood dribbles out a little at a time. The amount will vary from girl to girl but will be around one to six tablespoons. Sometimes the blood has clumps in it which is normal too. Menstrual blood is really a mixture of blood and the broken down lining of the uterus.
Before She Gets Her Period, by Jessica Gillooly PhD
Once a year, Dot Girl Products hosts a talk in Seattle for parents of girls and Jessica Gillooly has always been a popular speaker at the talk. Jessica’s book, Before She Gets Her Period, is a must have for any parent wondering how she/he should prepare for their daughter’s first period – yes, there is a book for dads and even brothers.
The book is based on surveys and interviews that Jessica held with young women and their parents over the years. For moms, there are exercises on remembering your own first period experience, gathering stories from your female relatives, and putting the stories into a format for a talk with your daughter. Jessica stresses throughout the book that girls want to hear this information from their parents, even if you think your daughter might not be listening to you, she really is.
My take-away from the book was the realization that women are the same everywhere when it comes to periods. Except in very rare medical instances, we will all have the ‘first period’ experience. And your daughter needs to know that BEFORE she starts her period.
You may find Before She Gets Her Period at Amazon.com. Be sure and read the reviews, they all give this book a positive rating.
Caution – some of the language in this video may not be appropriate for young children. When you are done watching the video, tell me, did he really need to shoot the laptop? I agree that the daughter choose the wrong medium to complain about her parents. I can’t help thinking about my own childhood, I mean, sure, we would complain about our parents, but to our friends in the room, and it couldn’t be texted or tweeted since those technologies did not even exist then. It could be repeated of course, but on a much smaller scale.
I strongly believe that children do learn from their parent’s examples of behavior. And this daughter has just witnessed an example of her parent being violent to settle a grievance however justified that grievance may be. The father definitely knew how to get his daughter’s attention – but did he really need to shoot the laptop?
This post is second in our series about period facts – helping you to explain periods to your daughter. In our first post last week we talked about what a period is, now we do a little explaining about how long a menstrual cycle lasts.
A menstrual cycle includes the whole process from when an ovary first releases an egg and lasts until the next egg is released. To know how many days a whole cycle lasts, a girl can count the days from the first day of her last period to the first day of her next period. Usually a menstrual cycle is about 28 days but it’s OK if the cycle is shorter or longer. Remember that it may take up to a year for a girl to settle into a regular cycle.
Help your daughter to track her menstrual cycle using the free Dot Girl Period Calendar. Knowing her cycle will help her be prepared with supplies, especially if she is away from home for an overnight camp or other activity.
Although Valentine’s Day is all about hearts and flowers, there are times when relationships are not so rosy and may even turn abusive. This is not something we want our daughters to face, but according to a 2008 study commissioned by Liz Claiborne and LoveisRespect.org:
– 69 percent of all teens who had sex by age 14 said they have gone through one or more types of abuse in a relationship.
– 40 percent of the youngest tweens, those between the ages of 11 and 12, report that their friends are victims of verbal abuse in relationships, and nearly one-in-ten (9 percent) say their friends have had sex.
Clearly our daughters need to learn how to manage themselves in relationships, from establishing boundaries, to learning how to say ‘no’, to knowing who to talk to if she feels in danger. The best teaching tool we can use is modeling appropriate relationships in our own lives whether that be with our partner, family or co- workers, and especially with the interactions we have with our children. Also, the media is filled with examples of couples acting appropriately and inappropriately. Discuss these examples with your daughter and whether or not they fit in with your relationship values.
And then educate your daughter about dating violence. LoveisRespect.org has excellent information on dating basics, what is and is not healthy in a relationship, and what to do if she needs help.
In the next few months, we’ll be covering various topics related to periods to help parents explain to their daughters the changes that are taking place in their bodies. We start off with a simple explanation of a menstrual period.
When a girl’s body gets to the right stage of development, it will start to release an egg each month of one of the two ovaries. The lining of the uterus will thicken in preparation to hold and nourish a fertilized egg.
The egg is released two weeks before bleeding starts. Most of the time the egg is not fertilized causing it to be flushed from the body through the vagina along with the lining of the uterus. A menstrual period is that time when the egg and uterine tissue are being flushed. A girl’s first period is typically light and may not be regular for several months.
One of the joys of parenting is getting to teach your kids all about sex. Some may say that is also a big drawback of being parents, but they haven’t heard about Amy Lang of Birds + Bees + Kids. Amy’s mission in life is to help parents, no matter what your comfort level, learn how to communicate with their kids about sex in the framework of their own values. Don’t know how to start the conversation? Amy has scripts for many topics. Wandering when best to start talking to your kids? Amy breaks down age groups and appropriate topics for each group. Dot Girl has also partnered with Amy on her class Period Prep for Parents of Girls and we learn something every time! So if you keep putting off this task, we suggest you check out Amy’s website and get going. Remember, the kids want to hear it from you.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take your kids on an around the world adventure sampling food from different cultures? I found one mom doing this without even leaving her town of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sasha Martin of Global Table Adventure is cooking recipes from one country at a time, one week at a time while helping her family and her readers learn about international food like a local. Her blog includes recipes for the featured meal of the week, techniques on how to cook different food and even an interactive map tracking her alphabetical progress as she cooks across the globe. And not to worry, Sasha does all her shopping locally, and you can too. What a fun way to teach your kids about the world and how food, common to us all, is cooked and prepared. You can even expand on the meal concept and explore the culture further – what are schools like in the country of the week, what do kids do for fun on the weekends, what music is popular and even how girls celebrate their first periods, one more example that we each have so much in common with each other no matter what country we live in.