Most men admit it – periods freak them out a little. Is it worth the effort to help them overcome their menstrual misunderstandings? What if they were actually supportive – even low key supportive. We don’t need men cheering us on when we start, or making a big deal about our miraculous monthly, but we DO need men to be cool with it and not stutter or cover their ears when we mention menstruation. How nice would it be for him to grab a box of your favorite fem care products when he sees it on sale? Yeah. We have some work to do.
Sure, we women can continue buying our own stuff and managing just fine, right? But for those men with daughters, it’s actually important to help him loosen up when it comes to lady stuff.
Researchers in girls’ self-esteem report that daughters with emotionally distant fathers often struggle with self-worth and body image issues. But girls with fathers who stay connected and involved throughout adolescence show greater confidence in their relationships. When dads (and moms) make it clear that they are comfortable discussing periods, they send the message that it’s ok to talk openly about reproductive health, and THAT is a gift. Kids who have open and honest conversations about reproductive health make better decisions about sex and relationships.
Sound like a lot for a dad to conquer? You can get results with some simple steps!
Here are 6 steps for helping him become the perfect low-key period support guy.
Model comfort. The best way to get him more comfortable is to show your own comfort. Stop whispering about it. Stop using code names for your period or lady parts. Stop hiding your pads, tampons and menstrual cups. Stop putting your femcare products under the other stuff in your shopping basket. The more he sees and hears your comfort, the more inspired he will be to handle it the same way.
Review the basics. If he’s confused about the menstrual cycle, grab a puberty book (download our free one here) and help him understand it. Reading a puberty book together can, itself, be a funny yet informative shared experience!
Take a field trip. Next time you’re at the store together, stroll down the personal care aisle and show him the fem care products you like. Talk (out loud) about the different products and why you like what you like. Make it fun, keep it light, and he’ll catch on that buying pads and tampons is no different than buying toilet paper!
Give him your wish list. Send him a picture of your preferred products to keep on his phone so he never has an excuse for not knowing what to get. Then, encourage him to watch for sales if he has shopping duty. Bonus points if he delivers.
Use proper terms. If he’s gearing up to be a supportive dad, get him involved and talking early! Whether you have sons or daughters, use proper terms for anatomy from the beginning, and help him stay approachable and askable when those body and baby questions come up. No stuttering. No changing the topic. Practice providing simple, matter-of-fact answers.
Keep him involved. As your daughters’ bodies begin to change in puberty, don’t keep it a secret from Dad. Fathers can add a wonderfully important layer of matter-of-factness and humor that gives their daughters an extra boost of confidence and no-biggie attitude as they begin a transition that too often involves shame and embarrassment. Then, if she’s alone with dad when she starts her first period – they’ll handle it together in their own low-key way as they continue to strengthen a bond that will boost her confidence for years to come.