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It's Time to Celebrate Periods!

January 04, 20234 min read

I want to turn the tables on the traditional puberty and period talk. I want moms to reconsider this idea because I want their daughters to view the experience in a more positive light. As someone who has taught puberty classes for over 25 years, I’ve always tried to put a positive spin on the entire puberty experience. Resistance has always been there, but I’ve persevered.

I realize for many, the concept of celebrating puberty and one’s period might be a new and challenging concept. Could this be due to the fact it’s had a shame-based view for generations? I think so.

I believe now is the perfect time to change our mindset about how girls and women view puberty, periods, and their bodies in general.

The reality is that all girls go through puberty, and eventually, they get their periods. I invite all mothers to help their daughters make this transition with a positive attitude. Why is it so important? When young women enter this stage, how they view their physical and emotional changes will impact their self-esteem and body image for the rest of their lives.

What do I mean when I say celebrate? Many countries have traditions that celebrate the onset of menses. In South India, girls are celebrated with a ritual bath, dressed in fine traditional clothing, and showered with blessings and gifts. In Italy, they’re addressed as “signorina,” which means “miss” or “young lady.” Italian girls’ families and relatives are all given the good news of their first period, and celebration ensues. In Iceland, girls get a very special cake, red and white, symbolizing their milestone in life. That’s what celebration looks like.

Here … not so much. If and when anything is said, a girl might get a book, a class, or a mom might sit down and talk about the changes that will be happening to her. But will any of those experiences include a discussion about how to celebrate this important rite of passage? Usually not.

As a sexual health educator, I haven’t seen much celebrating over getting one’s period. In reality, quite the opposite. Getting one’s period in our country often comes with fear, anxiety, and shame over the unknown, along with generations of negative beliefs and attitudes.

At the end of my puberty classes, I explain that celebrating this transition is very important, and after they all stop laughing, I ask them how it might be important to celebrate this amazing time in their lives — a rite of passage. Usually, I’ve stumped both girls and mothers.

I’ve had girls come up with going shopping for period products, and others have jumped in with getting red velvet cupcakes; the best was one girl looking at her mom and saying they should go to Maui. I applauded her for her creativity and just added to be careful if they went out for a meal and had a server come to their table singing: “Happy period to you. Happy period to you.” The class all laughed, and I said that humor was a must, along with celebration.

I always ask girls how they feel about puberty after taking my classes. One girl said that even though she was still having some concerns, she was glad to have a class that made her feel better about being a girl and excited about the prospect of creating something cool to celebrate. A mom once shared that all she’d gotten as a child was the negative, which made her feel fearful and worried, and the idea of creating a celebration made her feel more positive about being a woman and sharing the process with her daughter.

The term celebration means “a time or special event in honor of something or a transition.” Think of all the events in our lives we celebrate: a baby’s first step, graduations, learning to ride a bike, losing one’s first tooth … I believe, especially for girls, finding a way to celebrate this rite of passage will set the stage for fully embracing not only puberty but what makes being a woman so amazing.

Here are some celebration ideas. (Can you come up with some of your own?)

  • Period party, with red velvet cake

  • Shopping for supplies for a Period Kit (Mom, put a special note in the kit)

  • Shopping for period underwear

  • Mani/Pedi – with red nail polish

  • Bring home a bunch of red balloons

  • Make up a special period song

  • Have a special ceremony

  • Purchase the journal “Just Between Us”

  • Go out to dinner

  • Take a mother/daughter puberty class

  • Go to Maui!

Whatever you and your daughter pick, you’ll be making new memories that will have a positive impact now and in the future. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for women to truly embrace every aspect of themselves in celebration of how we’ve been created?

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Booklist, Title, Author and Category

Girls Books

The Care and Keeping of YOU, The Body Book for Girls

By American Girl Library

The Care and Keeping of Me, the Body Book Journal

By American Girl Library

The Feelings Book, The Care & Keeping of Your Emotions

By American Girl Library

The Period Book, Everything You Don’t Want to Ask (But Need to Know)

Karen & Jennifer Gravelle

What’s Happening to me?

By Susan Meredith

Growing Up, It’s a Girl Thing. Straight Talk About First Bra, First Period and Changing Body,

By Mavis Jukes

Girls Guide to Becoming a Teen, Getting Use to Life in Your Changing Body

By AMA, American Medical Association

The Period Book, Everything You Don’t Want to Ask (But Need to Know)

by Louise, Greenspan, MD & Julianna Deardorff, PhD

QUEEN BEES WANNABES, Helping Your Daughter
Survive Cliques, Gossip, boyfriends,
and the New Realities of Girl World

By Rosalind Wiseman

Special Parent-Daughter Books

Embracing Persephone, How to Be the Mother You Want For Your Daughter

, by Virginia Beane Rutter

Celebrating Girls, Nurturing and Empowering Our Daughters

By Virginia Beane Rutter

Why A Daughter Needs A Dad(I added this book to remind dads that they’re important. It doesn’t mean girls can grow and thrive without a father)

By Gregory E. Lang

Boys Books

The Boy’s Body Book, Everything You Need to Know About Growing up You,

By Kelli Dunham, RN

Guy Stuff the Body Book for Boys

By Dr. Cara Natterson

What’s Going on Down There? Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask

By Karen Gravelle

Just for Boys, A Book About
Growing Up

by Matt Crossick

Teen Books

Girls Guide to Becoming a Teen, Getting Use to Life in Your Changing Body

By AMA, American Medical Association

Boy Guide to Becoming a Teen, Getting Use to Life in Your Changing Body.

By AMA, American Medical Association

“The What’s Happening to My Boy?” Book For Boys

By Lynda Madars

The TEEN HEALTH BOOK, A Parents Guide to Adolescent Health And Wellbeing

By Ralph I. Lopez, M.D.

SEX, PUBERTY,
AND ALL THAT STUFF,
A GUIDE TO GROWING UP

Parenting Books on The Sex Talk and Other Topics

It’s Perfectly Normal, Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex & Sexual Health

By AMA, American Medical Association

Talking to your Kids About SEX, from toddlers to preteens a Go Parents! Guide

By TLouri Berkenkamp and Steven C. Atkins, Psy.D

The Thinking Parent’s Guide to Talking Sense About Sex

By ,Deborah M. Roffman

By Jacqui Bailey

So Sexy, So Soon, The New Sexualized Childhood, And What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids

By Diane E. Levin, PH.D and Jean Kilbourne, ED.D

Ten Talks Parents Must Have With Their Children, About Sex and Character

By Pepper Schwarz, Ph.D. and Dominic Cappello

GIRLS & SEX, Navigating the Complicated NEW LANDSCAPE

By Peggy Orenstein

100 QUESTIONS, YOU’D NEVER ASK YOUR PARENTS, Straight Answers to Teen’s Questions About Sex, Sexuality, and Healthy

By Elisabeth Henderson & Nancy Armstrong M.D

The Tween, Teen Brain & Social Media

The Primal Teen, WHAT THE NEW DISC OVERIES ABOUT THE TEENAGE BRAIN TELL US ABOUT OUR KIDS

By Barbara Strauch

American Girls, Social Media and Secret Lives of Teenagers

By Nancy Jo Sales

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

By Adam Alter

SOCIAL MEDIA SAFETY FOR TEENS: Parenting in the Digital Age to Help Teens Overcome Social Media Impacts on Mental Health

By James Edwards

Parenting Generation Screen:
Guiding Your Kids to
Be Wise in a Digital World

By Nancy Jo Sales

Kids' Brains & Screens:
A ScreenStrong Student Course

By Nancy Jo Sales

Extra

SEX EDUCATION, “Flat-out TERRIFIC TELEVISION” TAPE

A Child is Born

By Lennart Nilsson (visual experience from conception through birth)

THE FACTS OF LIFE, THE CLASSIC THREE-DIMENSIONAL BOOK

By Johnathan Miller and David Pelham

SOCIAL MEDIA SAFETY FOR TEENS: Parenting in the Digital Age to Help Teens Overcome Social Media Impacts on Mental Health

By James Edwards

Tabletop interactive parent/child Activity

For Women Only

Orgasms for Two, The Joy of Partner Sex

By Betty Dobson Ph.D

SEX FOR ONE

By Betty Dobson, Ph.D

The Art of SEXUAL ECSTASY, The Path of Scared Sexuality for Western Lovers

By Margo Anand

THE JOY OF SEX

By Dr. Alex Comfort

Sex and the Seasoned Woman,
Pursuing the Passionate Life

By Gail Sheehy

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