what should i tell my daughter?

CarynDecember 26, 2001

When I used the bathroom this morning, I forgot to flush it immediately and my 5 year old daughter came in and saw blood in the toilet. ( I had my period today.) Of course, she asked me why I was bleeding.

What exactly do you tell her? I'm not good at explaining these things with my kids. And even if I did, I doubt if she would even understand. Has this happened to any of you before?

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She probably just wants to know that you're ok. I'd just say that Mommy's sometimes bleed but then are ok and that you're not sick or anything.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2001 at 1:10PM
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Yep, I'd say pretty much the same thing. Simple, reassuring her that you are fine. It doesn't require any further explanation unless she asks more questions. Answer what she asks with the simplest version of the truth possible.

I've had this conversation with my sons over similar incidents. But DS#1 is the question man! Always one more question! So when they asked why moms bleed, I told them it is something that happens when a women is grown up and it has to do with her body staying healthy in case she wants to have a baby. Like above, I made sure they understood that it does not hurt me and it doesn't mean I am sick.

But they continued, do I bleed all the time? Does it ever stop? I answered exactly what they asked. No, it happens a few days each month. It stops when I am going to have a baby.

It is ackward at first to answer these personal kinds of questions. But you get used to it if you just answer simple and honestly the question they asked, don't feel like you have to have "the talk" every time they ask a question about bodies. It will all come out over the next several years one question at a time, so they have time to digest it.

Don't forget, someday she will be facing changes in her own body. If you answer the questions calmly and honestly now, you'll send the message that all these things are normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Have confidence in answering her questions now, it will help her develop confidence in her body and trust in you in the future.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2001 at 1:32PM
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I agree with Stephanie - I have 3 boys and the older 2 have asked dozens of questions about tampons, pads, etc they find in the bathroom drawer. My mom reacted with anger at any innocent question when I was a kid, told me to stay out of her stuff, etc. With that memory in mind, I just calmly answered the women bleed so they can have babies, and that when they don't bleed it means they will have a baby. Both boys have since asked repeatedly if we are going to have another baby (they have a baby brother). I just tell them no, it's not that time, and we may not have any more babies in the house. Kids are just curious and want to know what's going on. Answer simply and honestly and try not to get flustered. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2001 at 3:34PM
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I told my daughter when she was old enough to notice that grown up ladies bleed once a month - it's just the way things are. As she got older, she had more questions, which I answered & told her about human development. By the time she started her period, she was primed & ready & didn't consider it a traumatic event at all.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2001 at 10:07PM
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I would add that "this" type of bleeding is not the same kind that you get when you're cut. In fact, it isn't really "bleeding" at all--it's just a woman's body getting rid of a nice warm bed it was preparing for a baby, since there isn't a baby this month. Of course that's easy for me to say, having only boys. I get equally uncomfortable when my younger sons ask me, "Hey mom, why is my penis hard?" LOL!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2001 at 12:24AM
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You can name it. That is, just referring to 'bleeding' might be scary for a 5 year old who has an understanding of what bleeding is, and that probably includes pain and feeling wounded. If you want to call it menstruation, or period, or whatever that can help the child to keep this kind of bleeding in a separate brain file.

'Oh it's just menstration, or me menstruating' or something like that where you're ok and calm about it may be fine. Also, a statement like like gives the child a chance to ask questions they may have (they may not have any, or might have some later).

the thing is, it's not like what a 5 year old normally views as 'bleeding' so if they want to know why you are bleeding it can help to give a new name to this process of sloughing off uterine lining tissue (which looks like bleeding, and which does involve blood but which is not the same thing as being hurt and bleeding)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2001 at 1:48AM
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I totally agree with amygdala against using "bleeding" to describe menstruation. (She *does* so often give such good advice!) When I was scrolling through the replies to the posting, even I felt a slight jarring at the suggestions to just say that "mommies bleed sometimes" - it definitely would sound scary to many small children who associate bleeding with pain.

As an aside, when my cousins were younger they were wrestling and one of them scraped his head on the bed frame. Afraid of getting into trouble for wrestling in the bedroom, they went into the closet to get a bandaid and take care of the problem themselves. A while later they came downstairs and Billy had a Kotex stuck to his forehead - the boys were proud of the bandaging they had done with the "big bandaid" they found.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2001 at 10:18AM
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I would just tell her the truth in 5 yr old terms as mentioned above. Let her know it happens to women once a month beacuse that is the way women were made and explain it doesnt hurt.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2001 at 10:35AM
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Whoa. I must be one of those crazy mothers who give too much information.

I also have a 5 year old daughter who I do everything with (I am a single parent).

We go to the bathroom together, take baths together, etc., and I am always brutally honest with everything she asks me. I can remember my own mother side-stepping everything so when puberty hit I was knocked out. Literally, I didn't know a darn thing and it was a confusing and weird time.

My daughter knows what periods are, knows what happens every month, "sees" it and even just loves to hand me tampons and the like. I have explained it in full detail.

When I had my tubal two months ago she went to the hospital with me and she saw the bandages on my stomach. She also noticed the large amount of blood afterwards (uterine bleeding) and I explained what all that was, that mommy had her baby-making parts removed.

As a result of me being brutally honest my daughter understands very adult matters, way moreso than her friends her age. I sat and tried to answer my niece's questions about periods and female related issues (she is 10 years old and has many questions which her mother will NOT answer) and she was baffled... she didn't understand anything at all. I believe mothers should be very honest and open about periods and menstruating and especially fertility; after all, those little girls will be teenagers before you know it and they need to approach puberty full of knowledge about how their bodies work! My mom, as I said, never mentioned a word and I had to learn it all on my own. When I was 13 I truly thought that if you kissed or touched a boy you could get pregnant because these are the lies she told me.

Your daughter WILL understand if you talk honestly with her, and use terms she will understand.

- darkeyedgirl

    Bookmark   December 27, 2001 at 3:13PM
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I told my dd (4 or 5 at the time) that a healthy woman's body continually makes/stores extra blood in case a baby would need it. If there is no baby, the excess blood flows out (can't even feel it!) and the process begins again, so there is always a fresh supply of extra blood to feed a baby.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2002 at 5:05PM
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You could tell them like my mom said. I too saw blood in toilet she said she fell on ice and when she thought I was about to get my period she told me I have pads for you ,when you get sick. when this happens come tell me. Ill never forget it I felt fine. so I was honest with my daughter that was rediculous...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2002 at 8:55AM
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