Half of parents say discussing periods with their children makes them feel uncomfortable

The study of 1,000 parents of children aged eight to 16, and 500 teachers of pupils aged eight to 14, looks to answer often raised questions around period education and their knowledge of the topic

Richard Jenkins
Monday 21 August 2023 22:52 BST
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The research was carried out by Always as they look to introduce a new content series, as part of their puberty and period lessons in secondary schools
The research was carried out by Always as they look to introduce a new content series, as part of their puberty and period lessons in secondary schools (PA Wire)

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Almost half of parents say discussing period education with their children makes them feel uncomfortable - as do over a third of teachers with students.

The pressure of such a key conversation in a young person’s life means 68 per cent of teachers worry about being seen as insensitive if they say something wrong to students.

While over a quarter of parents (26 per cent) have the same concern with their own child.

The study of 1,000 parents of children aged eight to 16, and 500 teachers of pupils aged eight to 14, looks to answer often raised questions around period education and their knowledge and confidence around the topic.

The research was carried out by Always as they look to introduce a new content series, as part of their puberty and period lessons in secondary schools.

It will feature TV couple Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson in a bid to improve period education for everyone and engage more with teens around the topic to ensure those about to experience their first period, and their support groups, can be better prepared and informed.

Zara McDermott said: “First periods can be a nerve-wracking experience if you don’t know what to expect.

“I realised that in order for me to be a better ally, I also need to be better educated on the topic of periods”
“I realised that in order for me to be a better ally, I also need to be better educated on the topic of periods” (SWNS)

“The content series looks to provide advice around what changes to expect and what period products you need to feel protected whatever your flow.

“This will help so many people given that currently, only 58 per cent of parents with a child set to experience periods put a pad in their child’s bag.”

Sam Thompson added: “While making the content series, I found myself embarrassed by my lack of knowledge around periods.

“It made me realise that in order for me to be a better ally, I also need to be better educated on the topic of periods.

“That way, we can go further towards breaking the taboos around periods, normalising the conversation and supporting anyone set to experience their first one, so no one feels unprepared.”

More than a third (34 per cent) of parents said their child has asked them a question related to puberty education that they didn’t know how to answer.

The experts felt the need for knowledge too as 84 per cent of teachers felt educating students about puberty is challenging, with a quarter not feeling equipped to do so.

Under half of teachers (46 per cent) believe the current curriculum’s coverage of puberty changes is sufficient, although 83 per cent welcome additional training to better address the topic with students.

The research carried out via OnePoll found 40 per cent of eight to 16 years old boys admitted they don’t know much or anything at all about periods.

And 48 per cent of parents believed that boys were not adequately informed about periods, something echoed by four in 10 teachers.

Emma Gerrard, brand director for Always UK, said: “Preparing for first periods can be a daunting experience for everyone involved, especially if you don’t know what to expect. It was important for us to design a content series with everyone in mind.

“Zara and Sam have been great in helping to make periods part of our everyday conversations.

“Parents, teachers and teens are looking for more information to help them feel more confident and informed.

“These first period experiences stay with us, and we want to make it as helpful and positive as possible.”

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