Important girl talk to have with your daughters
‘Half the 50% of the queries I receive are about periods -– missed, skipped, irregular, long, short, heavy and light periods. One of my major concerns is that mothers are too quick to rush their daughters off to a doctor or the clinic, where they’ are then put onto the pill to regulate their periods,’ she says.
- A cycle (from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period) can vary from 21 to 60 days, with the average being 28 days.
- It’s normal for young girls, particularly in the first two years of having atheir period, to have irregular cycles. ‘Many women never have “‘regular’” cycles, and girls need to understand this is normal, too.’
Girl talk on abstinence
Sister Burgie’s approach to teenage sex is one of abstinence.
‘I encourage young people to focus on their studies and future prospects, rather than obsessing about the opposite sex and engaging in high-risk behaviour. In instances where young people are already engaging in sexual activity, I talk about the possible repercussions, such as STIs, falling pregnant and the responsibility of bringing up a child.’ ‘I had slept with someone sex two weeks ago. Do you think I’m pregnant? ‘Questions like these indicate that young people are taking unnecessary risks, without knowing all the facts. It’s disconcerting that some comments suggest teenagers think they’re immune to HIV, STIs and falling pregnant.’
Girl talk about what real love is
What saddens her is the prevalence of young girls out there who desperately want to be loved. ‘This often results in a love/sex exchange between boys and girls, with boys offering love for sex and vice versa. When girls have sex, two hormones, dopamine and oxytocin (the ‘love hormones’) are released, which makes girls feel emotionally and physically attached to the boys, who in turn are no’t ready for this kind of relationship. This more often than notmostly leads to broken hearts and not the romantic outcome they expected. In addition, several young girls have said their boyfriends coerce them into sex.
‘Parents need to tell their children they don’t have to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. I think it boils down to communication, creating a loving family environment and encouraging children to follow their dreams,’ says Sister Burgie.
She acknowledges that many children grow up in dysfunctional family circumstances.
‘I explain to these young people that they are n’ot responsible for parenting their parents and not to blame for their parents’ choices. I encourage them to find someone they regard as wise and responsible – like a family member, grandparent or teacher – to talk to.’