How many times I have heard this question. The answer is nuanced and there is not straight yes or no. I recommend that the parent first watches the TEDx talk – The Virginity Fraud
So if we understand the anatomy, the only difference between a virgin girl at 11 and a married one at 21 is potentially a hymen. If after watching the talk, parent makes an informed choice that they would not like hymen to be potentially damaged, they can choose cloth pads. If not, they can introduce their daughter to a menstrual cup – the easiest way to manage periods!
My sister and me were active girls. When i was in 9th standard, my mom had introduced me to a tampon as she felt that given i had done horse riding, was swimming, was doing Taekwondo, it was highly likely that i would have lost my hymen and tampons would allow me to even do Taekwando during my periods. She had spoken to a gynaecologist, had become a user for 6 months before introducing it to us. At 24, when I lost my virginity, I realized that my hymen was still intact!
Circa 2015, my elder daughter T started her periods. She had precocious puberty so started early. When she was 10, she had been a cloth pad user and was a school athletic star. I bought a cup for her based on recommendation of a popular website – i personally believe hymen is overrated piece of tissue. The cup was expensive, short and hard. My daughter tried using it few times, was unsuccessful and said that is a product not for her! When she was 11, we launched StoneSoup menstrual cups. Green cup – the softest cup we have – is the one she picked up for herself after 6 months. As I saw her trying to wear it, i also noticed her fear and clenched muscles. There was no way anything was going to get in! Since she was now competing at next level in athletics, i got tiny tampons for her. They were terrible as too small but she loved them and migrated to regular tampons. Given that she listened to my sustainable menstruation gyaan, she used tampons during her training or competitions but used cloth pads during the rest of the time.
My younger one L started assembling her period kit when she was 9.5! She wanted her periods. Colourful cloth pads, period panty and StoneSoup green cups were things she chose. An year later, she started her periods. Cloth pads is what she started with. Clenched muscles and failed cup attempt. Clenched muscles but sister guiding her and she migrated to tampons! Given that she is a gymnast, using cloth pad was not an option during daily practice sessions nor missing training for 3-4 days in a month. Tampons and cloth pads became her period care choices. An year later, i decided instead of me guiding her on wearing a cup, i will also bring her sister in. Clenched muscles and failed attempts – 1, 2,3. and then her naughtiness kicked in and we had some crazy stuff and laugh riot. As T and I were rolling with laughter, Lila tried and it just went in. She got up and said she could feel it. We got her to push it, jump around and she forgot about it soon.
Next day morning she complained it took her 10 minutes but by afternoon she was a pro! And she finished her period with cup for the next 2 days. And since then she is unstoppable, raving about the cup to her aunt in Canada to her friends in school,from her neighbors to absolute strangers, the cup-bug has caught her too. She has now donned the cape of super hero or rather super woman spreading the joy of being cup-vert to everyone she meets. The last I heard her say was “Mom ,when am I going to get periods next? I cant wait ! “
P.S – The best technique to insert the cup is laughing technique. Laugh as much as you can and then try inserting the cup (wink)