Disclaimer: This post is intended for GIRLS. I am not a professional, and most of my advice comes from personal experience as well as knowledge I have gained from other sources.
There are some things that are not easy to tell your parents. From the tiny things such as feeding your veggies to the dog as a kid, or getting in trouble in class and having to turn a card, or whatever that teacher chooses as discipline in elementary school, to the more serious things such as problems in school or other issues that you may be having (this is something I'll discuss in another post). We can often predict our parents reactions to certain things, and it keeps us from wanting to say anything. We often think that either they will be mad or disappointed, or even worse? They will smother us with that "oh my baby!" stuff, so embarrassing! However, there comes a point in every girls life, or should i say every teens life, when we will need to talk to our parents about, well, growing up. There's really no avoiding it, unless you really want to buy all of your feminine products on your own as you grow up. And really, they're going to figure it out anyways at some point, because puberty is a well known fact of life. They know about when to expect it, and what to expect. There's really no point in trying to hide it.
When I first started going through puberty, I was really afraid to talk to my mom about any of it at first. I knew how she was going to react. "My baby girl is growing up!" and a tight hug. Something I found really uncomfortable when I was eleven/ twelve years old. The thought gave me chills, and I did not, and still don't, like to feel smothered. A few things my mom sort of figured out on her own just by looking at me such as the need for bras, and needing to start shaving, and that was an easy conversation to get into. However when it came to, my monthly friend, that is another story entirely. I didn't end up telling my mom that I got it until my second period. I just threw out messed up panties (ew, but it happens), and hid my used pads, which were pre-bought for when I did start, at the bottom of the trash can and covered them with tissues. However, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to keep hiding it forever, especially once I ran out of pads and needed a new pack. So I decided to tell her when I got my second period. And let me tell you, telling her was a relief.
She did get into that "my baby" thing, but it wasn't nearly as bad as imagined. She didn't go on for hours and hours with it, but did allow me to talk about it without being smothered. Telling her also allowed for me to give a good reason as to why I'm moody from PMS or why I don't feel like doing much because of cramps later on. It also made for some interesting conversation with my mom about growing up. Plus it felt much better not having to try to hide it, and knowing that I could easily tell her when I needed a new pack of feminine products. She never brought it up around other family or friends, or in public. Shopping for bras, pads, tampons, and other products was no bigger deal then shopping for groceries for me with my mom.
While I did tell my mom by the time I had my second period, I didn't tell my dad until I was thirteen or fourteen, and I only did because I absolutely had to. I found it easier to talk to my mom, and other females about it, simply because they were women as well and knew what it was all about. But I really did not want to talk to my dad about it, and I wanted to avoid telling him as much as I possibly could. But then one weekend when it was his weekend to have me over, my monthly friend paid a visit, and I no pads or tampons with me, and he of course, being a guy, didn't have any in the apartment. So I had no other choice but to tell him, and being thirteen/ fourteen and highly self conscious, it seemed like a huge deal to me. I thought for sure he would do or say something embarrassing about it. I didn't want to be seen buying pads with my dad, and letting the whole world know that, yes I am a girl and I hit puberty. I thought everyone was going to be looking at me at the store with my dad, and that he would make some kind of scene. But I knew that if I didn't tell him, it would end up in a yucky mess. (ew again!)
Again, looking back on it, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. He didn't even get into the "my little girl" thing. He was actually really understanding of it, and he knew that this was going to happen at some point. He did slightly tease me for it, probably because I was making it to be a bigger deal then it really was, but it was nothing major. He just joked about dancing down the aisles with the pack of pads because I was afraid to be seen buying them, but he didn't do it, LOL. All in all though, it wasn't a huge deal. Most people wouldn't have even seen me pick them up, and if they did, they really wouldn't think anything of it. Think about it; do you typically notice someone going to buy hygiene products, or anything else for the matter? And if you do, how much thought do you really put into it? Probably none. How likely are you to see a stranger from the store again? Not very likely.
Now back to telling your parents... More then likely, if you are able to, you most likely will want to talk to you mother first, since she's been through it as well and can help you with it best. But if your mom isn't around for any reason, or if you are in an emergency situation, you may need to tell your dad first (or at another time in my case). Either way he'll know at some point, once you reach a certain age he'll know by default, even if he doesn't say anything. But knowing that you can't hide it, and really shouldn't try to hide it, you have to find a way to tell them that makes you feel comfortable. You may feel comfortable using one way on one parent, and another on the other. You may want to tell them each in the same way, or even sit them down and tell them at the same time. It's really up to you and what makes you feel comfortable. You don't have to say it at your family reunion or at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for your whole family to know, nor will your parents likely bring it up in any social situation. It'll be between you and them, and I'm sure that if you ask, they'll reassure you of that.
Here are just a few ways to start the conversation with your parents (please feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments)
"Mom (Dad), I think I _________" (Fill in the blank with: started my period, need a bra, ect.)
"Mom (Dad) I need some ______" (Bras, pads, ect.)
"Mom (Dad) guess what?! ...."
Casually bring it up:
"So today I have been thinking that it may be time for us to go shopping for ______ (bras, pads, ect.)
"Mom (Dad) I have tell you something..."
"So as you know, I am getting into/ closer to my teen years, and I'm growing up and...."
Work it into conversation:
How was your day? "It was pretty good, I (small summary of the day), and I also ______ (started my period/ got thinking that I may need some bras.)
Start a conversation with your mom about her life growing up and then work it into the conversation
Leave a note or send a text: if you don't feel comfortable saying it, you can write it down for them to read.
After telling your mom or dad. They will generally allow you to ask questions. Your mom may even share her period stories with you and give you advice. The subject will stay between you and your parents, and honestly you won't even need to talk about it often, unless you have questions or concerns. And don't be afraid to ask!