It’s so easy to overstep boundaries when we confront our kids about something we’ve never been through. But sometimes overstepping these boundaries can help to curb a taboo subject, too.
And a father confronting his daughter about the proper way to dispose of her sanitary napkins is definitely up there with important subjects.
Redditor “No_Disk8160” shared his awkward conversation with his daughter on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit after he embarrassed his daughter and angered his wife for doing so.
The Redditor shared first how the situation started.
“I’m 38m and my daughter Chloe is 10. Chloe recently started her period. I discovered this after I went into the bathroom a few days ago and found a used sanitary pad floating in the toilet.”
“I knew it had to be left there by Chloe, since my wife uses tampons (and also throws them in the bin where they belong.)”
He figured he’d go ahead and get the conversation out of the way right away.
“Shortly after I came out of the bathroom, I saw Chloe sitting in the living room playing on her phone. My wife was out visiting her sister at the time, and since I didn’t know when she was getting back, I figured I might as well talk to Chloe about it right away.”
“I said something like: ‘Hey kiddo, I found a pad in the toilet. From now on, I’d like to ask you to fold them into a piece of toilet paper and put them in the trash. It’s OK that it happened this one time, but it could cause problems for the toilet if it happens again.'”
“Chloe turned bright red and screamed ‘Oh my god!’ while jumping off the couch and bolting into the bathroom. A moment later, she came running back into the living room and asked, ‘Where is it? I just looked in the toilet and I don’t see it at all!'”
“I explained to her that I had already fished it out with a bit of tissue and thrown it away. She fell completely silent and looked at me like I had two heads.”
“I assured her that it was not a big deal, just please remember to throw it in the bin next time. She looked very embarrassed and went into her room and didn’t come out until dinner.”
His wife didn’t appreciate how he handled the situation.
“When my wife returned home later on, she noticed that Chloe was acting a little funny, and asked me if something had happened while she was out. To my surprise, she became very upset with me when I told her about the incident.”
“From my wife’s point of view, Chloe must have been mortified to learn that her father not only found her used pad, but had to fish it out of the toilet. She said that I should have realized how embarrassing it would be for my daughter to hear this from me, and that it was thickheaded to not just wait for my wife to get home and let her deal with it.”
But he felt keeping the conversation open was for the best.
“From my point of view, I think dancing around menstruation like it’s some shameful secret that my daughter shouldn’t be able to acknowledge in front of her own father sends the wrong message.”
“My wife completely disagrees with my framing and thinks I’m being insensitive.”
He then turned to Reddit for help.
“Am I in the wrong here?”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously on the OP’s (Original Poster’s) situation, using the following scale:
- NTA: “Not the A**hole”
- YTA: “You’re the A**hole”
- ESH: “Everybody Sucks Here”
- NAH: “No A**holes Here”
Some Redditors said the OP did the right thing and assured him his daughter would be okay.
“NTA. You handled the situation like a parent would. You were straight to the point, didn’t make a deal about it, and really nice to her about the whole thing.”
“She might be embarrassed now, but every girl is at least a little embarrassed during their first period when you’re learning things. She’ll be completely fine.” – Grumfeil
“Ignore your wife. Having you be so relaxed and calm is great for your daughter. I was embarrassed and didn’t want my dad to know either, but I’m glad he knew because when I had an issue he ran out and got me more pads, ice cream, heating pad, and just made a bad situation so much better.”
“Waiting for your wife was unrealistic. There will be more instances when you will have to step up and help your daughter with this.”
“What’s her favorite candy? Maybe start a thing where you always get her her favorite candy when she has her period. Just give her a hug and the candy and leave it at that. It will help relax her about the situation and make her more receptive to talking to you about it in the future.” – winter
“Your daughter may never realise it but you have broken down barriers and she will feel more comfortable talking to you about topics in the future that are otherwise taboo.”
“It’s embarrassing for her now but will be reassuring for her in the future when she realises she can talk to you about anything. Your wife probably doesn’t see it from that perspective. As you said you should be able to speak about it openly.”
“I think its sad that my dad and brothers aren’t able to talk about it at all. And both my brothers have daughters…” – RedLipstickLady
One Redditor even addressed the mother directly and said it would be better to involve OP, too.
“Dear OP’s Wife/the Mom,”
“I get it. I went through this too. But I can say in the long run it is infinitely better to be a little embarrassed at first and then realize that you can be just as open with Dad as with Mom than to have a Dad that is squeamish and never wants to discuss period stuff at all. It sort of feels like you have to hide parts of yourself from your parent.”
“If you were raised in a household where the dad didn’t want to hear it, then it would make sense to assume that’s how it should be. Speaking as someone raised in a household where discussing it openly wasn’t a big deal, it’s really awesome to get sympathy/ice cream/chocolate from both sides.”
“It’s especially nice when the dog gets into the bathroom trash can and scatters stuff everywhere and you have to find out about it from your parents and go clean it up. You only need so many levels of embarrassment when mistakes happen.”
“Your daughter will be embarrassed at first (she’s also getting all those lovely hormones so I’m sure she gets embarrassed easily right now) and she’ll still ask you most of the questions, but I wouldn’t discourage this behavior if you can live with it.” – balgram
If anything, another Redditor noted, the OP saved his daughter from future embarrassment.
“Pretty sure you saved Chloe from embarrassment down the line when there’s a big plumbing issue and a flood of old stale pads is revealed to be the culprit… imagine the conversation of ‘honey you flooded the house’.”
“Don’t worry OP! If my dad had this exact convo with me when I first got my period, I’d feel suuuuuper uncomfortable but it [wouldn’t] be his fault! And my mom def wouldn’t have tried to tell him it’s his fault!” – PsychologicalSwan1
Though it can be an extremely embarrassing time, keeping the lines of communication open is so important.
If anything, hopefully this will teach the OP’s daughter that she can still talk to him about anything, even if it’s something that he’ll never personally have to go through.