Susan Stiffelman offers an interesting scenario in which your 13 year old granddaughter confides to you that she’s started her period and doesn’t want her mother to know. Take a moment, read, and see if you agree that her solution is period wise.
Your 13-year-old granddaughter tells you she’s gotten her period.
“Grandma, you absolutely, positively cannot tell Mom and Dad,” she cries.
You know your daughter — her mother — would want to know, and to celebrate this moment in her daughter’s life. You also know that your daughter will be furious with you when she finds out you’d kept it from her. What do you do?
You hold the secret, and create the space for your granddaughter to tell you about this new experience. You don’t rush the talk, and you stay lovingly connected to her. Eventually you may say, “Sweetie, I’m so happy for you. Wow! This is a huge moment in your life. I’m honored that you told me, and I respect that it’s your right to share this with whomever you choose. Can you tell me what it is about telling Mom and Dad that feels uncomfortable? What do you think might happen if you tell them?”
And then you listen. In the back of your mind, you’re looking for a way to help your granddaughter become comfortable sharing this with her parents, but you allow her to be ready at her pace. If your daughter finds out that you knew and didn’t tell her, you accept her anger and disappointment, assuring her that you will absolutely tell her if your granddaughter discloses anything dangerous.