Letters, calls and emails: Fathers can discuss daughters' periods

Dear Editor

I do hope Ian Semmons is wrong in his belief that most fathers would feel uncomfortable if asked about periods by their 11-year-old daughters (GP, 22 September).  

I find it a shame to think of so many men having difficulty talking to their children about a basic fact of their lives.  

However, whether he is right or wrong about this, his proposed solution of terminating a consultation in which the subject comes up and asking that the child be brought back by her mother strikes me as poorly thought through and likely to cause problems for doctor, parents and child.  

I would be exceedingly annoyed to be called in for an extra consultation solely because the doctor assumed my husband was incapable of dealing with the mention of periods.  

When I asked my husband what he thought, his reply was that if he was told that the GP could only discuss his daughter’s problem with his wife rather than with him, he would worry that the GP suspected abuse and that he himself was being thought of as a suspect.  

I doubt that these sorts of reactions would be terribly unusual. Given the possible alarm and inconvenience that Mr Semmons’ proposed policy is likely to cause, I suspect that it would be far more likely to lead to complaints than simply discussing all relevant matters with the parent who has, after all, chosen to be present at the consultation in the first place.  

Dr Sarah Vaughan  


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