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Explaining Periods to Your Son

Explaining a Girl's Period to Your Son

If you have a son you may be wondering what to tell him about girls and their puberty changes. It is important to talk to your boys about what girls experience as they will always have females in their lives. From their mother, sisters, friends, cousins, colleagues and maybe even a daughter someday. It's important to raise empathetic and kind boys that respect women. In order to do that fully, boys need to understand girls better which includes both their physical and emotional differences. 

Contrary to popular belief, the earlier you start talking about puberty the easier it can be. There are many opportunities for talking about periods with boys. Your son may be in the bathroom with you and see you changing a pad or tampon. He may ask what you are doing or why there is blood down there. Maybe you are watching TV as a family and a commercial for feminine hygiene products comes on and you could ask him if he knows about the products.  Teachable moments are everywhere when you are ready to find them! 

You'll also want to consider discussing the many negative messages that your son may receive from the media, society, and their friends.  In order to create positive messages about girls and their periods, start by talking about how it is an important part of having babies, how it is healthy, perfectly normal, and all girls have it at some point.  That it does not hurt or come from an injury and that girls can do everything they normally do. 

Image taken from wikihow @ https://www.wikihow.com/Explain-Menstruation-to-Boys

Where to Start

If you haven't had an anatomy talk with your son this could be the perfect time to do that. It’s hard to explain things to kids when you are unclear about information. Prior to having a discussion for children of any age, review information about menstrual cycles. Read materials written specifically for kids. You can also review diagrams of women’s reproductive system and include diagrams in your explanation. The more comfortable you feel in your knowledge, the easier your explanation will be.

I would start by explaining:

  • Women and girls have different body parts than boys. This is because women can grow babies in their bodies and men cannot. These are the things that women have that men don’t.
  • Inside a woman's body is a very special place where she can carry a baby.
  • This place is called the uterus and is about the size of a closed fist and looks like an upside-down pear. 
  • The reason both boys and girls go through puberty is that our bodies are getting ready for us to have babies someday. It doesn't mean we are ready for babies, but our bodies get ready.
  • For girls, a big part of puberty is she will begin to get her period. This means that blood and tissue will come out her vagina for a few days each month.
  • The reason this happens is her uterus will build a "nest" of blood and tissue for a possible baby each month. Unless what is needed to make a baby, a man's sperm, gets together with the egg inside of her body there will be no baby. If there is no baby, the "nest" her body made just in case is not needed.  Bodies don't keep things not needed so it will be considered waste. 
  • For 3-7 days, about every month, the unneeded "nest" will come out her body.
  • She will use pads and tampons to absorb the blood (there are other products too).
  • A girl can become pregnant as early as 2 weeks before she starts her first period and periods are a normal part of being a girl.
  • There are other names for a period. Doctors and teachers call it menstruation. Nicknames you may also hear are that time of the month, cycle, Aunt Flo, on the rag, etc. 
  • Sometimes periods can be uncomfortable for a girl and she may experience cramps or not feel good. She may also feel more sensitive near this time. 
  • Sometimes periods can also be embarrassing for a girl and she may not want other people to know when she is having her period.  Do not tease them or make jokes about periods. Do not look through a girls backpack or purse without her permission as she may have pads or tampons in there. 
  • Show your son what pads and tampons look like. You could take him down the 'period product' aisle when shopping or let him unpack and put away products for you.
  • Sometimes periods come when a girl is not expecting it and it could leak through her clothes. It may look like she sat on something red or brown. Do not point, stare, or draw unneeded attention to her by telling others if you see this happen. If this happens at school, whisper to her that it looks like she may have sat on something and offer a sweatshirt if you have one for her to tie around her waist. Otherwise, whisper to a teacher or adult to help her. 
  • Do you have any questions about girls or their periods? 

Resources

There are many fantastic resources that can help you begin conversations about puberty for both boys or girls if you need some support. 

You can check out relevant websites or books at these links. Browse YouTube for videos. Or better yet you can take our eCourse or live course together as a family to start talking. Comment below and let us know how it goes. We love hearing your stories! 

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