In a society where women on their periods are considered impure and unhygienic, expecting young boys to be sensitized about menstruation is a challenge. To avoid the development of taboos, it is important that young boys are told about this by their mothers from a young age rather than gaining incorrect information from other sources such as friends or pop culture.
Bringing such topics to light and creating an open communication space with our children to talk about these issues will help create a generation that is not bound by misconceptions and inhibition.
Understanding the menstrual cycle can assist young men to become sympathetic siblings, children, partners and fathers. Here are some ways in which mothers can approach the topic of periods with their sons:
It is difficult to disclose things to kids when you are not clear about the intricacies yourself. Before having a conversation with children of any age group, audit information about periods. Refer to materials composed explicitly for kids. You can also use diagrams of women’s reproductive system to better illustrate your point. The more agreeable you feel in your insight, the simpler your explanation will be.
To make it simple for the kids to understand, you can start by telling them about where newborn babies come from. If he does not understand, then approach with a more drawn out conversation. Disclose to him that each lady has a “child centre” called the uterus, which permits her to grow a child. Every month, her body prepares to hold another child. To do this, her uterus needs to get strong, so it grows a protective lining.
If a lady does not have a child inside, the protective lining breaks up and is scattered through the vagina as blood. Convey this to your son to address any misconceptions about bleeding.
Make your son aware that ladies wear tampons, sanitary pads and menstrual cups to gather the blood. Ensure that you clarify that the protective lining helps the baby survive and that the blood does not come from a physical injury.
As a mother, when you talk about menstruation, make sure you tell your son that periods are a healthy and normal part of growing up for girls. Make them relate by mentioning how periods are a bodily change similar to boys developing facial hair and experiencing changes in voice.
It is important to communicate that there is nothing wrong with menstruation blood. The menstruation blood does not make the girl dirty or impure. If your boy knows that a girl is menstruating, tell him to treat her with respect and do not make her feel sad or ashamed. For example, If they see a girl has periods or have a bloodstain on her clothes, they should treat the girl with respect and not make fun of her.
Say if your child notices a sanitary napkin in the trash or you are buying pantyliners, tampons or sanitary napkins, then he may inquire about what these items are. In such a case, always answer their questions politely and patiently by telling them that these products are used by girls to keep themselves clean.
It is important to have an inclusive approach towards educating our boys about the concept of menstruation. If young boys are aware of periods, then they stand to become a support system for all the significant women in their life. This further, helps to create an open dialogue, which enables the boys to realize the importance of menstruation. This will further sensitize them to respect women and be educated about the nature of pain, bleeding and the biological causes of the same.