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Two incidents that I witnessed as a teen made me realise we need to talk to our sons about periods. It’ll only make them better, more compassionate humans!
I grew up in a joint family. We are three sisters and I am the middle one. I remember, in class seven, having a session in our all-girls school where a video was played explaining what menstruation is all about. Learning about periods is a difficult subject for children that age. And I think all females will agree that you don’t really understand what it means unless you have your first period.
Next year we shifted residence and I moved to a coed school. It was a year of adjustment for me. One day a girl had her first period in the school and stained her uniform. While she was embarrassed to the core, the boys were all giggles.
To be honest, I was scared and prayed that this never happen to me. Thankfully, I was at home when I got it for the first time. I had my elder sister around to comfort me emotionally as my mother did not have any friendly conversation with me regarding this topic.
And I also remember once my paternal aunt and her kids had come to stay with us during summer vacations. Her son is a year younger than me. He saw me going to the rest room with a sanitary pad wrapped in newspaper and said, “I know what it is. My mother keeps it at home and I have seen the ad on TV too.”
At that moment, I felt like a culprit caught red handed and did not know what to say. I just wish the opposite gender would’ve behaved better in both the situations. Whether it was the boys in school or my cousin, their behaviour could’ve been different.
Now, I am a mother to two tween boys and I try to raise them without any gender bias. I try to be mindful while assigning the household chores to my boys. They support me as much girls in ‘traditional households’ would be expected to do.
My sons know it is okay to cry when they aren’t feeling alright and being a boy does not change that. The rules are quite clear in our home. These things may seem small but go a long way in having kids who grow up without any gender biases or stereotypes.
Almost half the population has periods, so why not make sure the (almost) half that doesn’t is also adequately informed? Times have changed now and so have the parenting styles. Parents, today, are more open and friendly while having conversation with their children.
I think my elder son would be ready, in a couple of months to hear about menstruation from his parents, and we would want to be honest with him. As it could be an awkward topic to discuss I want to be prepared ahead of time for that. My idea of wanting to explain it to my kids is to ensure that they grow up to be allies and empathisers.
Conversation about this topic at home would help children create healthier relationships with their female counterparts. Until we change attitudes, the conversation surrounding menstruation will continue to be hush-hush.
Understanding menstruation can help boys be more compassionate brothers, sons, boyfriends, and fathers or simply – better humans. There are changes in the female body during periods beyond cramps and the opposite sex can be made sensitive to that.
The more boys understand the experience girls go through, the more we can help erase the stigma, shame or even teasing associated with periods.
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: YouTube
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Happy Soul, believer in gift called life, avid traveler and explorer, sometimes restless but mostly
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