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Talking to Boys About Periods

There are a number of reasons why it is good for boys to learn about periods.

Introduction

There are a number of reasons why it is good for boys to learn about periods. This can include:

  • better understanding of the differences between girls’ and boys’ bodies
  • better understanding of how babies are made
  • better understanding of the experiences of the women in their life including future partners and children
  • teaching them to be respectful of periods

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Before you start talking about periods, it is a good idea to teach your boy about the differences between boys’ and girls’ bodies. Once they understand how boys’ and girls’ bodies are different, you can talk about the changes that girls go through at puberty including periods. For more information on talking to your child about the differences between boys’ and girls’ bodies go to Teaching about Differences Between Boys’ and Girl’s Bodies.

Talking to boys about periods doesn’t have to be a serious conversation. Instead you can look for everyday opportunities to talk about periods and how they are a normal part of life. It may be that:

  • you ask your child to put away the sanitary products after you have done the shopping
  • your child walks in on their mother in the bathroom while she is changing her pad
  • your child finds their sister’s brightly wrapped tampons or pads in her bag or bathroom drawer

Use these opportunities to start a conversation with your boy about periods. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation. Instead, try series of short conversations where you give them a little bit more information each time.

While it is important for your boy to know about periods, you do not have to give him all the information at once. It may be helpful to increase his knowledge over time. Below is a guide for how to slowly build your boy’s knowledge about periods.

Start with:

  • A period is when blood comes out of a girl’s vagina
  • Girls get their period when they start puberty. It means they are growing up
  • Girls wear pads or tampons to stop the blood getting on their clothes
  • Periods are a normal part of growing up but some people might not want to talk about them in public.
  • It’s important not to make fun of people’s period

Then add things like:

  • A period means that a woman can become pregnant
  • A tiny egg comes out of the ovary and travels to the uterus each month
  • During this time the lining inside the uterus thickens with blood
  • If a woman does not get pregnant that month, the egg and the lining of the uterus comes out as blood through the vagina
  • A period can last for 3-7 days
  • When the period finishes, the cycle starts again
  • Sometimes periods can be uncomfortable. The person might feel pain in their tummy

Finally:

  • Girls usually have their period once a month until they start menopause. Menopause usually happens when around the age of 50

Conversation Starters

Do you see those brightly coloured packets on the shelf over there? They are called pads. Do you know what they are?
Can you please help me put the shopping away? Please put these pads and tampons in the bathroom drawer. Do you know what they are for?
Your mum/sister has a sore tummy today because she has her period. Do you know what a period is?

Strategies for you to try

Positive language

Use positive language when talking to your boy about periods. Emphasise that periods are a normal part of growing and not something yucky or shameful

Talk openly

Talk openly about periods in your household. This can provide opportunities for your boy to learn more about periods while also giving him the message that periods are a normal part of life

Teachable moments

Look for teachable moments in everyday life, like the ones suggested in the information above, to talk to your boy about periods

Use resources

Use resources like the ones listed below to help you find images and words to effectively explain periods to your boy

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