How Do You Explain Periods to Young Boys?

Macaulay Culkin as Kevin screaming with his hands on the side of his face in Home Alone
Home Alone via 20th Century Fox

It's not that hard!

Having the conversation about a girl's changing body may have come easier to some. It's a conversation that parents need to have with their pubescent children, but not just girls. 

The introduction to what a period is, majority of the time, has been introduced through a school setting explaining the reproductive system and the changes that a person's body goes through. Girls will learn through experience, but how do you explain a period to someone who doesn't deal with it firsthand?

Below are the most proven methods for explaining periods to young boys.

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What a Period Is

The average age when girls start their periods is 12 - 13. Days before actually getting a period, a women goes through ovulation. This is when an egg is released from her ovaries, and if not fertilized with sperm this is when a girl will get her period.

A period or menstruation, is when the tissue from the uterus begins to shed, usually occurring once a month. The average cycle of a period is every 28 days and a period can last two to seven days. When a girl first gets her period, it is a sign that her body is mature enough for pregnancy. 

Understanding this process as a parent is crucial when explaining it to a curious child about their growing bodies. It is important to educate young boys that they go through puberty differently and explaining that girls and boys have different reproductive organs, which is why they experience different things.

How to Explain a Period to a Young Boy

Explaining all this information to a young boy can be confusing and will most likely raise questions. To cut yourself some slack there is no perfect way to have this conversation but there is options.  

1. Educate Yourself First  

Before answering any questions, make sure you brush up on any information you might not be sure about. Getting a better understanding of how the body works will help you explain why periods even happen.  

2. Pick Up a Book 

There are several children's books out there that can better illustrate what a period is and why it happens in a way that they can better understand it.  -It's so Amazing is a book for boys and girls ages seven and up that covers what are eggs, sperm, birth babies and families.  -"What's happening to me?" is an illustration book explaining puberty. - It's Not the Stork! is a book for boys and girls ages four and up, talking about body parts, babies, and families.   

3. Look for a Video  

Children are visual learners and you might have better luck showing them a video to help explain what a period is. Sometimes you just have let the kids do all the talking. In this YouTube video by The Flex company, two 10-year-old boys and a 7-year-old girl are asked a series of questions about periods and they explain what they know.

Don't Avoid Questions About Periods

Odds are there will still be questions but always remind them it's okay to ask. Periods are nothing to be ashamed of and it's important to remind young boys that although they might not have to deal with periods themselves, it's important to be mindful of the people that do.