Dad on Reddit wants to know: Should boys learn about periods?

a man and boy sitting together - talking to boys about periods

For many of us growing up in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s (or earlier), periods and menstruation were kind of a taboo topic (especially for boys). But this completely normal bodily process deserves to be talked about openly, and we’re cheering for a single dad who hopped on Reddit’s Parenting forum to ask for advice about talking to his sons about periods.

Talking with my sons about menstruation has been on my mind recently (I’ve got a 10 and 13 year old),” he wrote. “But as a man, I clearly lack day-to-day experience (and am a single father). For context, I grew up with no understanding of what women go through and developed a negative view of it, keeping it at a distance. I’ve since done the work, educated myself, and want to provide a better experience for my kids.”

He added, “From my experience, having knowledge about menstruation helps boys (and then later men) have more empathy and compassion for the women in their lives.”

He asked for the people of Reddit to provide their experiences and thoughts—specifically:

  • “Women – Did you have supportive boys/men in your lives regarding periods? Would it have made a difference?”

  • “Men – what was/is your view of periods? How are you handling it now?”

And the commenters really delivered. There was some thoughtful discussion on the importance of making sure all kids get healthy, age-appropriate, scientifically accurate education about bodies.

“Kids will at minimum have friends of the opposite gender. They should be aware of what the other 50 percent of the world goes through. Most will date someone of the opposite gender. They should be understanding of what their partner is going through. Some will have children of the opposite gender and need to be able to explain to their child what is happening to their body. Only educating them on one side is strange,” one commenter wrote. “My son has no issues buying menstruation products for his sister or girlfriend. When a female friend in high school was using our bathroom and texted him asking if we had any pads, my son ran up to his sister to ask if she had any upstairs. It wasn’t a big deal to him and it shouldn’t be treated as one. Girls and women menstruate. It’s no big deal to discuss that fact and what that entails with all kids.”

Another added this simple comment: “Of course they should. This shouldn’t even be a question tbh. Boys have women in their lives and will one day be husbands and fathers. They should know about something that affects half of the population for sure.”

These days, period talk is a lot more normalized than it used to be—and consulting an age-by-age guide with expert tips about how to bring it up and talk to kids (of all genders) about menstruation can be especially helpful. And if you need a little more guidance getting the conversation started with your kids, Jessica Biel has written a children’s book, aptly titled “A Kids Book About Periods,” which aims to further destigmatize conversations about menstruation and make the topic easier for parents to approach with their kids in an age-appropriate way.

5 tips on how parents can talk to kids about periods

  1. Start early and keep it age-appropriate: Begin introducing the concept of periods in simple terms around age 7-8, gradually adding more detail as they grow older. Use language and explanations that match their maturity level.

  2. Use accurate terminology: Avoid euphemisms and use proper anatomical terms. This helps normalize the topic and reduces stigma. Explain menstruation as a natural bodily function.

  3. Make it an ongoing conversation: Don’t treat it as a one-time “talk.” Create an open environment where kids feel comfortable asking questions anytime. Regularly check in and offer new information as they mature.

  4. Teach boys about periods too: This promotes empathy, understanding, and reduces taboos. Explain that periods are a normal part of life for many people, regardless of one’s own gender.

  5. Focus on practicalities and support: Discuss hygiene products, managing symptoms, and how to support friends or family members who menstruate. Emphasize that periods don’t limit activities and teach strategies for dealing with them in various situations.