How I Am Teaching My 4-year-old Son About Menstruation And You Can Too!

Sarmistha Neogy
·5-min read

Before I became a mum, I read several books on how your parenting style can affect your child’s life. In my mind, I had noted the set of dos and don’ts to follow, keeping in mind the repercussions it may have on my child’s mental health. It was only after I became a parent that I realised that parenting style can’t be learned and/or acquired from textbooks.

What Is My Parenting Style: A Mix Of Progressive And Traditional

I am a mum of a 4-year-old son. If someone asks what is my parenting style, I would like to believe that it is a mix of authoritative and permissive parenting. I do make some rules, keeping in mind my child’s feelings and emotions. But, I often end up not enforcing them because I feel he will learn better with little interference from my end.

Here are some parenting rules I like to follow and perhaps many of you may relate or agree with it.

All demands are not meant to be met

One of the main challenges which working mums face is the guilt of devoting less time to your child. I have also gone through this phase and I ended up unnecessarily pampering my child to make up for it.

I used to get him new toys or his favourite candy, whenever I was late from work. But I soon realised that this had a negative impact on him. He started throwing tantrums and turned fussy when his demands were not meant. I had to work hard to make him realise that all his demands can’t be fulfilled every time.

Respecting his elders

what is my parenting style
what is my parenting style

Image courtesy: iStock

Children imitate what they see and the way they behave with elders is a reflection of what they see at home. We stay in a nuclear family, but we spend enough time talking to our parents.

This allows him to observe how we behave with our elders. I have also allocated a fixed time every day when he chats with his grandparents to ensure he is always well-connected with them.

Make him understand why he must say ‘Sorry’

We always end up telling our children ‘Say sorry to XYZ’ and that is what I also did. However, I realised that he kept on making the same mistakes and was least apologetic, and his ‘sorry’ was only automation.

It was then that I understood that he needs to be taught and explained the reason for being apologetic. So that’s what I did. Each time I wanted him to apologise, I would explain the ‘whys’ so he know the ‘hows.’

Sharing is caring

what is my parenting style
what is my parenting style

Kids should learn to share (Photo courtesy: Piqsels)

Children need to be taught to share and I started practising it at home when he was around two years. I would give him his favourite toy and ask him to hand it over to me or his dad.

In return, I shared my personal belongings with him. Slowly he began to adopt this method in his daily life. He is now a happy sharer, even with his friends at school.

I am all ‘Ears’

Every day before we go to bed I spend some quality time with him and by which I mean no screen time. So, we have a fixed time, where I just listen to what he has to say. I found that giving him undivided attention helps him to share and connect with me better.

Fighting with society’s gender bias

Asian societies are still extremely bias and expect boys and girls to behave in a certain manner.

For instance, there was one time, I got a complaint from his play school that he pushed a girl. On casually discussing it with a neighbour, she said that “boys behave this way.” I was shocked because my kid was barely three at that point. That day I made him understand that he should never repeat it with anyone, be it a girl or a boy.

Societies expect boys to be tough and masculine. So every time my child cries and someone tries to pacify him by saying- ‘Boys don’t cry’. I tell him, “it is completely okay to do so.”

‘Good’ touch, ‘Bad’ touch

I started teaching him about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ from the age of three. I still continue to hammer it in him that if he is touched inappropriately it qualifies as bad touch. Also, try to make him aware that he is allowed to touch his private parts.

We all know that while child sexual abuse against girls is still somewhat reported, sexual violence against boys is usually under-reported and under-recognised. This silence adds to the pervasive belief that male children cannot be victims of sexual abuse. Which is why I want my child to be educated and safe.

Normalising discussion on menstruation

Many of you must wonder what is the relevance of this topic at the age of four and that too with a boy. Yes, sadly menstruation is a taboo in several societies. We hardly have any open discussions about periods with boys. I know my son is too young to understand about periods, but I do tell him that I am bleeding. When the right time comes, I will be the first person to explain the process of menstruation to him.

I believe it is important to educate your son about it, rather than brushing it under the carpet.

Every parent has different sets of rules which works for their child. Amid the stress of parenting, sometimes it is better to just sit back and relax. Let the kid falter and he will automatically stand up on his own.

Being a parent is like being in a roller coaster ride. From being tired, emotionally drained out at one moment, to feeling high with the unadulterated love of your child. Parenthood is a great experience. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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