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Parents, please start talking to your kids about periods as early as humanly possible
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Some parents are taking issue with "Turning Red" talking about periods.

Let's talk about periods.

Some parents have taken issue with the Pixar movie "Turning Red" for several scenes in which the subject of a 13-year-old getting her period—even though she didn't, actually—is discussed and used for humor. There's nothing graphic in any way, unless you consider seeing boxes of menstrual pads graphic, but some parents thought that menstruation itself was an inappropriate topic for young kids.

I'm a fan of letting parents parent. None of us has a manual for this stuff and it's hard to know if you're making the right choices for your kids. Different families have different priorities, values and beliefs, and I think there are a million ways to raise conscientious, contributing humans.

I'm also a fan of choosing age-appropriate content for kids when it comes to things that they're not ready to process yet. My kids are teens and young adults now, but when they were younger I was picky about what they consumed media-wise. There is some content young kids simply aren't ready to process and that can have a negative impact on their developing psyches, which is why sex and violence are screened for in age-based movie and TV ratings.

Periods, however, are an entirely different story.


I genuinely don't understand why anyone would take issue with any child of any age learning about menstruation. It's a basic bodily function of half the population. Kids start learning about basic bodily functions as soon as they are old enough to ask questions, and there's nothing about having a period that necessitates holding off on the basics until they're a certain age or maturity level.

Both girls and boys need to learn about periods, and the earlier the better.

I have two daughters and a son. My boy is my youngest, and he's grown up in a household that has talked about periods from the time he was old enough to understand words. When he got old enough to ask what we were referring to or what pads were for, I explained the basics to him in a way he could understand. It went something like this:

"Every month, a woman's body practices getting ready to grow a baby. She has organs called ovaries that push out an egg and her uterus makes a nice cushy home for it by building up a lining of blood. After a couple of weeks, her body lets go of the egg and dismantles the home, which then comes out of her vagina. The bleeding isn't from an injury and it doesn't hurt—it just drips out for a few days. So women wear pads/tampons/cups. etc. to catch it so the blood doesn't get all over her clothes."

Simple, basic, honest. When he has questions, I answer them matter-of-factly. My philosophy is that if a child is old enough to ask a question, they're old enough to get a simple, basic, honest answer. If they want or need to know more, they'll ask more questions. If there are parts that I'm really not ready for them to get details on, I'll say, "That part is a little complicated and we can learn about that later, but here's what's important for you to know right now."

I've also learned that it's far preferable to have these conversations when a child is old enough to be curious but not old enough to be embarrassed to ask.

Periods aren't a picnic, but we've got to stop avoiding talking about them due to the "ick" factor.

I'm not someone who waxes poetic about menstruation. I understand there are women who find deeper meaning and beauty and magic in it, and hey, more power to them. For me, it's just a thing that happens every month—I don't love it, I don't hate it, it just is.

I do think, however, that we need to get away from the idea that it's "gross" or "disgusting" or "inappropriate." Again, it's something half the population experiences. It's not necessarily pretty, but it's not like it's dirty or wrong or shameful. Women have been ostracized from society in various cultures throughout history for having their period—something that automatically happens to their bodies every month. Treating menstruation in general as gross or inappropriate simply adds to the idea that it's taboo.

We need to talk about periods when kids—girls and boys—are young, because periods can start really young.

I have a friend whose daughter was 9 years old when she started her period. Another friend recently told me her daughter just started her period, and she's only 8. It happens. It's not as unusual as we think. Very few families are running around announcing publicly that their under-10-year-old has started menstruating. So it's definitely important to normalize the conversation early and often with our kids.

And yes, that includes our boys. It's shocking how little some men understand about this topic, even as grown adults. There's no magical time when it suddenly becomes appropriate to talk about periods, and if we make it a normal part of conversation, it's not nearly as awkward for us or for them. In our household, having two daughters first helped create more opportunities, but even in families with all boys, moms can be open about being on their period so it's not a hush-hush or unfamiliar subject.

I often think about the story of the teen boy who noticed a younger student had had a period accident on the bus, and how he offered her his sweatshirt to wrap around her waist. When she thanked him, he said, "No problem. I have sisters." That's a guy for whom periods had been normalized and who was comfortable enough to do the exact right thing to help a girl avoid potential embarrassment rather than adding to it.

A movie about a 13-year-old girl that includes mention of periods is simply reflective of reality. Parents might debate the way a character's behavior or the dynamics of parental relationships are portrayed in "Turning Red," but menstruation should really be a nonissue regardless of the age or gender of the kids watching.

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We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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