DEAR COUNSELLOR: Embracing womanhood

Dr Karelle Hylton, PhD Counselling Psychologist

Dear Counsellor,
I am 14 years old and I have a concern. I am a young man who has seen some of my female classmates experience ‘accidents’, and I see how embarrassed and ashamed they respond to what I believe is a natural occurrence. My mother is a community health aide and she pretty much tells me most things about puberty and how to treat my female classmates, especially during that special time of the month. My male friends think that I am weird and that it is not normal for boys to respond as I do. I know that I have a level of maturity beyond my years. What do you think, counsellor?
– H.R.

Dear H.R.,
I was pleasantly surprised by your email. It is not very often that I find a young man who is able to empathise with young ladies, especially during their ‘special time of the month’. I must commend your mother for educating you on this topic. This is a topic that most persons (male and female) consider taboo, off limits or uncomfortable. In our culture, the discussion on menstruation is usually conducted with only females – in schools, boys and girls are separated and the sharing of information is limited to only the girls.

Boys need to understand the menstruation cycle and be educated on how to treat girls during this time. Boys will grow into men, who will be expected to give emotional and even physical support to their wives during this time. Being a woman is an extra-special gift, and everything about being a woman ought to be embraced, appreciated and regarded with love, support and respect. No shame, embarrassment or ridicule should be associated with this ‘natural occurrence’. You are, indeed, very mature as far as this topic is concerned. You may need to start a movement to help your male counterparts with becoming aware of the role men play in the embracing of women and all the associated, natural occurrences.

I recognise, too, that you have seen where the females have had ‘accidents’ at your school. I would like to suggest that the female students at your school be encouraged to have a self-care kit. In this kit they would have the following items: an extra pair of underwear, sanitary napkins, wet wipes, tissue, antiperspirant deodorant, a small rag, a bar of soap, hand sanitizer and any other personal item that will assist with their personal hygiene.

Be assured, you are not weird, and it is unusual but quite normal for you to be informed about girls and the special experiences they encounter. I must encourage you to grow in wisdom, and I am hopeful that you will continue to be as confident and self-assured as you have presented yourself. I wish you all the best, H.R.

Dr Karelle Hylton, PhD Counselling Psychologist


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