One of the tough decisions every parent of young children will go through is deciding when is the right time to have “the talk.”
And it can be a serious offense for someone to change the plan, even if their intentions are good, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ProfessionJolly6203 was surprised when his girlfriend not only replied to his niece and nephew’s concerns about what they found in the bathroom but went into explicit detail.
He was so shocked that when his sister confronted his girlfriend about sabotaging her talk with her own children, the Original Poster (OP) really had nothing to say to her defense.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not defending my girlfriend when she had a period talk with my niece and nephew without my sister’s (their mother’s) permission?”
The OP and his girlfriend were visiting his family.
“My girlfriend (29 Female) and I (27 Male) went to my sister’s house to spend time with her and her husband. They have 4-year-old twins, one girl, and one boy.”
“We were going outside so the kids could play in the plastic kiddie pool.”
“My girlfriend went to use the bathroom. She came out, and the kids went in after her to grab some of their toys from the tub to take outside.”
He was surprised when his girlfriend launched into a complex conversation with the kids.
“They came out crying and scared because the toilet had blood in it.”
“My girlfriend said, ‘My bad, I think I forgot to flush,’ and went right into telling the kids that it was fine, she was on her period, and when people get old enough, they have periods every month.”
“This scared them both even more.”
The OP’s sister and brother-in-law attempted to end the conversation.
“My sister told her to stop talking because she was doing more harm than good.”
“She also said it was a topic for her and her husband to tackle in a way that’s appropriate for 4-year-olds since they’d now have to explain sooner than they intended.”
“My girlfriend argued with my sister that her attitude would teach them that periods were bad.”
“My BIL (Brother-in-Law) also told her to stop.”
The OP’s girlfriend expected him to back her up.
“My girlfriend looked to me and asked if I was okay with my sister and BIL shaming her and women in general for their periods.”
“I told her she was asked to stop and really needed to because she was being disrespectful.”
“I apologized to my sister and told my girlfriend it was best we leave.”
“When we got in the car, my girlfriend was still going about how we were being immature about a perfectly normal bodily function and demonizing women for it.”
“I told her that wasn’t it at all. They’re my sister’s kids and it’s on them to decide how they want to handle that conversation.”
“I also pointed out she told a 4-year-old boy he’d get a period when he was older.”
The OP was surprised by his girlfriend’s insistence.
“She’s still bringing it up and telling me I should have had her back in that situation.”
“Usually, I’m all for people taking up for their partners, but in this case, she was asked to stop and was really doing a bad job explaining, and she wouldn’t relent.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the girlfriend should have stopped as soon as the OP’s sister said something.
“NTA. She should’ve stopped, especially since she isn’t equipped with the tools to teach kids how to deal with such things.”
“Also, your girlfriend needs to learn how to flush, how do you forget to flush…” – Daskesmoelf_8
“The girlfriend should have stopped talking, especially when the parents were saying, ‘Please stop, you’re terrifying our children,’ while the children were crying and terrified.” – mazzy31
“Yeah, the sister isn’t teaching her kids that periods are bad, because her kids don’t know what periods ARE! They can’t think something is bad if they don’t know what it is yet…”
“The kids were already freaked out by the blood, that just wasn’t the moment for them to be able to back their thoughts up and start over with a clear explanation.”
“The girlfriend should have just said something like, ‘Yeah, I’m bleeding a little bit right now, but it’s alright, it doesn’t hurt me, it just happens sometimes. Thanks for being worried about me, but I’m alright!'”
“(And then apologized to your sister for forgetting to flush.)”
“I have a 4-year-old and 7-year-old, and they can totally understand stuff like this, I’m not saying they shouldn’t have this stuff explained to them… but when they’re already upset because they believe someone is injured and hurting, the thing to do is to comfort them that no one is hurt right now, then later, explain what was happening!” – OrindaSarnia
“She also needs to listen. They told her they needed to explain in a way a 4-year-old would understand not shame someone for having a period.” – Professional-Row-605
“Your girlfriend was an AH because: a) she forgot to flush. Ew. b) The kids were scared and she didn’t stop. c) She was asked to stop and she didn’t stop, and d) she’s not seeing her contribution to the problem, long after the situation has passed.”
“At 29, she ought to know that there’s a time and a place for certain conversations.”
“You made the right call.” – cpagali
“She should have just stopped when asked to. The kids are only 4 years old. They aren’t going to be able to understand the concept of periods, at least definitely not in the way your girlfriend tried to explain.”
“Also who forgets to flush when using someone else’s restroom…?” – SirensAtDawn
Others said it should be normal for young kids to learn about periods, but with their parents.
“You can explain the concept of periods to a preschooler. I explained it to my older son at that age when he found my wrapped-up pad in the trash can.”
“I told him that when a girl grows up her body is ready to make a baby. It prepares itself every month for a baby but if there isn’t one that stuff goes bad like milk left too long in the fridge. The body cleans itself out and that’s what that blood is. It’s totally normal.”
“That being said, the girlfriend shouldn’t have done it because it wasn’t her place to do so.” – username-generica
“Normalize periods, even for kids. My cousin got hers at 8 years old.”
“But parents should be respected in regards to what their kids are being taught.” – StreetofChimes
“My 3.5-year-old is starting to understand periods (but only because he will barge into the bathroom while I’m in there). My 3.5-year-old understands that once a month, mum uses an adult ‘nappy’ (pad) and it’s called a period. I want my son to grow up understanding that it’s normal and not gross.”
“However, I do not go out to explain this to other people’s children as that is their choice, that’s AH territory.”
“I’d understand if the girl was 10 and saw pads and the girlfriend pointed it out without thinking, but at the age of 4, and with children who are not her own, and with parents asking her to stop? That’s AH behavior.”
“OP is NTA. He was respecting his sister’s parental boundaries.” – newtoredit097762
“What I’m thinking is that she wanted to have that kind of talk with them. I’m speaking from personal experience here, but you don’t forget to flush or wipe the seat down, so maybe she wanted to talk about it.” – YourLocalPan12
“If you tell them it’s just a boo-boo or something? Yeah. Yeah, they would. H**l, my 3-year-old sometimes thinks one of the freckles on my arm is a boo-boo.”
“Sure, I’ve told her I was on my period and Mommy is okay, blah blah blah, but she’s my kid. I got to make that decision. Not someone else. And even if I wanted to explain it to her, there’s no way she would understand.” – AdministrationNo9609
“It’s this weird line where OP’s GF shouldn’t have to lie about her bodily functions, but OP’s sister is right to have her own boundaries about when her kids learn things.”
“I’m not 100% sure what the exact right answer is, especially with it being an impromptu, unplanned situation.”
“But she should have probably just said, ‘Your mom and dad will explain it to you,’ so she didn’t have to lie and put the ball in the parent’s court.” – Both_Face_4593
While the subReddit agreed that periods are naturally, and children absolutely should learn about menstruation at some point, they also agreed that it was totally up to the children’s parents when and how they would discuss the subject.
By informing these four-year-olds about periods, even when told to stop, the OP’s girlfriend placed his sister and brother-in-law in a precarious situation of needing to discuss a potentially tough subject before they were prepared to do so, and perhaps presented in a way differently than they would have wanted.
There should be nothing wrong with knowing about and discussing menstruation, but who teaches kids about it should absolutely be taken into consideration and respected.