STORY TIME - WHAT'S WRONG WITH SILVIA?
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
By Mayra Azanza
We love our sisters so much and we need to understand something very important: their bodies go through more visible changes than boys, which affects the way they behave and interact with the people around them.
Instead of feeling hurt or confused, we should show empathy and compassion. Just like my friend Armand:
Armand’s sister, Silvia, was acting very differently towards him. They used to play sports together all the time, climb on the tree in their backyard and tell jokes, but recently she seemed like she’s not interested in any of that.
To make matters worse, Armand found her crying the other day and she didn’t tell him why! She just said that he wouldn’t understand, and turned her back on him, leaving Armand hurt and confused.
Armand worried that he had done something wrong. He observed her at school, he saw that she missed her PE classes from time to time, and she loves PE!
And because she was not answering his questions, he asked his mom what was going on with Silvia.
Armand’s mom’s colors changed like a streetlight, and he felt like he must have said something wrong, so he started to turn away and ignore the whole thing.
But his mom stopped him and asked him to sit at the table. She looked him in the eyes and held his hands in hers.
“At 12 years old, many girls go through a thing called puberty, which means their bodies change and prepare for them to be adults.”
“What? Is Silvia going to be an adult?” Armand asked, unsettled.
Mom giggled a little bit and answered “Yes, indeed. And so will you, eventually.”
”Will I stop loving Silvia like she has stopped loving me?” Armand asked, saddened.
“Not at all, she hasn’t stopped loving you, she’s just changing. Her personality will change, and her body will, too, but she will never stop loving you!” Mom said as she hugged him tightly.
“Then… Why is she crying sometimes and why does it feel like she is sick sometimes? He asked.
“Well, it may be because she was in her menstrual period” she replied.
“Her what?” Armand asked, confused.
“Menstrual period. It is what happens when a female’s body is preparing to grow and eventually become a mother, like me!” Mom said with a smile.
“I don’t understand why you are telling me all this!” Armand responded a little bit frustrated and embarrassed.
“Listen, when a girl’s body goes through puberty, they get their menstrual periods, which happens about once a month, but that may vary. During their period, some girls experience a lot of discomforts: pain, tiredness, and other symptoms. Silvia has her period and when that happens, she likes to be left alone.” Said, mom.
“In the meantime, be kind, loving, respect her privacy, and ask her if she needs something. If she does, help her. If she asks you to give her some space, do it. It’s not personal, she loves you just as much.
When you get older, your female friends will also go through puberty.” She said, “and you need to be supportive to them.
Growing up is complicated, but if we all have empathy we will grow stronger together.” - She finished.
Armand was left alone with his thoughts. It never occurred to him that his sister would go through so much! But now he knew and he promised himself (and his sister Silvia, secretly) to be kind and understanding to her and the girls around him.
Armand looked for support from someone he trusted and asked questions in a respectful yet honest way.
Armand was concerned about his sister’s well-being.
Armand got frustrated, but he kept asking questions.
Armand’s mom guided Armand into not being judgmental and not taking his sister’s attitude as something personal.
Armand’s mom made it clear they all love each other, and that people evolve and change and that is not a bad thing.
Armand’s mom advised Armand to give his sister space and respect her privacy.
Armand’s mom advised Armand to be mindful of his female friends and be supportive.