The other day Kari and I spoke about private body parts and it made me realize that I was not prepared for the conversation! My toddler is a precocious almost-3 year old who asks #allthequestions and says whatever comes to mind. We are actually quite proud of the fact that she has been able to string whole sentences together, at an early age. So when she wanted to know about the difference between her and her baby brother’s genitals, I realized that I could either faff around and make up a ‘snuggly wuggly buggly’ names for it, or I could nip it in the bud and call a spade a spade. So to speak.
I explained to her that a boys private body part is called a penis and a girls is called a vagina and that it is a special area of our bodies, off limits to everyone else! Sheesh – I didn’t think I’d be giving the whole ‘sexual predators talk’ this early. But she is my very first daughter (not that boys are immune, yo) and I wanted to empower her. In fact, teaching your child the standard terms for all of their body parts are important. Yep, even the tough ones like vulva and scrotum. This is particularly helpful in safe guarding your kid against abuse because they begin to view each body part in a serious light, rather than as an awkward, embarrassing topic that should be avoided.
Psychologists (and I’m going to link relevant articles at the bottom to show you guys that I’m not making this up while sipping on my tea) agree that your kid is less likely to tell you if someone is acting inappropriately with them, if they feel embarrassed about their bodies and about talking openly about it. The correct names of their private body parts should not be viewed as a naughty word. In fact, knowing the correct language helps the child in a case where sexual abuse has taken place.
Your children need to know that their private body parts are the same as any other body part, except that they are private and important. BUT they are still good, acceptable body parts and not “oopsie” areas. Perpetrators are usually more wary if a child is body conscious. Another article suggests that by ensuring that you only use the correct names for their private areas, it should immediately set off red flags if your kid comes home referring to them with pet names instead. (i.e. where are they hearing this from) By using the correct term, when referring to them, gives your child permission to talk about their genitals freely, should they have a concern.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, mums. What do you refer to private areas as, when talking to your little one?
These websites offer more insight: