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Penis and Vagina: Important Words, Uncomfortable Parents.

PENIS & VAGINAPee-pee, wee-wee, balls, ding-ding, winkie, lady bits, jay-jay, lady-bum… and the nicknames for penis and vagina could continue .

So, I have 2 boys who are adorable. My older one is 4 years and my younger is almost 18 months old. I’m not going to lie that it makes me a little uncomfortable to talk about private parts with my older son because I don’t always know what to say. He is completely innocent when he asks questions about my body versus his own body. He is a curious boy and also very observant. On the one hand, I don’t want him to feel shame for asking questions because he is genuinely curious and completely naive. On the other hand, its difficult to know what to say and an appropriate explanation for his age level.

He started to ask questions about how his brother came out of my belly. At first, I just simply told him that the doctor helped the baby out. He accepted this answer for a few months but then his curiosity got the best of me and I explained the anatomy as best I could for a 4 year old to understand.

The thing is…. its not about sex… ITS ABOUT ANATOMY!

There is nothing wrong with him understanding his own body parts and the difference between girls and boys. At 4 years old, he doesn’t need to know anything about sex but he does need to know labels for his own body parts.

Here are some reasons to use correct terms:

  1. Funny Names Make it Weird! Its about anatomy, not about something funny. Most of us wouldn’t call a nose a ‘smeller,’ just like we shouldn’t call a penis a ‘pee-pee.’ It shouldn’t be something funny or uncomfortable… it should just be anatomy.
  2. Safety in Boundaries: Crystal clear sexual boundaries are best created using precise descriptions of genitals. Children need to understand that genitals are private. To teach this important lesson most effectively, accurate words allow black-and-white instruction.
  3. Communication: Kids who are comfortable talking about their bodies are more likely to be able to disclose when something worrisome or uncomfortable is happening to them.

What tips do you have on this sensitive subject?

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