I’ve laughed with other girls as we discussed the names we called our privates growing up: the tink, cookie jar, nucker, pee pee- the list goes on. Those areas of the body were shrouded with mystery when they were hesitantly discussed. My mother would answer questions and give us plenty of reading material. Still, I felt strange about these areas. If I had to discuss my own body I would have felt humiliated and very confused about how. Luckily, being a reader and being supplied with the correct books, I was able to identify that I had a urethra, vagina, and anus. Sadly, there are girls who become adults who are not aware what area does what: Do I urinate from my vagina? Where do I menstruate? Where do I have sex?
The importance of calling privates by the proper name is instrumental to how a person will view their body and perhaps their own sexuality. It may sound silly, but not sillier than telling your child their arm is called a body noodle, or their face the expression platform. Calling things by their proper name isn’t just for the sake of being politically correct. It has much to do with knowledge being power. Knowledge gives a child confidence. For example- If they are lost they are taught to look for a woman with children, or a cop- you establish early that cops are mommy and daddy’s friends. This gives your child a safety net.
When your child’s arm hurts they are able to express that, “My arm is hurt.” This should be the same with their privates, “My penis hurts.” See how giving something the correct name gives them ownership? That is their penis. That is their vagina. (I typically call it the vulva since calling everything the vagina isn’t accurate either.) This ownership means they don’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed. Our gender is a huge part of our identity and not something to be embarrassed of. These parts aren’t “unspeakable.” They are a part of their body and as such if they are hurt or someone is making them uncomfortable, they are able to express that.
Telling your child about their body is a process. Many think, the talk is a one-time deal; it isn’t and shouldn’t be. As your child grows so should the discussions. The start should be the correct names for their body parts, or at least saying they are private. Eventually you tell them how their body is theirs; as such no one should be touching their privates. Also, if someone is making them uncomfortable they can talk to you no matter what!
I have known too many children, friends, and family members who have been hurt by predators to not take the safety of children seriously. I don’t teach my children out of fear, but as a preventive measure- not just against predators, but shame as well. I find it sad that too many people think talking about the body or sex to their children is vulgar. Someone is going to tell them and that information will most likely be incorrect and harmful. Most children have an idea of what sex is by the age of five whether you choose to talk or not. Take the initiative. Be the parent. How you discuss or don’t discuss something will dictate how a child will perceive that part of their life even as adults.
The picture is from the store UnchainedBracelets on etsy.com You can actually buy this print! Click on the Link below.