Along with parenting comes a lot of choices. Choices on whether to cloth diaper or use disposables, to buy an organic crib mattress or a regular one, whether to try out breastfeeding or go with formula, whether to go for a pack-n-play or a bassinet (or both!). There are MANY choices a new parent has to make. Sometimes these choices are made for us, but others are all our own.
When it comes to body parts, it is the parent’s choice on what to call them. Because the parent (or caretaker) is the most involved in diaper changing and potty training, whatever the parent starts to call a baby or toddler’s body parts is most likely what the baby or toddler will start using themselves. So when I started thinking about what I wanted to call my son’s (and in turn my daughter’s) private parts I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. I don’t mind if they start to call their body parts by other names later on down the road as long as they know what they’re really called that’s all that matters.
And while this may seem like no big deal to most, I’ve watched a lot of Oprah and I know that if a child is having issues “down there” then the correct terminology will make it much easier to figure out what your child is talking about. I recently read that while 95 percent of three year old boys know the word penis, only 52% of girls the same age have been given a specific name for their own genitals. And now that I have one of each I am so happy that I decided early on to call my children’s body parts by their real name. I might not be saying the same thing when my 2.5 year old asks again (in a very loud voice while we’re in a public restroom) if I have a penis or vagina (because he forgets) but that’s a whole other post.
Here are 3 great reasons why a child should know the correct terminology for their body parts:
1. Reduces Cases of Molestation
Teaching children the proper names to body parts can greatly reduce cases of molestation. Often times predators use cutesy names to gain access to personal and private space, however children who have been taught to name their private parts are less likely to be led astray.
2. Helps Locate a Problem /Hurt Body Part
It also allows children to own their bodies because they can name when and where something hurts or has been hurt. This helps parents and doctors to locate exactly where their child might be hurting in order to come up with a treatment/solution. My son recently came to me complaining that his penis was hurting. Turns out he had a UTI. I’m so glad he came to me right away so we could get it treated ASAP.
3. Teaches Confidence and Respect
Teaching them the proper name also teaches them to not be ashamed so that they can be open with their parents about uncomfortable issues. Hopefully by starting young we can build up that comfort with our kids so that when they have questions later on they come to us first instead of their peers.
Do you have more reasons to share? Or do you disagree with this post? I’d love to hear your feedback!