My nieces and nephews are getting to the age where they have learnt the words for body parts. They can say and identify “eye,” “nose,” “mouth,” “ear,” “hand,” “leg,” and “head.” Their mums and I figure it’s only a matter of time before they start wondering about what’s “down there.” This raised the question, what do we call their private parts? Do we use the proper terms for private parts, or do we assign them cutesy names?
I asked my friends names they used for the children’s boy and girl parts, and also what names their parents had used when they were little. I got some hilarious responses, as you can imagine. The strangest of them all is “Dudu”; which actually means an insect in Swahili!
Are parents ready not to shift uncomfortably when they hear words like penis, vagina and bottom from their little angels’ mouths? I totally understand why parents use alternative words for private parts. They’re cute and funny and highlight the innocence of our children. I don’t know how I’ll feel the first time I hear my daughter or son talk about their ‘business’..!
The American Academy of Paediatrics insists: “It is important to teach your child the proper names for body parts. Making up names for body parts may give the idea that there is something bad about the proper name.” Other schools of thought take the position that anatomical words for genitalia should be taught to kids, but that universally understood euphemisms should be used in public conversation: ” They all know the correct terminology, and in the house they use it. . . . at school, etc., they can refer to them as private parts.”
Don’t ignore questions. Ignoring a child’s questions about their anatomy and then changing the subject are common first instincts for parents. But this approach will backfire, because your kid’s questions will continue to crop up. The number one priority is creating a scenario where kids can talk if they have any problems or issues.
The main sobering reason to use proper words for anatomy is to protect your child from predators. Apparently, some paedophiles are turned off when potential victims use clinical terms for body parts. Child molesters try to trick our young children by exploiting games and silly names, like ding-ding & twinkie; pee-pee and wee-wee.
It is easier to obtain specific testimony from young victims of sexual abuse when proper terms are used. There’s no room for interpretation when a child is talking about his penis or her vagina.
The funniest yet still legit reason is to avoid confusion. When you unthinkingly refer to a little girl’s private parts as her cookie, the little girl’s eyes immediately light up and she excitedly says, “Cookie?! Where’s the cookie?!” You need to immediately find a new term.
All in all…kids still say the most hilarious things…when a colleague’s son was little she taught him to say penis and he couldn`t say that so it ended up being his “peanuts!”
There are no private part games where private parts have different names. We all must start teaching our children about their sexuality before the child molester does.
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