Why You Should Call Your Child's Private Parts by Their Actual Names
No more cutesy nicknames!
It is always an uncomfortable conversation for parents to have with their children whenever the topic is about private parts or sex. But considering this is quite a natural part of life and something every child should be educated about, don’t you think we should start teaching our kids about it, rather than hiding it behind cute nicknames and ridiculous made-up stories? If you’re wondering how to talk to toddlers about private parts, here are some insights.
Firstly, the more we tiptoe around the subject and avoid talking about it, the more it becomes an issue. We should not be treating these topics like they’re “bad” or “shameful”.
Many kids are not aware of sex, inappropriate language and touching. And for this reason, many children end up getting sexually abused.
According to a sex educator, Melissa Carnagey, it is important for parents to have body awareness talks with their young children to support their health and safety.
These sex education talks about body parts allow kids to understand consent and what sexual abuse entails.
Here’s how to get started on how to talk to toddlers about private parts.
1. Don’t use cute nicknames for private parts
No more “kuku bird” or “nen nen”, parents. Parents should become comfortable using proper terms for body parts, like “vagina”, “breasts”, “penis” or “testicles”. Once this is normal language at home, there’s nothing to laugh at or be ashamed of.
Ensure all caregivers are on the same page here. If your in-laws are involved, or the helpers, emphasise the importance that everyone uses the same words for these body parts at home.
Why is this important? Using the right words and context teaches kids to communicate clearly about their bodies. It can also help when they visit the doctor to tell them if certain parts hurt or itch.
If your children are experiencing inappropriate advances, they will also know that it is wrong and will be able to communicate what is going on.
2. Give your kids bodily autonomy
Do you recall all those times as a kid you were told to hug or kiss your aunt/uncle/grandpa and you didn’t want to but felt like you weren’t really given a choice? Or perhaps, you are guilty of doing this to your own kids.
Instead of saying to your kids, “Give me a hug”, learn to ask them for their consent instead. Like, “May I give you a hug?”
Your children should learn that they have the right to their own bodies and actions. This also applies to physical contact between parents and their children, or between siblings. If you see your kid protesting when their sibling is tickling them, or wrestling them too hard, then put a stop to this.
Never force your children to do anything against their will and never accept it if it is being done to them.
You don’t even have to wait till you see it being done to teach your children about it. You can always point it out if you notice it reading books or watching movies with the kids. For instance, in Sleeping Beauty, you could ask your kids if the prince should have kissed the princess while she was sleeping when she couldn’t say yes or no.
3. Use books to educate your children about sex
When it comes to the birds and the bees, another euphemism commonly used to describe sex, we don’t outright explain to our children how it works. Sometimes, we might think they are too young to know about sex and try to avoid the topic altogether.
But the sooner you’re open with your children about it, the easier the conversation will be. There are plenty of books out there that can explain how sex works. Here are some of the good ones: ‘Where Did I Come From?’, ‘Where Do Babies Come From?’, ‘What’s Happening to My Body?’ Book for Girls/Book for Boys.
Those are just some examples of books that can help you deal with how to talk to toddlers about private parts.
We hope this article on how to talk to toddlers about private parts has been useful.