Talking to your kids about their private parts - important do's and don'ts!
Do your kids' questions about their private parts always leave you baffled or tongue-tied? What do you do when they start feeling themselves in public? There are better ways to deal with these situations than be embarrassed! Read on to find out our do's and don'ts when it comes to dealing with kids' questions about their privates!
For many parents, sex education is a topic they’d rather avoid. And talking to their kids about their private parts would leave even the most confident and open parents tongue-tied.
But there will come a time when you just can’t avoid the subject anymore – and you shouldn’t. Curiosity about their body comes naturally to kids and they shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed about it.
This inquisitiveness starts as early as in infancy. I’m sure you have noticed your kid touch their own private parts when they’re naked – either when being changed or taking a bath.
This is a sign of natural curiosity. You were right not to pull their hand away. As they grow, the more curious they become.
Even though a small kid tugging at his private parts is normal, what do you do when your toddler does this in public?
By age 3 or 4, kids kids realize that boys and girls have different body parts. Also at around that age, you may walk in to discover your kid, undressed, playing ‘doctor’ with a buddy.
Your reaction to a situation like this is crucial. It’s so crucial that by your reaction you are teaching your child their actions are either ‘acceptable’ or ‘shameful’.
Walking into a situation like the above might leave you baffled and you may not know how to react. We are here to help you out.
Here is a list of do’s and don’t that might help you when it comes to tackling this slightly tricky subject.
DO set limitations when it comes to ‘exploration’. In the above situation, it is best to divert the kids’ attention by saying something like ‘OK guys, let’s do some arts and crafts now, c’mon, get dressed’.
Don’t let the situation go un-addressed though. Talk to your kid after their friend leaves and tell them it’s OK to be curious about their body, but we need to keep our clothes on when we are out and when we have visitors.
More do’s and don’t on talking to kids about sex education and their private parts.
DON’T get alarmed or react negatively when your baby boy gets an erection in the bath tub or when his diaper is being changed. It is normal that boys get spontaneous erections from anything that stimulates the nervous system.
It is similar to getting goose bumps when we’re cold. These are called autonomic responses. Similarly, baby girls rubbing toys against their private parts shouldn’t be cause for alarm either.
DON’T giggle, laugh or act embarrassed if your toddler points to an erection and asks you what it is. Explain to him that similar to him giggling when tickled, our bodies do things all by themselves sometimes.
It may feel awkward talking to your child like this initially, but remember, you are setting the stage for open discussions in the future.
Your child needs to know they can talk to you about anything without feeling ashamed and you’ll probably appreciate this the most when they are teenagers.
DO use correct anatomical words for private parts. By the age of 3 children can be taught to use the words ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’. Use the words in a matter-of-fact way without implying silliness.
That way your child will learn to say those words without embarrassment. Experts say that children with knowledge of the proper words for their private parts are less appealing to molesters.
DO teach your children as early as 3 years old what good touch and bad touch is. Tell them that no one else is allowed to touch them without their permission and if anyone does so, mum needs to know immediately.
When they are around 5 years old it is appropriate to tell them that ‘bad touch’ can sometimes feel good. But it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Many molesters trick children into believing that they are a willing participant just because it ‘feels good’.
We as parents have the opportunity to talk to our children and make them understand these facts.
DO make your discussions age-appropriate. Just because your child asks one question about their body, you don’t have to turn it into a tell-all discussion. Let your child set the pace. As mentioned earlier, the more they grow, so does their curiosity.
Keep in mind that kids’ questions should never be avoided. Talking to your kid about private parts while they are young enough to want your answers will open the doors for more detailed and mature discussions in the years to come.
Sex education for your kids is nothing to be embarrassed about – in fact it is crucial to keep them safe!
How have you handled your child’s questions about his or her privates? Your experiences are valuable so do share them with us by leaving a comment!