What do you tell a child a girls bits are called?

Emma - posted on 08/05/2011 ( 303 moms have responded )

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As I have two boys I just call there bits there tail but when asked so what do little girls have If they don't have a tail I was at a loss of what to say :/

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Jenn - posted on 08/09/2011

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A tail? Really?

Boys have a penis, girls have a vulva. Or if that is uncomfortable, some call them "private parts"...at least it sends the message that they are private and personal to the child.

Kacie - posted on 08/08/2011

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Im honestly surprised at how many people dont use vulva instead of vagina. Vulva is the external genitalia. The vagina is the internal genitalia.

[deleted account]

My boys know penis and "balls" as DH calls them. They also say "pee pee".
For girl - bottom. They know vagina, but prefer bottom as it sounds less "vulgar" to them. They don't like the real word for it.

Doris - posted on 08/08/2011

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I disagree with the predator theory. I don't think any predator is going to call private parts by their correct names. I also don't think that just because a child knows the scientific names of her/his body parts will prevent it from getting molested. Actually I don't think there is a connection in any of it. A molester couldn't care less if a child knows the correct words. Some words some parents use are a bit strange to me, but whatever works for them is fine with me. I agree with Teresa that it's important to tell a child that boys and girls peepees (or whatever you want to call it) are different. Just so they won't freak out when they happen to see the opposite gender naked. Other than that kids are just curious and the explanation that Teresa gave would satisfy most kids.

Candice - posted on 08/08/2011

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We teach our children the correct terminology. I went through child abuse training for doing in-home child care and you should look at it this way...If a child is molested or raped and they have another name for their parts then how is the police or doctors to know what they are talking about. The chid more than likely is not going to point to that part because they are scared. The correct terminology is not dirty and we as a society have made it dirty. Kids should call them by their proper words penis and vagina.

Denikka - posted on 08/08/2011

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Considering I have only currently had 1 conversation about girl parts with my 2.5 yr old son, they're currently girl parts.
He's only asked once, so I've left it alone for the moment (I was changing his sister and he thought she was *hurt* so I explained briefly that boys and girls are different).
He knows he has a penis. We did the whole naming body parts thing (elbow, eyes, penis etc).
What we've taught, slightly inadvertently, is that when he's got a diaper on, the entire area is a bum. When he's naked, he can tell the difference between the two.
The whole bum thing came about because whenever DS is wet or dirty, we ask if he has a bum, or if he needs his bum changed. I guess he just expanded on that.

I'm not 100% sure exactly what we're going to teach my daughter (she's only 6mo right now) but it will more than likely be the same thing. Correct terminology. I see no reason to do anything differently.

Gretchen - posted on 08/08/2011

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I used to be a social worker with chhild protective services, so I taught my girls the proper names for their parts.

Michelle - posted on 08/08/2011

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after reading most responses I needed to add this. I also call my children's parts the proper names as I have a boy and girl. I do believe its best to teach them the right names even if you use cute one. The reason is this, I had a friend over for a weekend and I and while my 4 yr old son was bathing I asked him if he remembered to wash his penis well her 8 year old son heard me and ran to his mom asking what a penis is, she felt very uncomfortable but had to tell him.

Jennifer - posted on 08/08/2011

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I have 3 girls n 1 boy. When my grils were potty training at 2.5/3yrs we tolld them the proper name vagina. When my son was born they had alot of questions. We toldthem that boys n girls are different and that he has a penis. As he got older he earned the name for both parts too. We have also told them that those are family words and to not use them around their friends. I didn't want any phone calls from angry parents. They have learn all the proper terms for all their body parts, and we have recently touched on girl develpoment and again have told them that they ae family talks and words not to be shared with friends. So far so good.

Jennifer - posted on 08/07/2011

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if you are not going to call them by their actual names, simply call them privet parts...anything else will be confusing and could be embarassing to the child when they are older and learning things.

Sharmain - posted on 08/07/2011

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Oh please dont beat around the bush with questions and childrens private parts tell them straight up!!...

Anna - posted on 08/07/2011

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Give the child several choices, let him/her choose what to call their privates. My daughter calls her vagina her "toosh/tooshie" and her butt, a "bum"--works for me.

Rachelle - posted on 08/07/2011

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I have always call it there pee pee but i have also explained there proper names as well.I have a boy and a girl and they both noticed it was different from each others so i explaned in proper terms then but for the most its there pee pee.

Dawn - posted on 08/07/2011

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We just always call it our private parts. They know it is what is under the bathing suit.

[deleted account]

I just don't see the rationale of calling your body parts a cutesy-woostie nickname, especially when very young children are still learning their body parts. It can lead to confusion, and even embarrassment in the future if they enter Kindergarten still saying "winkie" or "twinkie" or whatever nickname you call it. But hey, I just worry about parenting my own kid, and I don't have to woryr about other people's kids.

Zoe - posted on 08/07/2011

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I don't think for a second they are all strangers I realise a lot are family or close friends I have a very good relationship with my child and she's very open with me and we have spoke about people who do things to children and she knows what is wrong n to tell mummy straight away. What I was saying is why go on about molesting when we all know it happens.

Kyleigh - posted on 08/07/2011

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Come to Mama's that Got Drama please I want you as MY MOD for real! :)

Tamara - posted on 08/07/2011

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Zoe sad but true most child molesters know the family very well, often are considered to be part of the family. Its false to think that All child molesters are strangers.

Zoe - posted on 08/07/2011

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We call my daughters a fuffoo don't know why it just stuck but she knows very well that it is private and not for show. Iv got a Claire rayner book which is fab about the body changing sex periods allsorts.she's only 6 so it's in my drawer until she asks me where babies really come from lol.don't think it matters what ya call there genitalia.and why so hung up on child molesters get a grip do you people leave your kids alone with strangers ? I know I don't.

Tamara - posted on 08/07/2011

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Another family here that uses the proper terminology when having serious discussions, They each have come up with their own names for them but know what they are actually called.

I figure why call it something else? Do you change the name of a knee to the bendy, head a ball, or maybe a foot walky, so to me its just another body part that has a name and should be used as such.

Kacie - posted on 08/07/2011

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ive always used the proper terminology...penis and vulva. despite that, my son has always called his a 'winkie' but he still knows what the real name for boy and girl parts are

Jenny - posted on 08/07/2011

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We have always used proper terms like penis, scrotum, vagina, breasts, vulva etc. As my children have gotten a little older we use more of the less technical names like balls, boobs, weiner etc when we are talking in everyday passing. When we are having a serious talk about body parts we do use the technical terms.

[deleted account]

My girls called their dad's penis a tail when they were 2.5. That's when they learned the word penis. They had actually asked me if Daddy's vagina was behind his tail. lol

Yeah, so... vagina and penis are the words in our house.

Dawn - posted on 08/06/2011

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We have always been "technical" when talking to our kids about their body parts. However.....my Daughter could not pronounce penis, so it is now called a PEANUT! My Husband is NOT happy.

[deleted account]

One of you wrote that you don't really need to call it anything because your son doesn't talk about it (I can't recall who). I would caution against this approach, also, actually. I think regular discussions about how to handle unwanted touching is a great way to keep kids safe, continue to keep the lines of communication open, etc. Our pediatrician got us started during a well-check. She said to my son, "I'm going to look at your penis now, but it's only okay because your mom is in the room. Would it be okay for a doctor to look at or touch your penis if your mom wasn't in the room?" The books on Amazon that talk about privates being kept private are GREAT because they do it without scaring the kids. Is it ever okay to play a game during which somebody touches your penis? No way. What can you say if somebody ever makes you feel uncomfortable or icky? The idea of kids being bosses of their own bodies is empowering for them and spot-on. On a semi-related note, when we force kids to hug or kiss somebody hello or goodbye and our children feel awkward or uncomfortable doing so and protest, we're indirectly teaching them that their instincts aren't to be trusted or followed. I hadn't thought about it in these terms before I started reading about this (attending that seminar I mentioned), but it's a valid point. I think talking to kids often, early, and in a non-scary way about their bodies, their comfort levels, what's okay and what isn't is a message worth repeating. I want my daughter, especially, to feel empowered when it comes to her body, and confident telling an adult (or future boyfriend) what isn't acceptable. Plus, if we start talking to kids about their bodies and things like this when they're young, the subjects are less uncomfortable and/or taboo as they age, making the kids more likely to confide in us as parents (in theory, at least).

[deleted account]

And to just prove my point, I asked my 6 1/2 year old son where his "tail" is. He said he's not a dog. I then asked "Is anyone allowed to touch your pee-pee" and he replied "No one touches my penis except you, Daddy, or the doctor." So while I used the word "pee-pee", my son knows NOT to call it a nickname. He has a penis; not a tail, not a pee-pee. And honestly at his age now, I have no need to touch him unless he makes a complaint of something hurting.

[deleted account]

Cutesy nicknames for genetals are great between husband/wife, bf/gf, or whatever signifigant other you are in an ADULT relationship with.

Again, I repeat my stance: A parent is doing a huge disservice to a child by insisting that they refer to their genitals by a nickname, something cutesy, and avoiding the words penis or vagina altogether.

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2011

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A parent shouldn't be uncomfortable. If a parent is uncomfortable with just using the correct terminology, then they need to learn to get over it, because at some point, that same parent is going to have to talk about sex with their child. How are they going to manage THAT if they are uncomfortable with the terminology?

Oh, but that's right, a child will also eventually learn about sex and how babies are made.......we should just let them eventually learn these things? Yeah, lets let them learn all about it in the school yard.

A big part of the problem is that those people who use some cutesy name for a penis and vagina use something different. If the children are not taught the correct terminology, it can be very confusing for them once they start mixing with other kids, and it can also be very confusing for their carers.

As I said, what is the big deal in teaching them correct terminology? Why do people have such an aversion to it?

Teresa - posted on 08/05/2011

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I'm not uncomfortable. My son knows he has a penis, and he will tell you.I just want to know if these studies came from real children who were molested because they didnot know they had a penis or vagina? Or who were not molested just because they did? Did they actually poll these children? I am always leary of studies unless I can read it myself. Those things get used in wrong ways. I don't beleive it is necessary for a chidl to know the correct terminolgy if a parent is uncomfortable, the child will eventually learn what it is.

[deleted account]

Do you use cutesy names for chin? Toe? Knee? Why then use a euphemism for penis or vagina? What's wrong with penis or vagina?

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2011

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I am sure they would show a doll or diagram or something. But what Kerri has said is actually 100% fact. Studies have shown that children who are taught the correct terminology are less likely to be molested and abused. I have seen some of the studies.

So why are you uncomfortable teaching your children the correct terms? I am just curious.

Teresa - posted on 08/05/2011

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If I say the word peepee what body part do you think of? I'm sure prosecuting attorneys can get a child to show, usually on a doll or drawing, no words or correct names needed, what a peepee is and if it was violated. I eventually learned the correct anme and it was not from my parents. Most children will grow up into adults knowing the correct body part names without being told specifically. You can tell your child whatever you want, they will eventually learn the correct term.

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2011

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Oh, and I was actually asking the OP why it was such a big deal to just use the correct name. She wants to know what to tell her son, and I can't see the big deal in just telling him it is a vagina.

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2011

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Ah, but will the prosecuting lawyer be able to use a statement that does not include the correct terminology? It is really important that children learn the correct terminology. If he still wants to call it a peepee, then fine (although I cannot STOMACH people calling private parts by food names, cupcake, muffin, it's just WRONG on so many levels). BUT you also need to make sure he is comfortable with using the correct terminology.

Teresa - posted on 08/05/2011

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There's really no big deal. I see no problem with teaching a kid the right names and i see nothing wrong with calling it a peepee. Either way, if a child says quit touching my peepee a child molester knows that the child knows what is going on and doesn't like it. My son knows his peepee is private and a child molester will know what the child i stalking ab out. No big deal. My son knows it's a penis that he has, he really doesn't call it anything since we've never really had any issues concerning it.

[deleted account]

I'm saying there is a seminar program called "Safely Ever After" and yes, the logic is that if somebody were alone with my son, and was going to molest him and my son knew enough to say, "Stop touching my penis. I'm the boss of my body," the predator is much more likely to move on to a child who doesn't know his privates are private. There are wonderful resources out there (books such as "Those Are My Private Parts) that are age-appropriate resources for talking to our kids about being the bosses of their own bodies. A predator who thinks to himself, "Wow. This kid has a lot of self-awareness about his own body, knows what his privates are called and that they're not supposed to be touched by anyone," can go find an eaiser target. Check out Safely Ever After. I don't work for the company and am not getting a cut. I just think it's an excellent resource.

Teresa - posted on 08/05/2011

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Okay, so you are saying that the fact a child can say penis or vagina is going to make a mentally disturbed child predator stop once he or she has the child alone and is already aroused by it. Come on!

[deleted account]

Yes, and Teresa, I would have no idea what a kid was talking about if she told me her "bits" hurt. I see a lot of possible miscommunication potential.

[deleted account]

I attended a seminar on keeping kids safe from predators, and the woman who spoke made a great point: we need to use the correct terms for private parts (penis and vagina). Kids who don't know what their private parts are called are more likely to be taken advantage of by predators who give these parts "cutesy names". When our kids are out without us (even at a birthday party), and if someone were to ever try to play a "game" with them that entailed touching their private parts, a child who says, "Hey! Stop touching my penis!" is MUCH, MUCH less likely to be molested than a child who doesn't know the terminology. A predator doesn't want the child he's molesting to be able to communicate to his parents that somebody was touching his penis, right? It's not rocket science. My mom is uncomfortable with the fact that my kids call their privates by the anatomically correct names, but I've pointed out to her that our bodies aren't dirty! Some of us just have a history of these words being used in a dirty way, and it has colored our perception of the words. Look into it...do research. Any child development specialist will tell you to call it what it is. An elbow is an elbow, a knee is a knee, and a vagina is a vagina. It's our own discomfort with these words that may make us wince, but I think we need to get over it. Penis and vagina are the correct, formal, medical, anatomical terms. Why lie about it? It felt a little strange to me at first, but the group of moms my kids and I hang out with all use the correct terminology, too, and it's no big deal.

Teresa - posted on 08/05/2011

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I'm pretty sure if you ask a kid if his or her "bits' is in the shoe or the underwear you will know what they are talking about. I am NOT downing you for using proper terminology. I think it's great. My major in school was biochemistry and minor in genetics. but most people are not so scientifically schooled and it is easier or more natural for them to make up names for such an embarassing body part. We just used peepee and it is NOT mistaken for a toe!

[deleted account]

Teresa, you're absolutely right when kids grow into adults and use proper terminology. But let's say a small preschooler/Kinder kid goes to the school nurse because his "bits" or "tail" hurts, what does that really mean? Their pinky toe, tummy, or something more extreme like a penis or vagina? If a 6 year old girls "bits" hurt, is it perhaps a medical issue, urinary tract infection, or god-forbid a possible sexual molestation? Yes, I fully agree that kids need to be kids in every way and embrace childhood. But I also firmly believe that parents may do a disservice to their children by calling private parts anything other than what they are- a penis and a vagina.

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