Body part naming?

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/23/2011 ( 42 moms have responded )

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This is a branch off of what do you / should you tell your kids their private parts are called.

So far, I've seen....

1. They let their kids name it, and never corrected it. So their kids came up with their own name for it. Ex: ting-ting

2. Parents gave it a fake/made up name. Ex: cookie, weewee

3. Parents told kids its proper name. Ex: penis, vagina

What I'd like to discuss is the possibility that every example, every choice we can make as parents (1,2 and 3) can still be thought of in good and bad terms.

That the name its self is not always what causes kids to feel a certain way about their bodies. That the name its self is usually just a name, and does not describe meaning of that area. Meaning comes from how we describe, handle and feel about those parts and our kids asking about them that passes down to our kids, and that this part of 'naming body parts' is more important to their psyche than the name its self in most cases.

So...

1. What did you tell your kids its parts are called?

2. Why?

3. What did you tell them about their parts?

4. How do they feel about their parts?

5. What do you think is the overall message that you have taught your kids about their parts?

6. What did your parents tell you growing up?

Thanks :)

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Shannintipton - posted on 06/23/2011

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Sort of off topic. I know you have probably explained that no one is to touch those areas. But when I was having this talk with my kids yesterday because of the other thread. I told them that. They were okay and understood. When I added not even your friends or people you know are allowed. Not so-n-so's dad or any of your friends parents are allowed. That changed the story. Because it turns out that one of my son's friends did try to pull down my daughters pants. But my son stopped him. Thank God. So I would stress even family friends are not to touch you where your bathing suit covers. Only mommy or I guess daddy and the doctor. NO ONE else FRIEND or NOT. Just thought I would throw that out there. Carry on please. Thanks.

Jenni - posted on 06/23/2011

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1. Correct anatomical terms "vagina" and "penis" or their "private area".

2. To avoid confusion for other adults if something (god forbid) were to happen to my child and they confided in another adult.

To not give them shame or embarrassment about their body parts. I believe when we hide behind 'cutesy' names it's either because a) to hide our own embarrassment

b) we just never questioned it because that's how we grew up

3. I told them the names when they asked. I taught them only they are allowed to touch those parts and no one else. If someone touches their penis or vagina they need to tell mommy or daddy right away.

That they are private areas we keep covered outside the home.

4. My son has no problems talking to me about his penis if he has concerns about it. He just told me yesterday that 'he ripped it'. lol I explained to him that it's suppose to look like that. My children have never really brought up their V and P anymore than they talk about their elbows because we never made it into a big issue. They only talk about them when it concerns washing them or general curiousity about them.

My son has no shame about his penis.

My SD exhibits some taboo about private areas. I'm not sure how her BM teaches her about it. I've never heard her use any term to refer to it. She just calls it "that" which concerns me a little. If she's shameful about it she's less likely to talk to an adult if someone were to touch her inappropriately. She always tells my son when he runs out of the bathroom with no pants on that she doesn't want to see that! Which is fine by me, I'm teaching him he must wear pants around other people. ;)

5. Not to be embarrassed of them, that they are natural. But they do have their limitations and that they are their own personal private areas.

I believe I'm teaching them the social norms of society and what is acceptable and unacceptable in our society.

6. Pee pee, for some reason I always found it a disgusting word even as a kid. It was probably also like you mentioned the meanings I was taught behind the word, more than the word itself. Probably shaped why I prefer to tell my kids the correct terms for it.

Kacie - posted on 06/23/2011

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Jace knows the real terms, but he prefers to call his penis his "winkie" hey, as long as he knows! he knows they are his private parts and who can see/touch and for what reasons. also taught him that he can touch/poke/prod at his in private only.

and actually, the correct terminology for the female organ is vulva, not vagina. the vagina is internal organ that cannot be seen, the vulva is the external organ that can be seen ;)

Erin - posted on 06/23/2011

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1. We use correct term, penis and testicles.
2. After taking a class about recognizing child molestation, I told my husband that this would help protect our boys.
3. I tell them they are private. As my eldest is not quite 4, we haven't had the discussion that deeply yet.
4. Once again, my boys are todders so I don't know yet. I am hoping that they won't think of them as shameful or dirty.
5. Overall, they are private and special. You don't let just anyone look or touch them. However, they are not dirty or shameful.
6. I don't remember learning the names for male or female parts until sex ed. It was simply not discussed. I think that left me feeling like it was unacceptable to talk about it at all. Luckily, I waited until marriage for sex because I know I couldn't have talked to either of my parents about birth control.

Jenna - posted on 06/23/2011

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I am teaching the correct medical terms for each body part. It is not a dirty word and no one should be ashamed to use it. I refuse to hear any term other than those assigned to that body part. I feel that it just is a mechanism to hid embarresment and there is absolutely nothing to be embarrased about!! I tell my son that his penis is just for him and he should not show it off to others. Obviously this explanation will change as he gets a lot older. As for how I feel about his penis, etc., it is just another part of the body. No different that any one else out there. The overall message I am trying to teach my son is that there is nothing to be ashamed of about your sexual reproductive parts. I think society has cast some kind of taboo about talking about "those parts". They are seriously no different that your elbow, eye, leg, etc.

My parents taught me and my brother the correct terminology for our body parts including penis, vagina, etc.

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A - posted on 04/12/2012

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My children are older, my youngest (twins) are 11. I always called all of their body parts by their proper name just as matter of factly as I did their knees or elbows.
I am currently in a Human Sexuality class, and one of the things we have talked about and learned is that when kids grow up not using the regular names for their body parts, and especially if they have negative names, such as "naughty parts" it gives negative associations with sex, and bad feelings about themselves when they engage in sex. I know other people have mentioned the safety aspect, as far as if a child was molested, and that is an important reason also. I just want my kids to have a positive self worth and positive feelings about their sexuality as adults, so I try to be honest and keep the dialog open and talk about all things regarding sex in a matter of fact way. Just like I want my children to be safe crossing the street or riding their bikes, I talk to them about the importance of protecting their body, and respecting it. Hopefully I can continue to keep up the open communication with them. My oldest is moving away for college this summer, and I still have a 14 year old and the 11 year old twins at home. Best wishes to all of you young Moms out there. It's a fun, and exhausting ride :-)

Angela - posted on 06/27/2011

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I agree that so many of us had family who did not talk about it, strange really. I am so glad their are parents like us who do talk about it! It is so important to teach our children to love an respect themselves and others. Sex, body parts it is what we all have and do, nothing shameful!
So many of my friends have had plastic surgery, tummy tucks and boob lifts etc after having babies. I felt really insecure until I realized they had surger to look like that! I had 3 kids and my skin just won't go back, my boobs look like deflated balloons. I thought about surgery but then thought why should I? My kids, husband and friends love me just the way I am. Why put myself at risk for vanity sake. I am proud my body gave milk and gave a home to my children. I am proud of every part of it. Once I accepted my body I felt sexy and happy again. Maybe kids would have a better self image than we did because we do talk about it. But in the USA and where I live here in Western Europe surgery is the norm! Mixed messages all the time!

Kelly - posted on 06/26/2011

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teach them the correct names and let them call it what they want. the older they get they know. grandma still has names for hers.

Angela - posted on 06/25/2011

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I think it is awful what the system does to victims of sex abuse, I read that 1 out of 4 American girls are molested and 1 out 10 boys. With those stats I agree that proper terminology is best. I really did not realize how important until I read that post of the little girl. I am glad I always teached the proper names along with the pet names. I also teach good and bad touch and that not anyone even me can touch her if it makes her uncomfortable unless it is to make her better IE doctor putting cream on etc.

I am alway present at a doctors/dentist office .

Case and point. I use to tease my daughter and say I am gonna get that little butt and she would run and I would give it a little grab. One day she stopped me telling me no, it is my butt don't touch it! I apologized!

She also grabbed breast a lot at one point. I explained that was not nice and that they were not hers to grab. She fully understand it is her body and she has the say so who and when and what touches it along with respecting others bodies as well.

Angela - posted on 06/25/2011

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1. I teach the correct term, IE this is your Vagina. However we have what I call cute to pet names. Coochie is for Vagina. My husband is Dutch and Penis is called a piemeltje which translates to little penis.
2. I teach the correct term so they are educated in the proper terminology, and can understand the doctor. I do not feel the correct term or the pet name is vulgar in any means or terms.
3. When we were learning what to call our head, eyes, nose, chin and so forth is when we first talked about it. I did not tell them much more than that at a young age but as they got older and asked questions I told them more.
4.I love all their parts.
5.To love their bodies and that we have wonderful magnificent bodies! Look at all the great things it can do, it is so intresting. (but I am a biochem major) so a bit geeky
6.Nothing at all. So I grew up not know a thing. I was embarrassed when I first got my perioid and I did not even tell my Mother because I thought she would be ashamed. I just bought pads and later my girlfriend told me about tampons. I got pregnant as a teenager because the same girlfriends told me if I douched with coke I would not get pregnant. So I swore to be open and teach my kids to respect themselves and their bodies. We talk about everything and they openly talk to me about everything. I have kids ages from 2.6 to 24 years of age. 3 girls, and one boy(I got him when he was 14) He is gay and we even talked about gay sex. I read up on it.
I think I teach my children well, they have all turned out pretty good, all doing good things and all waiting for babies and marriage and practice safe sex, my little 2.6 year old has no problem with her body, she has no shame! She runs around the house naked all the time!

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/24/2011

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Hahahaha that's cute :) kids are great and funny

[deleted account]

I'm not doing this by numbers, but I'll try to answer everything. I don't remember my childhood, so no clue WHAT my parents told me growing up...

When my girls were little I was uncomfortable w/ the word vagina, so I just referred to it as the part of their body that they went pee with. That was backfiring by 2 cuz when I'd tell them to wash their bodies in the shower.... that's all they would wash. That's when I introduced the word vagina into their vocabulary. When they were maybe 2.5ish... they asked me if Daddy's vagina was behind his tail. lol That was the day I introduced the word penis into their vocabulary. That's also the last time Daddy took a shower w/ them. ;) They are 9.5 now. The words have been penis and vagina since day 1 w/ their 3 year old brother.

The girls and I have already done the puberty talks and a bit on the sex talk. We are quite open and honest in this house. All of my kids are very comfortable w/ their entire bodies.

That's about all I can think of to put here. Oh, we do often refer to all the private areas as just 'privates' when in general conversations. My son and I have also had many 'conversations'... even IN public about who has a penis and who has a vagina. He's not running around blurting things out and it's never bothered me. He IS learning that some things are private discussion, but hey, he's 3... it happens.

Kelly - posted on 06/24/2011

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She is ten, and no longer has faith in the system that is supposed to protect her. It's been horrible. After experiencing that, I made absolutely certain that I use the proper terms (at least ones a jury can convict on ~ survey most of the population and I'll bet you they have no clue what a vulva is, but they know what a vagina is). It's just easiest to be completely honest and straight-forward about any subject they ask about. You don't have to tell them everything (too overwhelming), just answer the question they're asking. :o)

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/24/2011

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That's aweful Kelly. How old was she?

I think it's interesting how most of us never talked about our bodies with our parents. I didn't either. I wonder how that will affect the new generation. I think I'm seeing a trend in this area that is a big change from the distant past...... where we all seemed to keep shush about it, and this new generation might be more aware but not overly so. I think that's a good balance. I don't quite think it's necessary to hide behind fake names anyway. But I grew up in an environment that was very sheltered so I don't want that for my kids and this is just one of those things that hits that area. I don't want them to be shy, sheltered or insecure. So my goal is to try to get them to be some sort of 'happy medium' between sheltered, shy insecure and obnoxious lol Interesting.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/24/2011

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I didn't point to anyone for bashing........ just asking everyone not to and to answer the quetions for this debate. Thanks Jenna

Kelly - posted on 06/24/2011

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As someone who has had sexual abuse happen in her family, and my cousin's step-child would refer to her private parts as her "stuff" ... in a court of law, it's not enough to convict. Pictures were presented of physical abuse, she even testified in front of a jury and was mortified. But she couldn't use proper terms and was so embarassed by it that the jury let her biological father off. There was no way to know "for sure" what he had done. Her stuff could be anything. He would crawl into bed with her and touch her "stuff" ... her father claims that he crawled into bed with her to calm her when she had bad dreams and moved her things around ... her "stuff" and it upset her. Oh, and the bruising? She got really upset and throw herself around, giving herself the bruises.

Jenna - posted on 06/24/2011

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I did reply to the initial questions; however not in the standard 1, 2, 3 form. As for my strong words, they were not meant to "bash" anyone; I was simply stating my opinion. When I said that I refuse to hear any other word besides the correct terms, I was referring to people saying other words to my child.

Meghan - posted on 06/24/2011

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Everybody has "Private Stuff" there is "Girl Stuff" and "Boy Stuff". I figure when we have the "talk" we'll anatomically correct it but I've always cringed at a 2 or 3 year old saying penis like he's a urologist.
We've discussed as you get older your "stuff" changes as you become a man or woman, and it different cause women have babies.
My overall message is your stuff is your stuff, no one should see your stuff, touch your stuff etc

Jaclynn - posted on 06/23/2011

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1.vagina/penis
2. to blunt, matter of fact honest
3.boys have penis' /girls have vaginas
4. My 6 yr old values her privacy and knows Nobody touches her there but her. 4yr old son is learning but sometimes practicing nudist.
5. They are body parts
6. proper names, honest and to the point. really don't recall any big long conversations about it. Very interesting topic. I mean no disrespect to any who feel differently than I do. Its been a funny conversation with my inlaws in the past, lol.

Kelly - posted on 06/23/2011

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My daughter named her own, she is 3 and a half. I have not corrected her for I feel she is to young. I have told her nothing and she doesn,t really talk about them. My parents told me nothing. I guess, use your best judgement.

Amber - posted on 06/23/2011

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1. My girls call it their Tee-tee. My son... I've never heard him say one way or the other, really... but he's my step-son and he's 11. I've had him since he was 3. I may have heard him refer to it as his "thing" but that's about it. 2. Because they started it... and it's technically right, just seems weird to think about my 4 year old using the word "vagina" although it's politically correct. Funny thought. 3. We haven't discussed it much. They haven't seemed interested, and we can visit that when the time comes. 4. Interested in looking at it, washing it, playing with it in the tub but I'm the type to re-direct their attention to something else. 5. I don't think we've had any real affective messages one way or the other just yet. 6. I honestly don't remember. I think I learned more about myself in health class than I did with my parents when it came to this.

[deleted account]

1) penis
2) Well, up until he was about two, I always referred to it as his "pee pee". I don't know why. But then I started attempting potty training when he turned two and realized that when I'd ask him to go pee in the toilet he'd pull on himself and try to get his "pee pee" in the water. So I immediately taught him the word penis and it's been so ever since. I didn't want to confuse him by teaching him one thing now and another when he's older.
3) Like someone else said, we really don't talk about his penis at his age any more often than we talk about his elbow or his toe or his ears. If he hurts himself, he tells me what body part he hurt, including his penis, and that's pretty much the only discussion we have about it except for when I wash him in the tub. And even then, it's just, "OK, let's wash your right leg, your left leg, your butt, your penis, your feet...etc."
4) How does he feel about his parts? LOL Well, judging by the fact that he, like his father and many other men, cannot seem to keep his hands off of it, I'm gonna assume that he's pretty pleased with it. Lately, with the potty training in full swing around here, I've been stressing to him how important it is to wash his hands after he touches himself, to not touch himself in front of people, etc. But if it were left up to him, he'd proudly show it to the whole neighborhood. I'm pretty sure he likes it lol
5) I think the overall message I've taught him about his penis is that it's part of him. That boys have one but girls don't. And we're working on the modesty thing but I keep reminding myself that he's only three. He has no shame about it, that's for sure.
6) My mom never spoke to me about body parts that I can remember. I mean, I'm sure she did because I obviously know my ass from my elbow most days lol But I don't remember calling it anything in particular. When I was older, I remember calling it "down there".

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/23/2011

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Kacie, you didn't answer alll of it. Not saying you were bashing, just that I wanted you to answer it :)

Deb - posted on 06/23/2011

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People can do what they want..but ..If there weren't so much put on worrying about ..oh you can't tell them the real names like there's something dirty about that ...?
What every happened to just plan Honesty? that IMHO..and that is all this is ..Is maybe we would have so many screwed up young people in this world ..young girls who are afraid of taking control of their own bodies..and saying "NO" no matter who it's to..but when her own parents can't sit and be honest with her from Start..?????
what does she learn????JMO

Amanda - posted on 06/23/2011

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1) We have referred to my sons bits as his penis but he likes to call it his wee wee or his worm. He also calls his sisters bits her rabbit (don't know where he got that from and she's only 1 so we haven't got to that with her yet)
2) Thats what its called and he just has his own name for it.
3) My son knows that its what he does a wee wee with and that no-one should ever touch him there except for mummy and daddy when he is being bathed or cleaned.
4) He's 3 and a boy, he thinks its something else to play with.
5) Hopefully that its private and that no-one is to look or touch them and they shouldn't look at or touch anyone else there.
6) Not much that I can remember

Mabel - posted on 06/23/2011

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well I told my son the truth and that it is called a penis.I don't like when a parent calls them by other names because if it ever came to a problem of being touched by some one I feel like that child needs to know what the correct name is so an adult can understand what they are talking about.I explained to him that boys have a penis and girls have their parts and that is how we are different.He likes to go around telling me he has a penis!I have tried to show him that there is nothing to be ashamed about his body and that there is a time and a place to discuss and show his body.they were too embarrassed to tell me anything.

Kacie - posted on 06/23/2011

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Why am i being called out!? I did answer the OP. Maybe not in 1 2 3...form, but it was answered. My other post was directed towards Jaclynn in agreement about the looks from other people about the correct terminology.

So im not seeing the problem. Or any bashing. ???

Minnie - posted on 06/23/2011

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1. Vulva
2. Because I thought it would be good for them to know the names of their body parts.

3. That they have a urethra in their vulva that they pee out of and a vagina in their vulva that they can push babies out of when they grow up.

4. Normal? It's just another part?

5. That they don't need to be ashamed of their bodies and that our anatomy and physiology is pretty fascinating.

6. Well, my mother took it upon herself to give me a book about how babies are made when I was 3 1/2, so nothing was left to the imagination. :)

Krista - posted on 06/23/2011

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1. I call it his penis.
2. Because that's what it is. Occasionally I'll jokingly call it something else (after I wipe him off during a diaper change, I'll say, "Look! It's a cleaner wiener!") But overall, I want him to know the correct term.
3. I haven't told him much of anything yet. He's not even 2.
4. I think he's rather pleased with his parts, albeit a little rough with them. I constantly have to remind him that his penis is NOT Silly Putty and really shouldn't be yanked and mashed like that. :P
5. I haven't conveyed much of a message yet, but I intend for him to know that his penis is his and his alone.
6. My mom was a nurse. 'Nuff said. I knew the proper terms, although I still insisted on calling my vulva a "duckie". Go figure. But at least I knew what the right term was, anyway.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/23/2011

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No, there shouldn't be bashing, so if I see any I'll report it or close this discussion. I want it to be open, explorative and thought invoking, not opinionated and angry.



The questions are as I asked in 1-6 up above and I'd like to take this moment to ask everyone to answer them for the sake of this conversation.



I don't mind talking about them from there, but I'd like to get a basis from where everyone is coming from first. Please, Jenna Megs Kacie Deb Kelly and Jaclynn start with those? Thanks

Jaclynn - posted on 06/23/2011

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Most of the looks I've gotten are from family too. I just gotta laugh, because when it all boils down to it, These children are mine. I want nothing but the best for them and I suspect the same from any other mother out there. I don't condone to conforming to other people's teaching methods because "we" as mothers know our own children and know what is best for them. I know my son does everything different than my daughter and they learn things completely different. I value other mothers opinions though because sometimes I learn from them a better way to care and nurture my family.

Megan - posted on 06/23/2011

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**there shouldnt be any bashing about what the RIGHT thing to do. if that was the case then we all need to run our "households," the same! We re all different. Just let other people parent , this question is just simply what do you call them the direct name or a special name your toddler, child knows.......and thats all there is to this question.

Kacie - posted on 06/23/2011

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ive gotten looks too, FROM FAMILY! they're like "he shouldnt know that!" (he's 5 1/2) my niece is 9 and still doesnt know the correct terminology!

the hangups people have now days are just crazy!

Jaclynn - posted on 06/23/2011

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I have a 6yr old girl & 4 yr old boy and told them that girls have vagina's boys have penis'. The looks I have gotten are ridiculous. Really.. when did being completely honest and telling the kid what they have become a crime. I figure you teach a kid his or her private is a pee pee, then ask did you go pee-pee? It just might be to confusing, and aggravating for the kid. When I explain things its brief and to the point. To my horror my son kept showing his penis to everyone, telling people what he had. So that led to whatever anyone has, that's their business and is private and we don't talk about it in public or with people we don't know! I just dont get lying to a kid then changing our story. Wuts a bajengo, anyway? lol

Kelly - posted on 06/23/2011

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I 100% agree with Jennifer. I've always used the correct anatomical terms. Trust me this will work a lot better when you have to cover the subject of sex. I have never made the subject of sex or body parts taboo. My sons do not question their parts or other people's parts. They are just their own parts that nobody other than themselves or a doctor (in the presence of their mommy and/or daddy) is allowed to touch. They know that their parts are private and that they are not embarrassing or cutesy. It's very matter-of-fact. My parents always kept it simple. As far as what my parents told me: You have a vagina. Boys have a penis. One day when you're older you'll learn why boys and girls are different. It is never okay to touch someone else's vagina or penis; and it is never okay for them to touch yours. Period.

Katherine - posted on 06/23/2011

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1. Penis and vagina
2. Because that's the anatomically correct term.
3. That they are private
4. Curious!
5. That they are comfortable and even my 2yo asks me what her parts are. I mean REALLY private parts. She examines herself.
6. My parents taught me the correct terms, always. But I was embarrassed because none of my friends ever called them penises and vaginas. So I started calling them other things.....now that I have kids it's back to the correct terminology.

[deleted account]

1. My girls call it a who-ha & their bottom a tushie

2. My friend thought it would be wise to tell her girls the right names to call people's body parts & it back fired. My friend's childrens favorite word is vagina, "No you a vagina head, no your are..no daddy is a vagina" They have had shouting matches in stores calling each other vagina. Another friends child at 3 ran thru Walmart screaming at the top of her lungs with her dress over her head that her vagina hurt while holding her crotch, and another time asking people while pointing to their crotch "Is that your penis?" I much rather have them scream who-ha.

3. They are 1 & 3 all they need to know is that no one is allowed to touch them if mommy & daddy are not with them.

4. At their current age they could care less & they just fight over the princess big girl panties. Neither has noticed that their brother seems to be different except for once when my 1yr old pointed and said "Ewwww", they also have not noticed daddy is different. I will talior the message as they age & want to know.

6. LOL, not much of anything.

Megan - posted on 06/23/2011

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Naughty Part for dow nthere and bottom- butt and they know girls have V 's and boys have P's

Tamara - posted on 06/23/2011

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1. The proper names
2. Figure there is nothing wrong with teaching proper names.
3/4 They are just another body part, The only difference is no one touches them
5 It was never brought up really that I can remember, this and sex were just never discussed.

Sherri - posted on 06/23/2011

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When we started the body part naming game it was pee pee and boobies because in our home that is what they are called. Occasionally I will call it a penis so they know that it is also called that, but we don't use that terminology.

We didn't tell them anything about their parts???
How do I feel about their parts???? I don't

Overall message about their parts. Honestly none persay they are treated no differently then their feet, hands or eyeballs.

I don't remember what my parents taught me I was too young. All I remember is when my mom started sex talks at around 12.

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