How do I discuss why kids shouldn't show their privates to each other?

Rebecca - posted on 04/07/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My 7-yr-old daughter was brought home from the neighbors yesterday after having been found with their 6-yr-old son in his room showing each other what makes them different. My husband and I were not too shocked, but we hadn't discussed with each other how to handle this. It was not too long ago that she came home upset because this same boy had exposed himself to her while they were playing.



We did not punish her or scold her in any way. I said it was perfectly normal to be curious but that it was still not an OK thing to do. But then we got stuck.



I feel like there is more to be said and we just can't figure out how to articulate what we'd like to say. She's a smart kid and she deserves a better explanation than what we were able to give her.



Just curious about how others have explained and/or handled similar situations because I know it happens. Thank you!!

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Sarah - posted on 04/07/2012

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Wow that's a tough one! I think a big thing is to listen to her tell you what was happening - rather than just the other parent. Often a parent will view things one way, but children another.



Also - in adult terms what do you want to say? Is it a matter of how to say 'no', why to say 'no, when to say 'no'? Are you trying to explain why people shouldn't see her body?



Once I found my DD (then 4) being 'encouraged' to hide in a trunk with a 5yr old so he could lift her shirt and see her belly button. She didn't like it. No there was nothing overtly wrong - however he was touching her and she didn't want him to - BIG problem. So we talked about how it's only okay to touch someone when they say it's okay - and to run and get mommy and daddy if someone doesn't listen to her (no matter WHO). It doesn't matter if it's an elbow or another part of her body - no means no (and that goes for us brushing her hair!).



We also talk about how certain parts of the body are only meant to be seen by certain people. We talk about how some people view certain parts of the body as 'bad' and those people will hurt others if they see those parts of the body. We say most people don't think that way, but we're respectful of those that do - so we cover up. (We live in an area with a high muslim population so this opened up a lot of discussion on which body parts need to be covered - which again places elbow at the same level as vulva for needing permission). So if there're people coming over, clothing on (we're a clothing optional kind of family when at home), when going out, clothing on.



We've briefly talked about tricky adults - adults who will try to trick children into leaving their mommy and daddy - and what to do about that. We've talked about how to fight adults (fingers in the nose, eyes, biting them, kicking them, screaming you're not my mommy/daddy).

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