When is it age appropriate to reveal the right names for private parts?

Nicholette - posted on 09/28/2011 ( 212 moms have responded )

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Hi there,

My daughter is now 6 and we still refer to her private parts as 'Gogga' or 'Tolly' when is the appropriate age to be told the right names of the privates?!

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Nadine - posted on 09/29/2011

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I used the correct anatomical terms from day one. In fact, I used correct terms for every thing at all times. For example, instead of saying "do you need to use the potty"..I would say, "do you need to go to the bathroom"?...I remember one time my four year old had to go while we were eating out and she said to the waitress, "I need to go to the bathroom my bladder is full"...we still laugh about that today, she is now 16.

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I have always called them their "privates". I also had a hard time with the proper names, but still didn't want to make it some made up cute name. In my opinion, they are their "private" body parts so it worked for me.

Heather - posted on 09/29/2011

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I started as soon as they could speak.....theyhave nicknames for them too but when asked they know it's a vagina and a penis :)

Kelli - posted on 09/29/2011

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I have raised two daughters and been teaching kindergarten and first grade for 10 years. Whenever you are ready is the right answer. I have seen that every family is different. You don't want your child to be embarrassed if she refers to that part using the "family" name around teachers or other kids and they laugh or question her. Tell her now. She will only feel weird if you feel weird. It's just a word.

Virginia - posted on 09/29/2011

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Yes, by all means, start from the beginning telling the right words for their body parts, however, as they get a little older, at least by three years old, you need to talk about these body parts are private and sacred to you. They should be taught at a young age to not let anyone touch these private parts of their bodies. Teach them to be respectful of their bodies and always dress them modestly. The world today is all about potty talk and noises that they make in all the cartoons, tv shows and etc. It seems that all funny jokes with little kids these days is all about passing gas in all its names and sounds. Teach kids correctly and then they can deal with all the things that hit them in school. Knowledge is Power.

Chasmodai - posted on 09/29/2011

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I completely agree with the other responses. Get ready though - kids go through a stage where they think it's
funny to shout it out in the middle of a shop. They want a reaction so don't give them one. If a stranger acted offended by it, I apologized, explained to my child it's impolite, and did everything possible to keep from smiling.

Rasa - posted on 09/29/2011

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I hated using the word vagina before I had children! I just don't like the word. Hahaha. But anyway, I refer to that area is "privates" and explain that they are private so we don't show them to others. I refer to breasts as breasts. My daughter knows that girls and boys have different looking privates and that they are special so we don't show them (which is a time I also take to explain modesty... Which seems to have been flung out the window these days). I don't think there is anything wrong with calling privates by their proper names though.

Melanie - posted on 09/29/2011

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I have always used the correct name for my children's private parts. I think the earlier they learn the less uncomfortable they are about it. :)

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hey Krista- thats why I use 'peenie' and 'gina' ! hahaha! I agree thats its silly to use words like 'flossy' (thats what my s-i-l uses! haha!) but still think we need to use words and phrasing thats age appropriate!

2 stories- my (now teenage son) at age 2 whilst we were showering together (for the MILLIONTH time!)...all of the sudden realised 'something' was missing..."mummy, where did your peenie go?!" me"mummy's dont have peenies, they have 'gina's..." Aiden- "but where did it GO?!?" me- "I have never had one, girls dont have them..ever.".. Aiden- "well what about Adam and Jason".."Yep they have them!" "well, what about Nanny?"- "No- she doesnt have one!"

2nd story- Standing in a VERY CROWDED pharmacy when aiden was 3 waiting for a prescription, all of the sudden I hear "Hey Mummy, this is what you have at home to stick up your bottom!" - there is aiden standing with a box of tampons! HAHAHAHA!!! there is NO modesty or embarrassment about the human body in MY house! hahahaha!!!

Jennie - posted on 09/29/2011

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We taught our daughter after she walked in on her dad in the bathroom at 2 and started telling everyone that her daddy had a finger on his front butt....lol

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Jodi, my son and I used to have the SAME conversations outside the girls school waiting for the bell to ring... Does he have a penis mommy? Yes. Does she have a vagina (sounded more like bagina though)? Yes. lol Too cute!

Michelle - posted on 09/29/2011

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I think she can be told now. My 4 year old knows his penis is called a penis, and he's more than happy to share that fact with you! :) It's not an embarrassment. It's just a fact that our body parts are called what they are. Everybody has them and no one should be ashamed of them.

Krista - posted on 09/29/2011

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@Leah: I can see your point. We don't call it urine and feces in our house. We call it pee and poop.



But I think that there's a difference between using a commonly understood nickname, and using something that is SO euphemistic that nobody even knows what the hell you're talking about.



So for example, if someone calls their baby's penis a "wiener" or a "wee-wee", then that's perfectly acceptable. If your kid tells the school nurse that his wiener hurts, she'll know exactly what he's talking about. But there was a woman on here once who used the term "Buzz Lightyear" for her kid's penis. That's just way too far out there, in my opinion.



So if you want to call your little girl's vagina her "privates", or her "pee-pee", or something also commonly understood, I can't see anybody finding fault with that. But for the love of mike, I hope you don't call it a "gogga"!



Edited to add: It's also important that they at least KNOW the proper names, even if you choose to use nicknames. So even though I might say "pee" instead of "urine", I still know what the proper term for it is, and am comfortable saying it if the situation requires. There's nothing wrong with nicknames as long as the person knows the RIGHT word for it and is comfortable using that word. But there's nothing sadder than a grown woman who can't even bring herself to say "vagina".

Pam - posted on 09/29/2011

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i've been doing that since day one. there is nothing to be embarrassed by the correct name of their genitalia.

Annika - posted on 09/29/2011

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I am happy to see so many use the right words. One time my daughter gt into trouble saying she hurt her vagina, with another less open family ( mainly the mom was terrified my daughter used that word, as if she was saying something odd..). That was surprising and a bit sad for us, but hopefully that is very rare. We call it what it is, always did.

Tracey - posted on 09/29/2011

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One thing I've noticed, even from my RN sis-in-law: people attempting to use the proper words and getting it wrong. I recently heard someone talk about "shaving my vagina". Sorry, can't shave something that's internal! OW! She meant her vulva.

Emily - posted on 09/29/2011

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From the start. If you model that this is what it is and it is no big thing it is just what it is that is how your child will accept it. Yes, you will have a week or so of, "Daddy has a penis." But, if you respond calmly and without laughing. "Yes, Daddy has a penis and mommy and you have a vagina." Shortly it all looses it's newness. Do it now. In school, she will be torn apart if she calls her privates Gogga or Tolly.

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tracey - EXCELLENT response! Thats what I did with my 15 year old! In conversation though we call them a 'peenie' and a 'gina'...close enough that there is no confusion, age appropriate so that they arent teased at school! Wow ! from birth ?!? some of you take it really serious! I couldnt imagine calling it a vagina when i talk to my 9 month old as I change her.."baby girl have you got a rash on your vagina?! Does your 'labia major' hurt?"..I mean come on!! hahaha!!! are the words something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of- no. they are body parts...but they are SPECIAL body parts! when my kids 'go' I call it 'wee' and 'poo' - what words is everyone else using?? 'urine' and 'faeces'..?? hahaha!!

Tracyham35 - posted on 09/29/2011

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HI! I told my daughter the correct names for private parts as soon as she asked! I always answer her questions truthfully. In my experience, if she is not interested she won't remember anyway! We refer to our vagina as minnie and probably will into adulthood. I don't think of this area as just another body part, and I don't want my daughter to either - it needs looking after and protecting. I hope she is able to use the appropriate language at the appropriate time in all situations, not just when referring to her body,

Mari - posted on 09/29/2011

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I have always used the correct names for their privates with no fuss about it either, this is your nose, this is your vagina, this is your anus, etc,

Jodie - posted on 09/29/2011

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Hi Nicholette,
Im a mum of six kids and from day one I have always called the parts by their correct names so telling her now would not be a problem.

Heather - posted on 09/29/2011

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We have always used the correct names. As a survivor of abuse I know how important it is that, heaven forbid, something should happen that they need to be able to accuarately tell you what happened & where. There is nothing to be ashamed of, just as you wouldn't blush if you said the word ear, you shouldn't blush over the word vagina

Shonta - posted on 09/29/2011

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Day one!! When my mother n law heard my 2 yrs old son say his penis she was upset saying he is going to make you shame. Shame for what knowing the correct name for his body parts.

Heather - posted on 09/29/2011

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We have always used the correct anatomical names. If someone was talking to me about a Tolly, I wouldn't have a clue what they meant. Best to use the correct names

Jodi - posted on 09/29/2011

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I remember when my daughter went through a stage where everywhere she went, she would define people by whether they had a penis or vagina. It was SOOOOO funny. I am sure people looked at me like I was the worst mother in the world for teaching her the terminology (but I stand my ground on that one). "Mummy, she is a lady, she has a 'gina. He is a man, he has a penis". Think 3 year old, top of her voice. Hilarious!!!!

Krista - posted on 09/29/2011

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From the start.. My children nor my grandchildren never gave their private parts kiddish names.

Heh -- I read this quickly, and thought you said that they never gave their private parts yiddish names.

And of course, now I want to find out what the Yiddish words are for genitals. LOL!

Tracy - posted on 09/29/2011

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Should have from the beginning. We used heiney, peepee, etc.... But always used the correct terminology from the get go too.

Karen - posted on 09/29/2011

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From the start.. My children nor my grandchildren never gave their private parts kiddish names. When they asked what this called and point to it. I told them.. the correct name.. How come penis. Vagina is a dirty word.but foot and nose and toe aren't.. Are not the penis and Vagina their body parts.. Should they be ashamed of them.. I think not..God Made them.. like he did toes, nose and foot.. Hate to say this..It's not can the child handle it.. It's can you has a parent handle hear those words.. Are you comfortable with your body.. If you are then they will be.. Teaching your child the correct words.. is educational and it will help if they are ever seen by a doctor.. Meaning.. they can tell them if they are hurt and name the area.. The doctor don't have to guess what the child is talking about..That saves time. A child should never be embarrassed about their body parts.. Note I never said show them off ok..

Katrina - posted on 09/29/2011

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I think you should start now. It is important for her to know that she has a vagina and a vulva, etc as those are the proper names. If you find it difficult to talk about these things, finding a book about these body parts and reading it for a bedtime story can help to make it easier, as you just read what someone else has written. She can't go through her whole life being afraid of the word vagina (like you may be!)! Be brave and good luck!

Margaret - posted on 09/29/2011

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Kids laugh about everything that is remotely involved with sexuality. That doesn't mean you don't start using proper names from the beginning. For me it's about making sure my child feels comfortable with her body. It makes a difference.

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I have always used 'peenie' with my boys (15 and 2) and with my 9 month old daughter I will be calling it her 'gina'... I think that both of these names are 'close enough' that if there is a problem they can verbalized it to an adult, without any issues...and also close enough that they can be changed to the 'real words' when they are older and dont want to call it a 'fluffy'!!! Hahaha! My 15 year old still calls it a 'peenie' when he is talking to his little brother- (who is currently walking around wearing no pants every day as he is toilet training! Hahaha!)

Margaret - posted on 09/29/2011

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No time like the present. Explain the names and tell her that we all have them. It will make her less shy about it in the future. Talking about the body and sexuality is a lot easier when they're little. They start shutting down about that stuff as time goes on.

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I always use the correct terms. Vagina or penis. Because no one outside the household will understand those nicknames u taught in the home..

Sal - posted on 09/28/2011

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i was just watching the drs, they were exlianing where babies come from to a little boyn(6 i think) the dr said mummy parts and daddy parts....good enough for the good doc good enough for me..lol

Merry - posted on 09/28/2011

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Kids have the cutest thought processes don't they!

As kids we called our vulva our front butt, then our 'you know what' or 'down there' it was VERY taboo and quite uncomfortable. I felt like it was wrong to talk about those parts. I was likely a teenager before I knew the correct female terms. Penis, on the other hand was used much more....

Sal - posted on 09/28/2011

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what you say around your child may not transfer to school though or drs so much, kids laugh at penis and vagina and that puts kids off saying it,

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Laura, yep. I think it would sound really, really weird to me to have my son use any other word than penis. We do say privates sometimes and I also say 'it'... as in 'just pull it out and go pee.' lol

I still remember the confusion my son had when his uncircumsized cousin (11 months older) saw my circumsized son go pee and asked him if his 'pee pee' was open. My son thought he was referring to the actual PEE... and was very confused. ;)

Merry - posted on 09/28/2011

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We fall back on 'privates' if it's an uncomfortable situation.
But I'd hope that with nonchalantly using the real words our kids wouldn't think there's anything embarrassing about saying the real words.

Sal - posted on 09/28/2011

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i really don't think using the right term is such a big deal, what is important is using a suitable word they are comfortable using to you a dr or teacher, if that is penis or vagina thats great, but if not telling the teaher they hurt their golly isn't too helpful, my son really hurt his testicals at school (a poorly paced kick) and even though he knew penis and tesicals were the right words as we used it at home he just would,t say it to the staff, instead said he had a sore tummy, when i asked why he didn't say it he said he couldn't say that to a lady......as a result it was quite late when i found the prob and nearly ended up in surgury losing one.....my girls use girl parts and bottom, it is clear what they are talking about and they are happy to say it.

Sherri - posted on 09/28/2011

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My kids know the correct names but in our home we do not refer to them. We still call them pee pee's, I personally find the correct names a little too much.

My older two are 14, 13 and my little guy is 5.

Jodi - posted on 09/28/2011

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My kids have never known anything BUT the correct names. Sure, as they got older, they learned the slang words that tend to be used, but they have always referred to them correctly because that's just what I use. I dn't see the big deal in teaching correct names. ALL children should at the very least KNOW the correct names even if they choose not to use them on a regular daily basis. They should also be encouraged to be able to use those terms with no embarrassment.

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