I’m going to just type the words. Penis and Vagina. Now, it’s in print for the world to see.
Why is it so hard to say these words? In our house, the private areas of our bodies were referred to as the “como se llama.” This was translated to mean the “whatchamacallit.”
Should parents teach children the anatomical names for their private parts? There is debate about the right answer to this common question. Many of us were taught to believe your anatomy was something you shouldn’t talk about. If you did discuss it, code words were crucial. However, other parents start early with using the specific words so there is less confusion later in a child’s life. Many experts agree you should refer to genitals simply as “private parts” until age four. Then, it is developmentally appropriate to start using the correct names.
All children become curious about the physical differences between boys and girls. As a teacher, I remember more than a few children touching themselves during circle time. What is the best way to handle that situation?
- It’s important not to overreact. If you’re at home, simply ignore the behavior.
- Don’t forbid or scold your child from touching himself. That may send the message that he should be ashamed of his body.
- Distract your child.
- Take the opportunity to teach your child the difference between “public “and “private.”
How have you handled this parenting dilemma?