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Thread: Why my 2yr olds know the real names of their vaginas

  1. I Will Rise Above
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    #1

    Why my 2yr olds know the real names of their vaginas

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    I figured this might be a good place to put this. If there is a better place please move.

    Why My 2-year-olds Know the Real Name for Their Vaginas »

    I decided as a parent to use the proper names for sexual organs in my house, just as my parents did with me. During a recent trip for my husband’s softball tournament, I got into a discussion about what age is appropriate to start using words such as vagina, penis, testicles etc… The discussion started because Fredi, who is wearing new underwear, said that her vagina was bothering her. Both of my daughters just turned two and have been saying vagina from the moment they were able. We didn’t use words like “privates” “hoo-hoo” or any other word that means something else, or nothing entirely, to describe a word that already exists in the English language.

    When the gentleman asked me why I would do that, and not just give them the term “privates” to use. I ask, why are parents inserting non-existing words into children’s language during childhood to describe their own bodies? I have two daughters, their dad’s “privates” don’t look the same as theirs. Don’t they deserve to be able to know the difference between the two and apply the proper words to each? I think they absolutely do, but there is a lot more to it than that. The reason my daughters know that they have a vagina, and not “privates” is to get rid of any shame associated with such an amazing part of the female body.

    So many parents are quick to stop their kids from exploring their genitals. However, boys will be boys and, hell, in our society nobody ever expects them to stop grabbing at themselves, even into adulthood. “Girls are taught not to look at their genitals, not to touch them, especially not to explore them. As a result, women know very little about their genitals” (Norris, 2013). My girls are two years old; they strip of their clothes, they grab themselves and they shout to the roof tops that they have a vagina, and they are so proud of this wonderful part of their bodies. They are equally intrigued with their toes, elbows and nose and they know all of those body parts by name too.

    While this man respectfully disagreed with me, as I’m sure many do, I challenge them to ask themselves why are they so uncomfortable with the correct anatomical words being used to describe the genitalia? I’d really like to know. He thought I should use the word “privates”, he also told me I can’t take away the shame of the female genitalia, and that the only thing I’m making sure of is creating controversy. Well, bring it on! We need to teach the next generation that their vagina is a part of their body just like any other part. I challenge us all as parents to show our children they can take ownership of their vagina, penis and anything in-between, from the get-go.

    As a side note, I’d like to say that my dad quickly pointed out that the correct term is actually vulva..which it is. In another blog I’d like to discuss why this word is disappearing from our vocabulary.

    How do you feel about this? Do you think children should know the proper names for their body parts or is that "too much"? Is using general terms like "privates" or "hoo-hoo" or "bum" better or more appropriate for children than knowing and using their actual names?
  2. I Will Rise Above
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    #2
    My thoughts:

    I actually really liked this blog post and I find it to be very in line with my thought process. I have never understood dumbing down the names in order to attempt to make something more socially acceptable. I find that giving a child the proper information from the beginning to be much better a tool for learning and teaching then making it something that is ashamed of. This concept isn't something DH and I have discussed but I think with this post it will be. I think it is perfectly fine for a young child to know their penis or vagina (or as pointed out in the end technically vulva) by name vs by a general non-descriptive term.
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    #3
    I don't care what this lady does with her kids but I don't think it's necessarily because of shame that parents teach their kids other terms. Especially "privates," all that means to me is that it's a private part that should be covered in public.

    I do think kids should know the proper terms as early on as possible to prevent situations where they're trying to tell someone they've been molested and nobody knows wtf they're talking about, but I have no issue at all if parents tell their kids to call them privates or whatever. And I don't really think their genitals are anything amazing or to be proud of, that's weird to me. It's just a body part. There's a middle ground between being ashamed and being proud, I think both of those are strange.
  4. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #4
    I have no problem with little ones knowing the correct term dd knows the correct term for her body parts and boys body parts (mostly thanks to diaper changes of her little brother ) but we also call butt's "booty's" and when she goes to the bathroom we still say "wipe your peepees!" So I guess I have no problem either way.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I don't care what this lady does with her kids but I don't think it's necessarily because of shame that parents teach their kids other terms. Especially "privates," all that means to me is that it's a private part that should be covered in public.

    I do think kids should know the proper terms as early on as possible to prevent situations where they're trying to tell someone they've been molested and nobody knows wtf they're talking about, but I have no issue at all if parents tell their kids to call them privates or whatever. And I don't really think their genitals are anything amazing or to be proud of, that's weird to me. It's just a body part. There's a middle ground between being ashamed and being proud, I think both of those are strange.
    This is where I'm at. And in regards to the molestation thing, obviously if a little girl says "he touched my privates" people are gonna know what she means. If she said something like "he touched my bunny rabbit" people are gonna assume she has a bunny. There's a difference in giving them general terms and giving them words that mean something totally different.

    ETA I'm definitely not against them using the 'correct' terms either. I'm mainly just against them using things that don't make any sense at all.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Yabos View Post
    This is where I'm at. And in regards to the molestation thing, obviously if a little girl says "he touched my privates" people are gonna know what she means. If she said something like "he touched my bunny rabbit" people are gonna assume she has a bunny. There's a difference in giving them general terms and giving them words that mean something totally different.
    Exactly. I'm totally against using words that can be confusing in those situations but everyone is gonna know what his/her privates are.
  7. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #7
    I'm all for knowing anatomical terms. My nephew (18 months) knows his Penis and scrotum.
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    #8
    Pet names for genitalia irk me (cutesy names, especially used for/by children). :shudder:

    I agree wholeheartedly with proper anatomical names for genitalia. My girls know what their vulva is, which is not synonymous with "vagina." The vagina is the internal structure (e.g., birth canal). Vulva makes up the external genitalia. Anatomy 101. They have known the proper names since they were beginning to learn about body parts. My son uses the correct terms as well. His penis is penis and scrotum is, well, scrotum.

    I prefer the use of proper terminology. My parents were always big on proper terms.
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    #9
    Maybe I'm ashamed () but I don't ever use the word vagina unless I'm talking to a doctor. If I'm talking to a friend or my mother or something and it absolutely needs to be discussed I'll use another word. If I'm talking casually I usually say "lady parts" . Or sometimes I'll say "junk".

    I have zero problem with kids knowing the right, correct words. I think they should. I would never want to teach a child something that isn't true, or withhold information from them. That being said, running around saying vagina or penis or testicles is weird, and not common in conversation, and that's okay. It's not a shameful thing... the English speaking world has developed countless euphemisms for things. Genitals are no different. I would much rather hear a kid say "my wee-wee hurts" or "my privates hurt" than "my vagina/penis hurts". That's just uncomfortable sounding to me. Maybe I'm repressed!
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  10. I Will Rise Above
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I don't care what this lady does with her kids but I don't think it's necessarily because of shame that parents teach their kids other terms. Especially "privates," all that means to me is that it's a private part that should be covered in public.

    I do think kids should know the proper terms as early on as possible to prevent situations where they're trying to tell someone they've been molested and nobody knows wtf they're talking about, but I have no issue at all if parents tell their kids to call them privates or whatever. And I don't really think their genitals are anything amazing or to be proud of, that's weird to me. It's just a body part. There's a middle ground between being ashamed and being proud, I think both of those are strange.
    I understand what you are saying here. It makes total sense. And I do agree that there is a line between being ashamed and being proud. I think being knowledgeable is much better than either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    Exactly. I'm totally against using words that can be confusing in those situations but everyone is gonna know what his/her privates are.
    For me personally while I know that other people may know what a child means when they say "privates" or that it in general would mean something that is personal and should be covered up. My issue with the word is the child's understanding of it not other peoples. Privates is one word but yet not all are the same and I can see how that could be confusing to a child and lead to personal confusion as well as unneeded extra curiosity. I find that to be the case especially if the proper terms are not discussed or held as "bad" or "secret" or "oh we don't say that". I think stigmatizing descriptive correct terms to be a disservice. If that makes sense.
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