A child’s sexual organs are the cause of much interest to them as they grow. While researching for this article, I was looking at what parents call them and came across names ranging widely from the rather bizarre to the totally ridiculous.
It’s important to ask why we tend to use euphemisms instead of calling a spade a spade with younger children. Is it because we feel these words have been sexualised in this day and age? Or is it because we are scared our children will embarrass us in public?
The word vagina is also not entirely accurate when it comes to girls’ private parts and this may make some parents feel uncomfortable using it, even though it is considered the “industry standard.” The outer part which is visible is actually called the vulva; however, that word is rarely used.
While deciding what to call your little one’s private parts, let me leave you with a sobering thought.
This decision regarding names may seem very trivial; however, this question is far more important than many parents think it is.
Unfortunately, we live in a very scary world; a world where children are abused on a daily basis. When a child is being abused, the abuser will often use bribery or threats to keep them quiet. There may be a time when your child is feeling particularly brave and they may try to make their one and only attempt to inform a responsible adult about the abuse.
If your child is using a euphemism regarding where they are being touched, this could result in the adult not understanding what they are being told. As loving parents we must make every effort to ensure that, should this happen, the message is clearly understood and they are successfully able to communicate about it.
Consider this; your child says “Uncle George was touching my kitty.” If the person your child has chosen to share this vital bit of information with is not familiar with the terminology used in your household, it would not be unreasonable for them to respond with “That’s ok”, or something similar, as they have no idea of the magnitude of what the child has just told them.
While using anatomically correct wording may seem alien, uncomfortable or embarrassing, this is a minor price to pay should the unforgivable happen to your child.