Names for 'privates'?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Names for 'privates'?
12
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 4:43pm
I want to start off by saying that I am NOT a particularly prissy person! LOL I just have issues hearing the word 'vagina' coming from my kids' mouths. *I* can't even say it to anyone but my DH. (I know - silly) I know that it's recommended to teach children the correct terminology, but I am not comfortable with that at this age and really don't want the kids to get *any* sense of embarrassment on my part when talking about these things. And if I use that word, believe me they'll get it that I'm uncomfortable! I want them to have healthy attitudes about their bodies and I just know I would freeze up every time the "V" word came up. (I dunno - maybe it comes from being an 'only' girl with 3 brothers. I have no problem saying 'penis'. hehehe)

So, since my problem is with the word itself, can I ask what other people here use with their kids when referring to the female anatomy?

Hope this doesn't sound too lame - I just know myself and would hate to have one of my hang-ups affect how my kids see themselves.

~Jodi

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 5:18pm
I was thinking and thinking about what words the vagina is called when it's not a vagina and to be honest with you, I certainly wouldn't want MY child using those words!

In our house, we're pretty open about sexuality. I feel its the only way to remove any guilt or shame associated with it. I grew up in a house like that, also. My DH didn't and he's a bit more subdued when it comes to expressing things like that out loud. But I truly believe that using the correct terminology is the right thing to do. You might have to just suck it up and learn to "behave" for your own children's sake!

However, because the word itself does make you feel uncomfortable, you may want to express to your children that it's OK to use the word "vagina" or "penis" but they cannot be used in certain contexts. For example, they aren't names you call someone or they aren't words you just say to be funny. They are important parts of the body and that's it.

Sorry if I wasn't much help to you. I really just don't believe in using euphemisms to name our body parts. A vagina is just as much a part of the female anatomy as a nose is!

Rebecca
Loving wife to David (3-2

Avatar for teddyfor2
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 5:54pm
I so understand what your saying. I still refer to it as "down there" for myself.LOL. But I didn't want Sally growing up with that same feeling, so I taught my kids vagina and penis and let them know that they are body parts, just like any other, only they are also private areas that no one else can touch. I learned to suck it up for my kids sake and the alternative names for vagina and penis are words I don't want my kids using right now.

If I could do it, so can you! Just think to when you dd is your age and the attitude you want her to have towards her whole body. Thats how I did it.

Good luck

Sarah

Avatar for jamesandbryansmommy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 9:26pm
OK, I'll be the first one to admit that we use names for those parts...

We only have boys, and they call it their "pee pee". Not a great name, but I don't want them using "penis" - it just doesn't sound right coming from a little kid. For me, it's just a shock factor to hear that. My SIL's son (who's 4) uses the correct terminology, but that's their choice. Everyone in DH's family gets a little ucomfortable when he comes out with one of those words. I don't know what I'd use as an alternate name for "vagina", so I can't help you there...

I'll give you some funnies, though...from James (who's 5):

He calls his scrotum his "peanut bag" LOL. I have no idea where that came from.

One day at daycare, he had to go potty really bad, so he must have just run into the bathroom without checking if anyone was in there (there is a shower curtain as a door between the classroom and the bathroom). Well, a little girl was in there, and he told us that boys have "pee pees", but girls "pee from a line".

Sorry I wasn't much help, but I hope I made you laugh!

Chris

Avatar for animalcrackers2
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 2:21am
Okay have to be honest here. I think it's really silly when parents come up with other names for their body parts. It's a penis or vagina, plain and simple. What is wrong with a little child calling it that? It's not a shameful thing, but when we give another name to it I think we give our kids that message. We call our arm our arm after all. It's a body part so why do we feel the need to call it something else? Okay getting off my soapbox now.

Dana, mom to Sam who has a penis and Lauren who has a vagina. There I said it , now that wasn't so hard was it? ;-)

Avatar for ang2gals
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 7:46am
My 4 yo calls it her private, mostly because she can't say vagina so my almost 7 yo also says private. I personally have no problem letting my girls using what is comfortable for them. However, we have sat down & read books where the word penis & vagina are used in conjunction w/diagrams of the male/female body. (My 1st grader has a teacher on maternity leave so that spurred some questions about babies, thus birds & the bees).

I too agree it can be silly making up names for the body parts & can lead to quite amusing situations but there is nothing wrong if you don't feel comfortable. However, the kids may pick up as you mentioned, on your discomfort and ask why you feel that way? Just be prepared to explain why you're using other words if they hear other kids using the "correct" word.

-- Ang

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Registered: 03-30-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 9:22am
I don't see any harm in using more child-friendly terminology for small children. No one seems to get up in arms when a stomach is called a tummy or belly or the 'buttocks' are called a fanny or tush or one of the other dozens of perfectly acceptable alternate names for body parts. Why is it that as soon as it's a sexual organ does it *have* to be called by the clinical name or you're harming your kids or implying that it's shameful? I *want* to be able to talk about it without embarrassment. I have no trouble talking with my kids about their bodies and answer any and all questions they have, I have no problem with nudity and I posted because I *want* to talk with my kids as openly as I can. If I personally am not comfortble with a word, I think using it would cause more harm than simply choosing an alternate word because *that* is when they'll sense embarrassment or implied shame. Using a euphamism is still a lot better than not talking about it at all.

Thank you for your input, though.

~Jodi






Avatar for kansascity
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 10:45am
We have always used the correct terminology for those words without any problems. I think it's important that they know the correct words for safety sake too. Fortunately, those parts just aren't talked about much in our house, so I don't have fear that they will say them outside the house. Maybe I'm not understanding your concern that they will talk about their "privates" outside the house. There is just no reason to use these words outside of the house. I think I would have more of a concern that they were using these words outside of the house not because they're "bad" words but because there may be "more" going on (KWIM?).

Take care and do what's best for you.

Kathy, Alexandra (6/19/97) and Christian (12/22/99)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 11:49am
Might I make a different suggestion? Trust me, I understand completely your discomfort, but instead of coming up with a code word, perhaps you might work on making yourself more comfortable with hearing/saying the word vagina? I mean, seriously, you could practice. (Say it to yourself, out loud, etc. - build up to saying it to DH, etc.!) If the goal is not to pass to your children not have your self-described "hangup," I would think the easiest way to accomplish that is to work on said "hangup." (True story, my grandmother was so uncomfortable with the term "period" that she used to refer to it as "your friend" and that once lead to a very awkward misunderstanding between us, LOL!!!)

I don't have a girl, but as I used to be one, I'd like to think I have some understanding, LOL! and I do wonder how often the term could possibly come up. I mean, no one plays, "head, shoulders, knees and vagina," at least I hope not, LOL! We have always used the term "penis" with DS, and he certainly knows by now that it's just considered impolite to discuss private parts with people other than those truly on a need-to-know basis. And I don't know, but I can't even remember when as a little girl I would have had a need to refer to my vagina (internal) as opposed to, I guess, my crotch (external), so maybe that's less awkward for you, at least in the meantime.

Good luck!

Donna

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 8:11pm
Well, I did it. Today when my oldest DS was in the bath, little sister wanted in, too, so I plunked her in there and decided it was a perfect opportunity to go for it. I took a deep breath and said, "You know, we call your 'pee pee' that, but the 'real' name is a penis. Kinda like when we call your stomach a tummy, it's just another word for the same thing. And Rowan has a vagina." He said it a few times, asked me if that's what mine was called and moved on. Now I just have to 'break it' to my middle guy! And stop blushing when *I* say it, of course.

I have to say that the post that really got me to come around was Sarah's - I realised I didn't want my daughter to inherit my hang-ups and continue the trend for generations!

Thanks for all the input. I still don't believe that a euphamism is harmful if it makes the conversation flow, but I'm glad I may have done something to avoid the future embarrasment of my female decendents! hehehe

~Jodi

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 9:52pm
I just wanted to add a few things that i feel are so important about his topic. I feel so badly not having participated in some of these discussions as of late. I promise I am working very hard on my time management skills so that I can take care of my family, work, run my small business, post, have a social life and make time for ME all rolled into one! LOL! Until then I may be late with posting, but I promise I will post!

I wanted to say that the most important thing about sexuality AND everything else we teach our children is to feel comfortable with teaching it. We have to look within ourselves and how WE grew up to make the adjustments that are necessary to educate our children in an ever changing world. The biggest challenge is coming to terms with how we are going to change our "issues" so that our children will benefit from us and our information.

While nicknames are fine, it is very important to teach our children the proper names for their body parts. You want them empowered enough to say exactly what part of their body is hurting or God forbid, getting touched by someone. We all know, even if we don't like or want to admit, this world isn't into sacredness as much as it was when we were growing up. These kids are learning and doing more than we ever thought about at such a YOUNG age. I see it on a daily basis at work. YOUNGSTERS are so informed....and most of the time misinformed.....they need us to get it right for them.

I am very glad this thread occured on our board, because even if it sounds "trivial" it is an essential part of raising a child in the year 2003. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and opinions. Jodi, I think you did a GREAT job at making the connection and keeping it innocent. I can appreciate your efforts! That is a challenge and you have surpassed that! BRAVO!!!!!!!

I wish us all peace of mind in our techniques of child rearing!

Janet=)

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