Last night, my daughter woke me up in the early hours to tell me that her ‘rude part’ was burning. Correctly assuming she was talking about her vagina, I treated her and tucked her back into bed.
I allowed myself to drift off to sleep, closing my mind to the fact that I was really upset she had called it her ‘rude part’ in the first place. I can worry about that in the morning.
And boy did I worry about it.
I have always taught my children to call their body parts by the correct names. They have breasts, penises, vaginas, bums and so on and so forth. I have never used replacement words for their body parts.
However since she started school this year, my influence over her thoughts, behaviour and word usage has become severely limited by the influence of her new friends who have wrongly been taught that their vagina is to be referred to as a ‘rude part’.
I like this little boy’s style, from one of my favourite movies Kindergarten Cop. Post continues after the video.
Why would a parent want to associate such a negative word to any part of their child’s body? Is it the Catholic school influence? Is it because some parents are squeamish when it comes to discussing things like this?
Now, I have to try to explain to her why I don’t want her calling it that.
I am planning to tell her that I would prefer she call her vagina just that because it is just another body part like an arm or a leg. There is nothing rude about it.
‘Rude’ is a negative word and shouldn’t be associated with a part of her body that should be respected and treasured.
I also don't want her feeling any sense of shame or embarrassment over her breast or vaginas. While I want her to treat them delicately and keep them to herself for as long as possible, I don't want her to feel embarrassed that she has them.
What I am not planning on telling her (but another reason I want her to use the word vagina) is that one of the recommendations parents are given when teaching their children to protect themselves from sexual offenders is to teach them to call their body parts by the correct names. So there is no confusion when they are either defending themselves against the actions of another, or when they are explaining what happened to a grown up later.
Pretty valid reasons if you ask me.
In my home a penis has always been a penis, not a 'tinkle' or a 'sausage'.
In my home a vagina has always been a vagina, not a 'rude part' and not 'down there'.
Do you teach your children the proper words for all of their body parts or do you prefer to give them nicknames?