Other parents disapproving of proper terms? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone else encountered parents who think that teaching the proper terms for body parts (penis and vagina especially) is "wrong"? This weekend I was at a party and a bunch of moms that I don't really know or hang out with started talking about their sons and the funny things they do and say. Of course, one of them started talking about how it scares her how her son yanks on his "goober". I was actually a little confused at first until I realized that "goober" is code for penis. They continued on that subject and one of the ladies told a story about how a boy in her daycare kept saying that his penis hurt (ended up having a UTI) and she was like "I kept having to tell him to shush! I can't believe his mom told him to say penis, it's so embarrassing that he says that in front of the other kids!"

Um, what? You can't handle a 3 year old using the proper terms for his parts? Then shame him like he's doing something wrong? I mean, if you want to use cutesy names for your kids bits, that's your business...but it never occurred to me that people would think it was wrong for me to teach my kids the real terms! Anyone else encounter this? It really threw me for a loop.

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#2 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 01:38 PM
 
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I heard that from my son's babysitter when he was too young to talk. She told me how a toddler there (home childcare) had spent much of the day singsonging, "Daddy has peeeenis! Mommy has gina!" and she said this was why parents should not teach their children the proper terms, because of the potential for embarrassment. (As if you won't be embarrassed if your child is singing, "Daddy has goober! Mommy has coochie!" in public.) She wanted me to teach my son to call it by the Tagalog word for bird because that's what they do in the Philippines (where she's from) and it works out so perfectly. I don't speak Tagalog and promptly forgot the word, but I wasn't planning to use it anyway. We went on saying "penis" at home but my son has never become obsessed with the word. I don't see why it's a big deal.

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#3 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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I think its a shame, but it doesn't surprise me. Out society is so weird about bodies. We aren't supposed to talk about them or identify parts by the correct names, but nudity or partial nudity is everywhere. The parts are referred to with slang words or disrespectful terms in the media all the time. I am doing something similar with dd and any future kids( i mean teaching them the correct names not bug or bird or anything). I don't see anything wrong with it.

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#4 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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My MIL does not like the kids to say butt. She calls it a po-po. SIL freaks if somebody says butt in her presence. It is bum-bum. So, I can only imagine what those two would have to say if they heard penis or vagina come out of a kid's mouth. :
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#5 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 01:53 PM
 
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I also find it funny that people teach their DDs to call their vulvas a "vagina"...

I'd much rather a cute term be used than an incorrect one.
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#6 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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My IL family gets all embarrassed about it, but oh well

I actually don't like the word "butt," at least not out of the mouths of my little ones. I mean, wouldn't the correct words be "buttocks," "anus," and so on?? We usually say "bum" or "rear." And of course, "penis," "vulva" and "vagina."
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#7 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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People are weird.

My partner's brother and SIL teach their kids weird "code" names for their genitals, and his whole family thinks it's just crazy that my kids use words like penis and vagina as freely as they do, though I'm 100% certain they wouldn't like the kids using the (well-known, kind of "crude") slang words, which they also know.

And a funny story . . . we realized we'd slipped into a bad habit of using slang for our son's testicles and so I had a talk with him about the "real" name for his balls . . . when I confirmed with him a couple days later, to see if he remember, he said, "Umm, umm, ummm . . . ICICLES!!" He gets it now, but that cracked me up.

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#8 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AliveMama View Post
I also find it funny that people teach their DDs to call their vulvas a "vagina"...

I'd much rather a cute term be used than an incorrect one.
:

It irks me that people call it "vagina" Um the part you see is the vulva, the "inside" part is the vagina. Don't get all bent out of shape about folks using cutesy words if you aren't using the "correct" word anyway!
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#9 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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I don't know anyone like that...yet. My son is only two, though.

We have also fallen into the "balls" trap. My DH doesn't say "testicles" and I think that's how it happened. As for saying "penis," it comes out "weenis" somehow. But there are no cutesy names; I'm not a fan of woo-woo and all that jazz.

BTW, "butt" is slang and not correct terminology anyway, so it really belongs with woo-woo and pee-pee IMO.

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#10 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AliveMama View Post
I also find it funny that people teach their DDs to call their vulvas a "vagina"...

I'd much rather a cute term be used than an incorrect one.
I've thought about this, and where I agree, I don't expect toddlers to express that their 3rd distal phalanges is inflamed. I'm OK with "my finger hurts" KWIM?

Where they should be aware of the words for the specific parts, generalizing is also ok. Little boys have more then a penis, maybe it's their scrotum, or foreskin?

now, "cute" can be in the eye of the beholder. I've been known to call a butt cheek a biscuit, and am a fan of the genderless 'crotch' I however will NOT call something a dangle, peepee, hoha or chacha, unless I'm making fun of someone for being unable to say "penis"

Yoni is fair game. Its just a cool word.

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#11 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I agree with kriket. I think there's a difference between having a sense of humor about your body and being ashamed of it.

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#12 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
:

It irks me that people call it "vagina" Um the part you see is the vulva, the "inside" part is the vagina. Don't get all bent out of shape about folks using cutesy words if you aren't using the "correct" word anyway!
I agree with this - kind of. When DD was an infant through a preschooler, we were part of a playgroup where I was the only one who used penis and vagina. The other moms only had boys and they called their penises and testicles 'their stuff' ie - don't touch your stuff. When one of the moms went to a sexual abuse talk, they were told a story about a little girl who kept telling the teacher 'Johnny keeps touching my purse.' The teachers kept telling her to use her words and tell him to stop. It was only after a while that they finally picked up that 'purse' was their family name for vagina or vulva. As for the PP, at least while I might not be using the exact correct term, if one of my DDs went to a teacher and said 'Johnny is touching my vagina' there would be no confusion that something not appropriate is going on. That being said, I have been trying to change our family word to vulva. So in answer to the OP's question, yes I have encountered people who did not approve of the words we used.

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#13 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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they were told a story about a little girl who kept telling the teacher 'Johnny keeps touching my purse.'


at least the little girl knew enough to tell someone! Can you imagine the frustration the child felt having the teacher 'brush her off' after getting the courage to tell on Johnny

very important to think about!

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#14 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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I also find it funny that people teach their DDs to call their vulvas a "vagina"...
That is my personal pet peeve.
I was taught as a child to refer to my external genitalia as my vulva. However, I was the only kid in my peer group that didn't use a cutesy name. I used to use the cutesy names when I was with my friends so that I wouldn't stand out as the only child that called her "pee-pee" a "vulva." My dd will learn the correct terminology, but if she wants to refer to her vulva by a cutesy name, that's fine with me.
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#15 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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My mother called my son's penis his "pee bird" once when he was about 3 yrs old. He looked at her like she had just grown a second head. I had to explain that she meant his penis. He was relieved, she looked faint.

As for the vagina thing, for me it's more like a lesser of two evils. Females do in fact have a body part known as a vagina (seen or unseen), but no one is walking around with a "cookie" in their underpants... well not a biological one at least.

(Cookie is what a friend of mine uses to refer to her daughter's genitals ... if she worked up to vagina I'd consider it an improvement)

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#16 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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I don't care if people use cutesy names -- we use cutesy names for lots of body parts, but not to the exclusion of the proper terms.

But yeah, I'd be irked if someone acted like the proper terms are dirty words or something -- I'd be very irritated with anyone who thought it was okay to chastise my son for saying penis or scrotum.

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#17 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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We haven't encountered it, though I expect we will at some point. We have a group of friends who use correct terms, but most people here don't. DS told me the other day that his friend says a scrotum is a 'beehive,' so I had to explain why that's not what DS was thinking of (we read an article about beekeeping recently).

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#19 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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I haven't found anyone to think it is wrong but I have found that people are embarrassed by it. We use the term vulva for the all encompassing "female parts". When appropriate we use vagina, labia, ect.. We use penis, testicles, scrotum ect. for "male parts".

I have found the my Mom is really uncomfortable using the correct terms which just seems weird to me considering she is the daughter of a physician and an RN. But they grew up saying "nunu" for females and "ditty wee" for males. My Mom used "nunu" growing up but also taught us that the "correct term" was vagina, which of course when I was pregnant and spending a lot of time on MDC I learned was actually not the correct term.

So, now I can make myself feel silly. What is the correct term for a "butt"? We have gotten into saying "bottom" but I would rather use the correct term but I wasn't sure if it is "buttocks" or "gluteus maximus"? I worry that gluteus maximus would be difficult for DD to say until she is much older and might be confusing, if (God forbid) she was ever sexually abused and she tried to tell someone and her "version" of it came out as something not recognizable, KWIM?

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#20 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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I also wanted to say, growing up I was MUCH more embarrassed by the cutsey terms "nunu" and "bum-bum" then the proper term "vagina" (which I now know is not the proper term but I didn't know any better growing up).

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#21 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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I don't understand why anyone would be offended by the names of body parts - a penis is a body part, an elbow is a body part, a forhead is a body part, etc. They need to get over themselves!
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#22 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AliveMama View Post
I also find it funny that people teach their DDs to call their vulvas a "vagina"...

I'd much rather a cute term be used than an incorrect one.
I cant find the head in a bag smilie...*insert that here*

So..I have known now for two months that what we have been calling the vagina, is actually the vulva - but honest to goodness...I didnt know..I didnt know before I read a thread here saying so. This coming from an educated university grad person...Im a little ashamed of myself..I always thought the outside was the vagina, and the vagina consisted of the labia etc etc etc....

So...my problem now is, my toddler who is really interested in body parts *knows* that area is her vagina, and her bum is her bum...how can I go about correcting it the term without confusing her - I know she will get it eventually, but I would like to use the right term....

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#23 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:32 PM
 
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Butt may be slang too but at least people know what you are talking about when you talk about it. A lot of the cutesy words are asking for trouble because they are not universally known or recognized.

I was trying to think of what terms I was taught to use when I was a kid but I can't remember because discussing body parts was just not something that you did. You could cuss like a sailor but you could not discuss certain body parts or certain other things. If you had a rash or were sore, you said, "I hurt" and then proceeded to point because using any word to talk about it seemed horrific.

So, when I had kids, I was at a complete loss as to what terms to use because I knew that a lot of family members would freak out no matter what term was used because you just don't talk about it. As a result, we talk about private parts. All of my girls know the correct terms but we have always just referred to private parts as a catch all. It may not be exact but it is universally recognized and will not send anyone into a tizzy or cause anyone to faint. Down here in the south, I can see some of the more conservative old ladies fainting over a little kid using proper terms.
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#24 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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I also find it funny that people teach their DDs to call their vulvas a "vagina"...
Actually, I find it annoying. The vagina is the inside part. The vulva is the part that you touch while pottying or bathing.
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#25 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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Has anyone else encountered parents who think that teaching the proper terms for body parts (penis and vagina especially) is "wrong"? This weekend I was at a party and a bunch of moms that I don't really know or hang out with started talking about their sons and the funny things they do and say. Of course, one of them started talking about how it scares her how her son yanks on his "goober". I was actually a little confused at first until I realized that "goober" is code for penis. They continued on that subject and one of the ladies told a story about how a boy in her daycare kept saying that his penis hurt (ended up having a UTI) and she was like "I kept having to tell him to shush! I can't believe his mom told him to say penis, it's so embarrassing that he says that in front of the other kids!"

Um, what? You can't handle a 3 year old using the proper terms for his parts? Then shame him like he's doing something wrong? I mean, if you want to use cutesy names for your kids bits, that's your business...but it never occurred to me that people would think it was wrong for me to teach my kids the real terms! Anyone else encounter this? It really threw me for a loop.
They sound really immature. I teach proper terms, although DD is 2, so I don't differentiate her vulva from her vagina, yet. She calls it her "gina"
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#26 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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I've thought about this, and where I agree, I don't expect toddlers to express that their 3rd distal phalanges is inflamed. I'm OK with "my finger hurts" KWIM?
Saying vulva and vagina is more similar to simply saying hand and finger, though. Mentioning the "3rd distal phalanges' is comparable to saying the "left labia minora". I mean, come on.

Saying vagina irks me because 90% of the adults I know call it a vagina because they simply don't know. If you're going to call it the proper name, then call it the proper name. Easy-peasy.

Back on topic, I had a friend who called her son's penis a "firehouse". Now that is more embarrassing than saying penis. I don't understand the need to make the words shameful.

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#27 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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DH and I have talked about it and we fully plan on proper terms (we haven't discussed vulva vs vagina yet...)

I agree that it's sad that society views anatomically correct terms as "dirty" and "wrong." I can remember being in high school biology and the teacher telling us that at any point in time he could make us stand up and say "penis" and "vagina" over again as punishment. (He was joking about ACTUALLY doing it) The looks of horror around the room were astonishing. I remember thinking "so??" But a lot of people were terrified they'd have to say penis...

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#28 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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Saying vagina irks me because 90% of the adults I know call it a vagina because they simply don't know. If you're going to call it the proper name, then call it the proper name. Easy-peasy.
I don't even get what you're saying here. If adults don't know the proper term, but think that they do, how on earth can it be "easy-peasy" to use the actual term?

I'd heard the term 'vulva' many times, without actually knowing what it was, and I was taught that my genitals were my 'vagina'. I know that at some point, I realized that vagina only technically applied to the birth canal...but I still didn't know what the general term for a woman's genitalia was, and assumed that 'vagina' had been expanded, in the usage, beyond the birth canal. We didn't even learn that when we went through the whole "these are the changes your body will go through" spiel in 5th grade. I now know the terms is 'vulva'...but I still tend to think 'vagina'.

I think it's good that parents try to teach their children the proper terms, even if they don't get them exactly right - and it beats the heck out of calling the vulva a 'purse'! (As kriket said, even 'vagina', instead of 'vulva' works, when it comes to a child reporting inappropriate touches...and most adults will know exactly what the child means.) I think I taught ds1 'vagina', and dd has had a mix of both (because I know the correct term, but am still in the habit of using the incorrect one). She's figuring it out.

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#29 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:56 PM
 
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I don't even get what you're saying here. If adults don't know the proper term, but think that they do, how on earth can it be "easy-peasy" to use the actual term?

I'd heard the term 'vulva' many times, without actually knowing what it was, and I was taught that my genitals were my 'vagina'. I know that at some point, I realized that vagina only technically applied to the birth canal...but I still didn't know what the general term for a woman's genitalia was, and assumed that 'vagina' had been expanded, in the usage, beyond the birth canal. We didn't even learn that when we went through the whole "these are the changes your body will go through" spiel in 5th grade. I now know the terms is 'vulva'...but I still tend to think 'vagina'.

I think it's good that parents try to teach their children the proper terms, even if they don't get them exactly right - and it beats the heck out of calling the vulva a 'purse'! (As kriket said, even 'vagina', instead of 'vulva' works, when it comes to a child reporting inappropriate touches...and most adults will know exactly what the child means.) I think I taught ds1 'vagina', and dd has had a mix of both (because I know the correct term, but am still in the habit of using the incorrect one). She's figuring it out.
Thanks storm bride! Because this is me too (and I said so above). I didnt know my vulva was my vulva...I just thought it was all general vagina..and then broken down into smaller parts. Im certainly not trying to use the wrong word - because I honestly thought it was the right term.

I think its sad that so many adults dont know proper names for their body parts, and it says a lot about what we-they are being taught in either sex ed classes, or whatever subject it is where they learn the names of the genitalia...

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#30 of 239 Old 03-23-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I don't even get what you're saying here. If adults don't know the proper term, but think that they do, how on earth can it be "easy-peasy" to use the actual term?

I'd heard the term 'vulva' many times, without actually knowing what it was, and I was taught that my genitals were my 'vagina'. I know that at some point, I realized that vagina only technically applied to the birth canal...but I still didn't know what the general term for a woman's genitalia was, and assumed that 'vagina' had been expanded, in the usage, beyond the birth canal. We didn't even learn that when we went through the whole "these are the changes your body will go through" spiel in 5th grade. I now know the terms is 'vulva'...but I still tend to think 'vagina'.

I think it's good that parents try to teach their children the proper terms, even if they don't get them exactly right - and it beats the heck out of calling the vulva a 'purse'! (As kriket said, even 'vagina', instead of 'vulva' works, when it comes to a child reporting inappropriate touches...and most adults will know exactly what the child means.) I think I taught ds1 'vagina', and dd has had a mix of both (because I know the correct term, but am still in the habit of using the incorrect one). She's figuring it out.
I understand what you're saying, but that is exactly my point. If people would call them by their correct names, it would stop the problem. If people used the correct terms, we wouldn't have so many people that don't know the proper names for their own body parts.

And yes, I do prefer "vagina" over "purse" or "cookie", I sppose.

...

That's a weird sentence to end a post.

Sgt. Renninger, Ofc. Owens, Ofc. Griswold, Ofc. Richards, Deputy Mundell
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