Those of you who don't use anatomically correct terms with your children - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-14-2012, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure not everyone on here uses 'vagina' and 'penis' with their children, just as not everyone cosleeps. So I am wondering what you tell your children these private areas are called when they ask. DS is not terribly interested but I know he will ask at some point soon, since he still takes baths with me pretty often. I have told him that his is called a penis, since it is his own body I feel he should have the right words for that- but I have not yet had to tell him what mommy's area is called. What do you all use?

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Old 01-14-2012, 12:32 PM
 
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we use labia for external girl anatomy. It's technically not a vagina, and to me, labia is a more pleasant word than vulva.


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Old 01-14-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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we use labia for external girl anatomy. It's technically not a vagina, and to me, labia is a more pleasant word than vulva.



That's not a bad idea. DD1 was home from college over break and had a cow when I used the word "vulva" with dd2 who is 20 months. She said it's a gross word and nobody uses it. She said she calls her "stuff" her vagina, no matter if it's on the inside or outside and she's sticking to it. Even though she knows it's wrong!

 

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Old 01-14-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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Since we use the exact terms for actual discussion at home, they pretty much stick to it.  If one of them told me their vagina was irritated... I will ask what parts.  DD1 can't use any soap at all.  And so I need to know the all of it so I can help her if she's gotten shampoo in the area. 

 

I don't have boys but for me it's easier when my girls can tell me the exact parts that they are talking about.  DH feels this way too.  If they're coming to him for advice... which they do they are required to tell us exactly what and where.  If it's internal than it's different than external and using the same word for all of it makes it difficult to know what they need.  To make them more comfortable with saying the words, we all use them at home.  I've shown them diagrams so they understand and I they seem more sure of themselves when talking about it all.

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Old 01-14-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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That's not a bad idea. DD1 was home from college over break and had a cow when I used the word "vulva" with dd2 who is 20 months. She said it's a gross word and nobody uses it. She said she calls her "stuff" her vagina, no matter if it's on the inside or outside and she's sticking to it. Even though she knows it's wrong!

I agree with her! I am very comfortable using the word vagina because it seems to be so common these days. I just don't think to use the more specific names like vulva or labia. When my girls have an issue or question, they use the word vagina. If I need more information, I'll ask them to tell me where (inside or outside) and we go from there.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:54 PM
 
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he he from past MDC experience this one could get interesting.

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Old 01-14-2012, 01:59 PM
 
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You're right, some of us are sticklerssmile.gif.....I don't know how old your ds is.  We always called the penis a penis and the vulva a vulva but with my young girls we just end up saying "privates" a lot.

 

I guess it's just not easy for me to call the whole thing a vagina just because there's so much other stuff there doing it's thing.


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Old 01-14-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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Hey frank new avatar!

 

I actually started using all the correct terms after that last debate.  Simply because... well why not?  Why not use the right terms?  I found it actually easier for to talk to me about things when they didn't have to generalize. 

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Old 01-14-2012, 02:20 PM
 
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We call it a general "body" region.  Not correct I know.  But much less embarrassing when DS1 announced in church that his mom has a lot of hair on her body.  It could have been soooo much worse.  As they get older I will teach them the correct words- but hopefully after they figure out what is and is not appropriate to announce at church.


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Old 01-14-2012, 03:25 PM
 
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When ds1 started asking what his penis was, I had to force myself to say the correct term. I grew up saying "private parts" or "uumm .... you know, *there*" and it was soooo awkward. So now I have got "penis" down, I am ok with vagina, although every single time I say it (like when ds1 points and giggles at me eyesroll.gif) I mentally correct myself that it is a vulva. But yeah I agree, its not a pretty sounding word. 

 

BUT TO THIS DAY when I say "penis" or "vagina/vulva" my inner self says "private part." rolleyes.gif

 

My dh, on the other hand, says "pi - pi"  or "pi-pi-lin"  I don't even know how to spell that. Its when he nonchalantly calls it a wiener that I have him correct himself.


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Old 01-14-2012, 03:54 PM
 
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nm

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Old 01-14-2012, 04:10 PM
 
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I had to smile when I saw this thread. We had no problem incorporating "penis" when the boys were little -- then baby dd started referring to *her* penis. We did use "vagina" but my daughter rejected that as "that long word I can't remember."

 

My friend from the UK uses "front bottom" which I thought was rather funny, but also rather accurate.

 

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Old 01-14-2012, 04:43 PM
 
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My friend from the UK uses "front bottom" which I thought was rather funny, but also rather accurate.

 



We used "front bottom" and "back bottom" when we were kids.

 

With our LO we say vulva and penis. I think vulva is an ugly word too but I don't really like labia that much either. It is pretty cute when I'm changing her nappy and she slaps her vulva and says "Wolwa!" though.


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Old 01-15-2012, 01:49 AM
 
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My daughters are teenagers now, but when they were little I had the hardest time with using the correct terms.  I made sure they knew the proper names for their parts, but for just day to day communication we generally used "bottom" and "butt." Awful, I know :(  It's always been so difficult for me to discuss anything sexual with them, mostly because of some awful experiences with my mom growing up, and even though I've managed to put on a clinical attitude, pretend I don't feel awkward, and make sure they are educated, I'm still amazed at how comfortable they seem to be talking to me about this stuff.  I must be pretending pretty well.

 

That said, with our baby boy I think we'll make a point of using the correct words from the start this time...


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Old 01-15-2012, 03:03 AM
 
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When I was little, my sister called it her "front tushie." My mom "corrected" us and we called the whole shebang our vagina. Penis and vagina.

 

DS calls EVERYONE's "penis." He notes that ours all look different but if pee comes outta there, it's a penis. He is only just starting to get that there might be a different word for it on Mommies.

 

Even though I *know* it's incorrect, I may stick with vagina, especially if we end up with only boys. DH refuses to even say "penis" (he says "weiner" and "vajayjay") and DS is adamant that his whole deal is his penis (vs. foreskin and penis -- or is it foreskin and glans and the whole thing is a penis? I don't even know -- everyone else is circed and it's always only been "penis"....)

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Old 01-15-2012, 03:16 AM
 
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:39 AM
 
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I think we're missing some voices on this issue.  While it's cute to make up names for body parts it does nothing to actually teach your kids correct terms.  I'm not embarrassed by the body or the use of the correct terms.  A vulva is a vulva, penis is a penis.  Generally there is no need for my kid to discuss her vagina at this point.  Though I did babysit a kid once that shoved a barbie leg in her vagina... why?  Because she found a hole and wanted to know how deep it went.  She called it a pocket.  Her parents freaked out and took her in to find out if she'd been molested... Uh maybe by her self... she shoved a barbie leg in her "pocket".  Which I later found out was what her mom called it.  Good one mom!

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Old 01-15-2012, 08:27 AM
 
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This is an "it depends" question. Generally, I use the anatomically correct names and not nicknames if we are discussing the parts and what they do. I would not want to use the word "vagina" to mean "all of women's genitals," since I know that makes things confusing. I would rather say, "women's genitals," and get specific as necessary. As in, "Yes, women have a urethra, but since we don't have a penis, it goes just above the entrance to the vagina." (Or however I put it--I might have done a better job than I'm doing now!)  It's not like an 8-year-old has tons of questions about this, but when he does, we use the right words. I think I had to explain what a clitoris was because of something he saw on the web the other day, also. 

 

A boy has a penis and testicles, and when you are still changing diapers, you might mention that you're cleaning his scrotum. You would never say "front bottom and back bottom" for a boy. You wouldn't call his testicles, "your penis," because that's just silly. We shouldn't talk about women's bodies in a way that's confusing, even if we don't want to use all the technical language. I think it's OK to be more general than naming all the parts when you aren't in a technical conversation about them, but you don't want to be so vague as to create a false impression of what's there! So I try not to call the whole shebang a vagina, and I certainly wouldn't, in a million years, refer to my genitals as my front bottom! Or a pocket! Goodness.

 

(The whole shebang is actually kind of a good nickname, but I think I won't use it with my kid.) 


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Old 01-15-2012, 09:38 AM
 
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LOL -- It didn't even occur to me when I posted that I have no idea what DS thinks his scrotum is. It's never come up.... I think it may have once, and referred to it as "No, that other fing. This here" when I thought he was talking about his penis. That was it. No other mention since... But since I still can't convince him that he has a foreskin, it just doesn't matter too much right now.

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Old 01-15-2012, 10:28 AM
 
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I only have a son, but we've always used penis, scrotum, testicles. Much easier on me since I started using those words when he was a baby, so it just seems natural. And it is, after all, those are the correct words. I can see how it would be awkward to use "cute" words and then have to introduce the real words with an older child.

 

One reason that i have heard to make sure children know the real words, even if you sometimes use "cute" words too: in case of abuse, you want to be sure that any "safe" adult the child tells can understand what they are saying. So "a man touched my puppy dog" may not get the child help, while "a man touched my penis" probably will.

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Old 01-15-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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When we aren't being specific, we just use "genitals" to describe the whole package, male or female. Mislabeling for the sake of simplicity or avoiding unpleasant words just seems like it would leave too much room for confusion and potentially shame and embarrassment, imo. DS won't have any real use for proper names of female genitals for a very long time, however, I don't want DD getting the impression that there is something so embarrassing or shameful about her genitals that he shouldn't even know their real names. "Genitals" is accurate without getting more specific than needed. 

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Old 01-15-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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We use anatomically correct words.
Just wondering, do those of you that use anatomically correct words say urinate and bowel movement instead of pee and poop or whatever else?

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Old 01-15-2012, 11:23 AM
 
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We use anatomically correct words.
Just wondering, do those of you that use anatomically correct words say urinate and bowel movement instead of pee and poop or whatever else?


I use both. DD knows the correct terms for her bodily functions, and uses them when we're being technical or speaking to the doctor, but uses pee or poop usually.

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Old 01-15-2012, 01:04 PM
 
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 DS is adamant that his whole deal is his penis (vs. foreskin and penis -- or is it foreskin and glans and the whole thing is a penis? I don't even know -- everyone else is circed and it's always only been "penis"....)


The glans is the top, helmet-shaped bit under the foreskin (if you're uncirced), the foreskin is the skin over the glans, the shaft is the long part between the glans and the abdominal wall (this is the part that fills with blood to produce an erection) and "penis" is the collective term for all those parts thumb.gif

 


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Old 01-15-2012, 01:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thatgirliknew View Post

We use anatomically correct words.
Just wondering, do those of you that use anatomically correct words say urinate and bowel movement instead of pee and poop or whatever else?


Still haven't got this multi-quote thing figured out. We say "wee" and "poo" with our LO and that is what she says at the moment. But, she also hears us say urinate, bowels open, faeces etc so I imagine, as she gets older, those more formal terms will be incorporated in some settings. Maybe when she's at the doctor, as a PP said.

 

I guess I feel more comfortable using casual terms for bodily waste than body parts because I feel they are less ambiguous. I don't know anyone who wouldn't understand what wee or poo meant, they are in *very* common usage where we live, but casual terms for body parts seem to be more individual and may not be so easily recognised.


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Old 01-15-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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The glans is the top, helmet-shaped bit under the foreskin (if you're uncirced), the foreskin is the skin over the glans, the shaft is the long part between the glans and the abdominal wall (this is the part that fills with blood to produce an erection) and "penis" is the collective term for all those parts thumb.gif

 



I stand corrected. I feel really silly that I didn't know that, but of course being correct isn't exactly my top priority.... So DS knows more about it than I do. Which is the way it should be! ;-)

 

(Honestly, every time something like this comes up, I flash back to the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is all confused and says, "I don't know how you guys walk around with those things.")

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Old 01-15-2012, 10:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatgirliknew View Post

We use anatomically correct words.
Just wondering, do those of you that use anatomically correct words say urinate and bowel movement instead of pee and poop or whatever else?


We use penis and vulva (which I hate the sound of, just do not like that letter combo) and I say pee and poop.


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Old 01-15-2012, 10:23 PM
 
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When I'm in a position (e.g., in public) where I don't want to use the anatomically correct terms, I use "private parts" and "bottom". But, really, they need to know the correct bodily terms. OP, mommy has a "vulva" and men have a "penis". It's actually easier to name these parts when they're young like this, than it is to introduce the anatomically correct terms as they near puberty. Right now, ds is 10. The fastest way for me to get him to do anything right now is to threaten to read a book on puberty with him! Thankfully, he knows the basics of reproduction. I'm going to have to sic dh on him about bodily changes (hormones, body hair, night time ejaculation, etc.) The window of opportunity for teaching the correct terms closes far earlier than you might think!

 


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Old 01-15-2012, 11:57 PM
 
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I use penis, balls and yoni. A bit incongruous, but it has come from a natural evolution of terminology in our family and it works for us. Of course, my boys use all kinds of words for male parts, and I just kind of roll my eyes. There's just no fighting that majority.


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Old 01-16-2012, 12:23 AM
 
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I think we're missing some voices on this issue.  While it's cute to make up names for body parts it does nothing to actually teach your kids correct terms.  I'm not embarrassed by the body or the use of the correct terms.  A vulva is a vulva, penis is a penis.  Generally there is no need for my kid to discuss her vagina at this point.  Though I did babysit a kid once that shoved a barbie leg in her vagina... why?  Because she found a hole and wanted to know how deep it went.  She called it a pocket.  Her parents freaked out and took her in to find out if she'd been molested... Uh maybe by her self... she shoved a barbie leg in her "pocket".  Which I later found out was what her mom called it.  Good one mom!


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I keep coming back to this thread looking for the vulva/vagina conversation


And can I just say (this is how awful I am) that since DH and I re-watched Borat a few weeks ago, I have had to literally stop myself from saying "vagine" over 20 times. And we say vulva at our house smile.gif

My mom used to call the whole area down there (a vulva) "goodies"- it still makes me cringe to this day. I also know lots of people who used the term "cookie." DD refers to her own area as her "peepee", and the few times I have told her that it is her vulva she looks at me and says, "No, peepee" very matter of factly.

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