Genitals, like other body parts, are essential to our physical, emotional and psychological well-being. We described them as “private” because they are generally off-limits to others; we keep them covered. However, they are not so private that we can’t speak about them respectfully. Addressing children’s private body parts by their accurate medical names is important for several reasons.
Genitals are not shameful
Using the correct terms for private body parts can help prevent confusion and misunderstandings. Using slang or euphemisms send the message that genitals are shameful, naughty, wrong, bad, and that’s its rude to mention them. It can lead to misunderstandings or embarrassment and make it more difficult for children to communicate about their bodies or to report any inappropriate behavior. By using the correct terms, we can promote clear and open communication about private body parts and make it easier for children to talk about any issues or concerns they may have.
Safeguard children from sexual abuse
It is an important step in preventing child sexual abuse. Sexual abusers rely on secrets and silence to commit their sexual acts, and if children believe they cannot even say the names of their private parts, they send a message to abusers that they are safe targets and will likely be too embarrassed to tell anyone. Children who are able to name their private body parts are better equipped to protect themselves from sexual abuse and to report any incidents that may occur.
When incorrect names are taught, kids get the message they will get into trouble if they speak about private parts and so may not confide in adults when they are confused or concerned that someone is touching them inappropriately. This practice can shut down communication which is so vital for children when they need adults to help them understand the world. Using the correct terms helps to empower children and communicate the importance of keeping their bodies safe.
Healthy attitudes towards sexuality
It helps to promote healthy attitudes towards sexuality and the human body. It reinforces the idea that our bodies are natural and normal and promotes a sense of respect for our bodies and the bodies of others. This can help to counteract negative attitudes or shame around sexuality that may be perpetuated by using slang or euphemisms.
Accurate understanding of their bodies
It is also a matter of accuracy and clarity. It helps children learn the correct names for their body parts and promotes anatomical knowledge, which can help them understand their bodies and their functions.
In conclusion, addressing children’s private body parts by their biologically accurate name is important for promoting accuracy, clarity, open communication, preventing confusion, preventing child sexual abuse, and promoting healthy attitudes towards sexuality and the human body. It is a simple but effective step that caregivers and educators can take to promote children’s well-being and safety.