When kids are learning the names of their body parts, it’s important to include among them the accurate names of their private parts. For younger children, you can explain that their private parts are the parts covered by a swimsuit. You can use the words for private body parts along with words such as elbows and ears. Teach them the following names: nipples, breasts, bottom, penis, vagina, and anus. There are several reasons why knowing these correct names helps protect your child from sexual abuse.
Puts Everyone at Ease
Kids need to feel it’s natural and not embarrassing or wrong to use the correct names for all their body parts. Giving cute or silly names only to private body parts can send the signal that you’re uncomfortable talking about them. If your kids pick up on your discomfort, they might be more reluctant to tell you about abuse. Or if your discomfort makes them embarrassed or ashamed, they might also have a harder time telling you. Lastly, abusers are less likely to victimize children who are well informed.
Gives Kids Words to Use
Kids often find it hard to tell about sexual abuse because they don’t know the words to use. But if a child experiences sexual abuse, he or she will need to be able to describe what happened in as factual a way as possible. Kids are far better equipped to do this if they know the correct words to use and are not afraid to use them.
Because slang names change and differ from family to family, using accurate names for private body parts can help children be clearly understood by other adults. If a child is taught to call her vagina a flower, and then she tells her teacher that a neighbor broke or hurt her flower, it could well be that no one will understand that she is disclosing abuse. She may never try to tell again.