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Any Freudians in the House? (Or, Help! Dd has Penis Envy!)

(17 Posts)
mangolassi Mon 13-Oct-08 07:49:56

I always thought penis envy was a daft idea, I mean, women don?t lack penises, they have their own genitalia, right? And isn?t it a very, very male idea that anyone without a penis must feel like they?re missing something? So dd is continuing in her unofficial mission to prove me wrong about everything I used to think before she was born, by insisting over the weekend that she?s a boy and has a penis. (I smiled and said, really? in the same tone as I do when she tells me she?s a kangaroo.)

So is there a mn-approved way of dealing with this? How do Freudians say she?s supposed to resolve the issue? Actually, don?t Freudians say she won?t resolve it totally? Are there post-Freudians (or something) with better ideas?

I remember lurking on a thread ages ago, where some child of psychoanalysts told a story about being asked as a child, ?do you wish you had a penis?? and her reply was, ?no, I?ve got a clitoris and a vagina, thanks?. That?s the attitude I want dd to have, but I?m not sure I?m ready to talk about clitorises with her. She?s 2 next week, by the way.

mangolassi Mon 13-Oct-08 07:51:26

And why did all my apostrophes turn into question marks?

mangolassi Mon 13-Oct-08 08:14:21


BlueberryPancake Mon 13-Oct-08 08:19:16

I have two boys so can't really help that much. I would reply simply "boys have penises and girls have a vulva". I wouldn't go into the specifics of a vagina and clitoris. My nearly three yo boy is also a bit obsessed with his private parts at the moment, he walks up to girls and boys and ask them 'Do you have a penis' and if the answer is no he says 'Well, I do!' It's funny but not really funny. I have a girlfriend whose little girl(3 yo) often asks 'When will I grow breasts, mummy?'

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I don't read too much into it, it's just curiosity and learning. By the way my son is insisting on wearing a pink hair band at the moment, and he wants to wear a ballet dress.

FloriaTosca Mon 13-Oct-08 08:26:03

I personally wouldn't worry...but I'm no psychoanalyst. But I do know that my male cousin at 2.5 yrs old, watched his new born sister being breast fed and said "I'm going to do that when I'm grown up...I'll feed her like that" and he has grown up to be perfectly normal (if being a mcp with dw, 4 dds and 2 sdds at his beck and call!). Hope someone more qualified can help you.

mangolassi Mon 13-Oct-08 08:59:18

Mmm, wouldn't say I'm worried, exactly, but I am interested in what's going on, developmentally (iykwim). And what happens next, how do girls resolve the issue?

Someone I know (definitely not a friend) is freaking out over her ds being into sparkly things and wanting to wear her shoes - she's definitely the one with ishoos, not her poor child. Floria, what's an mcp? Brave man to live in a house with 7 women, anyway

Lauriefairycake Mon 13-Oct-08 09:08:23

yes, you tell her about how fantastic her clitoris is and show it to her, either a picture or yours (be brave). You tell her it is bigger than a penis but all the nerves for it are hidden inside.

That may or may not be related to what she's saying though - she may just be being an alternative that day to a kangaroo smile but at some point tell her about her clitoris

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Mon 13-Oct-08 09:11:45

Freudians say that she deals with issue by relating to her mother, as you also had your penis chopped off at a very early age by your father because you fancied your mother, or this is what you thought when you are young.

Is it just me or did frued have some serious emotional issues he needed to deal with?

kingfix Mon 13-Oct-08 09:15:01

not a freudian either, but think this is very normal phase. My 2 year old dd goes around saying who's got a willy and who hasn't, not always accurately ('grandad got a willy, daddy got a willy, me got a willy teddy got a willy mummy not got a willy'). I think it helps to tell her a proper name for what girls have as then it's not so much boys have something and girls don't. Also, from what I've seen of hands down nappies I don't think most girls have any problem finding their clitorises.

mangolassi Mon 13-Oct-08 09:33:56

Hmm, would be easy to teach her the word clitoris, and kingfix is right, I think she's found it already. Will take great pleasure in telling her it's bigger than a penis but it's all inside - can't imagine what her male cousins will make of that!

She's bilingual, and 'clitoris' is absolutely the rudest word in the other language - twunt for us - so that'll be interesting, dp is going to think I'm nuts.

FloriaTosca Mon 13-Oct-08 10:31:15

mangolassi grin I can see the language problem is going to be fun to sort out...good luck!
mcp...good old fashioned "male chauvinist pig"..which he is...sits there like the king while they all fetch him tea and biscuits (he learned that behaviour from our grandfather)

TheArmadillo Mon 13-Oct-08 10:50:34

children at this age don't realise their sex is fixed for life. It seems perfectly reasonable to them that say a girl could grow up to be a man. OR that they could say 'I'm going to be a boy' and magically grow a penis.

I think they start getting the hang of it around 3yo but not completely sure on that.

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Mon 13-Oct-08 10:52:50

Oh yes while changing my nephews napy dd1 asked "what is that?"
"His winky. All boys have remember. Daddy has one too."
"Oh little boys have them too? I thought all babies were girls and grew winkies later on when they decided to be boys. I don't want to grow one. I like being a girl"

TheArmadillo Mon 13-Oct-08 10:53:55

lol I like that grin

mangolassi Mon 13-Oct-08 11:10:06

Floria - ah, I see, sounds like he's been shamed by the breastfeeding stories and is overcompensating

slayerette Mon 13-Oct-08 11:25:52

I wouldn't worry. My DS is sad that I don't have penis envy.

DS: 'Mummy, I'm sorry you don't have a willy.'
Me: 'Well, I really don't mind that much.'
DS: hmm

Egg Mon 13-Oct-08 11:28:59

My DS1 has penis envy at the mo. He keeps saying in a sad voice "I wish I had a big willy like daddy". He is 2.

I have to reassure him that his is a perfect size and even if it is smaller than daddy's it is bigger than DS2's!

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