My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

AIBU?

Have I been unreasonable to teach my DC the correct terminology for their body parts?

153 replies

Coffeeandteaplease · 22/01/2024 12:57

I have NCed. This post briefly mentions a history of trauma

I have a DS who is 3 (very nearly 4) and a DD who is nearly 1.

Today while bathing my DD my DS was with us and asked me if she just had a bum. He said he has a penis/willy and looked at her and said she has a bum?' were his words. He was just curious and noticing that his sister looks different to him - I don't see a problem with that. My DH in the other room shouted through and told me I should tell him my DD has a 'flower'?! I said 'what!! I am not telling DS that! It's not true!' Anyway, I told him she has a vagina as she is a girl. DS said 'okay' and that was that. My DH however said I was wrong to tell him that as he's 'so young'.

AIBU here? I'm not sure I am.

For a bit of background, I was raped as a teenager and I suppose because of that I want my DC to understand their body parts and their correct names. God forbid anything were to happen, imagine my DD saying flower instead of vagina, someone might not even understand what she meant! I know DS is young, but he's nearly 4 and he asked a valid question. My DH seems to think I'm being over cautious because of my trauma and now I'm having a little bit of doubt in my mind. He has said 'what if DS says it in nursery' and now I'm worried/doubting myself.

Please be kind. I'm feeling quite anxious about this because of my past.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

475 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
3%
You are NOT being unreasonable
97%
Familiaritybreedscontemptso · 22/01/2024 12:59

Totally appropriate to use correct terminology. We use vulva, vagina, penis, testicles.

we also settled on the rather twee ‘girl bits’ as an alternative alongside Willy because sometimes you just don’t want to say vulva!

gettingthereonemistakeatatime · 22/01/2024 13:01

Familiaritybreedscontemptso · 22/01/2024 12:59

Totally appropriate to use correct terminology. We use vulva, vagina, penis, testicles.

we also settled on the rather twee ‘girl bits’ as an alternative alongside Willy because sometimes you just don’t want to say vulva!

haha, yes I use the correct terminology when explaining what it is, but do say 'lady bits' and 'male bits' in day-to-day life!

DappledThings · 22/01/2024 13:01

DC are 6 and 7. Have always been taught penis and vulva and used those words

Maray1967 · 22/01/2024 13:03

As far as I understand, it’s advised to use the correct names now for precisely the reason you give. I have DSs and have to admit we did use ‘Willy’. I suspect the GPs would have expressed surprise (probably a lot more) if our three year old had said ‘penis’, but I don’t think you need to be worried about nursery staff.

Hopefully a childcare professional will be along soon to advise on current guidance.

There is no way I would have called a vulva - correct term for the outward parts - a flower.

Snugglemonkey · 22/01/2024 13:03

I think it is unreasonable not to use vulva, penis etc.

Springcleaninginsummer · 22/01/2024 13:03

You are correct. Children need to know a standard term for their private parts. I can't count how many times a kid has told me they were hurt in their tuppence, or their flower or something more random. If you want the teachers to understand what they are saying, they need the right words.

Grimmz · 22/01/2024 13:03

Of course it's fine to use the correct terminology. The fact that we as a society are too embarrassed to say the word "vagina" is quite odd. That said, I don't think it's necessarily wrong if parents choose to use nicknames. Anatomical terminology can be OTT sometimes

Danikm151 · 22/01/2024 13:03

Nursery asked me why my son says penis last week.
I told them that I’ve taught him the correct words as if there was ever a problem he would know how to describe the area rather than saying willy woo woo.

he knows that girls have a vagina and boys have a penis. Better for him to know it now that having to teach him as a teenager.

hydriotaphia · 22/01/2024 13:04

Personally in our house we say zizi and zizzette (the French kids' terms for boys' and girls' private parts, we speak French). I think it's fine to teach children a familiar name for their private parts, to make them something familiar rather than clinical. It is a problem that there is no equivalent of 'willy' in English for a girl's parts, but lots of families have their own versions. I wouldn't have an issue with using the word vagina however, except that technically it describes the inner passage not the outer parts (which is the vulva).

2mummies1baby · 22/01/2024 13:04

You are absolutely correct to teach your children the correct terminology for their body parts, but for that reason, you should make sure you use vulva instead of vagina in the context you mentioned. The vagina is internal, so cannot be seen.

owlsinthedaylight · 22/01/2024 13:04

gettingthereonemistakeatatime · 22/01/2024 13:01

haha, yes I use the correct terminology when explaining what it is, but do say 'lady bits' and 'male bits' in day-to-day life!

Yes, this. (And vulva rather than vagina for external female genitals.)

Very important for children in particular to be able to communicate clearly on this.

Shinyandnew1 · 22/01/2024 13:04

Mine were fully aware of the correct terminology and knew what a penis and vulva were. We used vagina less as that wasn’t what was generally red/sore or itchy that they were talking about. We tended to just refer to ‘bits’ though as I would if I was talking to anyone about mine!

gm2023 · 22/01/2024 13:04

YABU not to say vulva! But in all seriousness - crack on. There’s nothing wrong or shameful in using the right names for body parts. My DD is two and knows the words vulva/vagina, and likes to ask me about my periods with great curiosity. Super important to normalise all of this stuff, in my view. You’re doing great.

Insidelaurashead · 22/01/2024 13:04

If DS says 'my sister has a vagina' in nursery they react the same as 'my sister has feet' Id expect. Teaching the right words is the best idea

Shinyandnew1 · 22/01/2024 13:05

willy woo woo

Thats a new one on me!

DappledThings · 22/01/2024 13:05

Danikm151 · 22/01/2024 13:03

Nursery asked me why my son says penis last week.
I told them that I’ve taught him the correct words as if there was ever a problem he would know how to describe the area rather than saying willy woo woo.

he knows that girls have a vagina and boys have a penis. Better for him to know it now that having to teach him as a teenager.

Thats really weird if them to have asked you. If he said stomach instead of tummy I bet they wouldn't have queried that

slapmyarseandcallmemary · 22/01/2024 13:05

You did the right thing. I have a 6, 4 and 1 year old. I have always used the correct terminology.

rainbowsparkle28 · 22/01/2024 13:05

Absolutely YANBU. Children should know the correct names for their body parts for exactly the reasons you discuss, it is not a flower or whatever other multitude of words people use rather than calling it what it is 🤨...

CuriousGeorge80 · 22/01/2024 13:05

We use the correct terms (penis, vagina, vulva) with out 2 year old. I thought that was the advised approach!

Urcheon · 22/01/2024 13:06

Unreasonable NOT to use the correct terminology, in my opinion. I mean, by all means feel free to call your own genitals ‘Dolores’ or ‘the Venus Fly-Trap’ or ‘my little Daisy’ or whatever, but teach your children accurate neutral words. From which they can later diversify, if they like.

2mummies1baby · 22/01/2024 13:06

Also, I'm a primary school teacher, and children learn the proper terminology at school from a very young age (not sure exactly what age, as I teach UKS2).

Moier · 22/01/2024 13:07

Definitely as soon as they start asking and noticing..
I taught my daughters the correct names .. my Grandsons also were taught.. it's recommended.
It's not disgusting or sexual it's very normal.
Dr Khan and others on TV have wrote books and they agree.
Well one of my Grandsons always said he's got a penis and two tentacals .🤣

treath · 22/01/2024 13:09

@DappledThings

Thats really weird if them to have asked you

My initial thought was the same, however it's possible they were asking to ensure he knows because his parents taught him: not someone else?

Danikm151 · 22/01/2024 13:10

@DappledThings I know.
i think it’s because we live in an area with a high level of families who just avoid talking about body parts at all.

I was worried when they asked but then realised I shouldn’t worry because they’re the medically correct terms.

Lovingitallnow · 22/01/2024 13:10

I always thing vagina is a funny one because no one says anus. Your son at this point is no more informed about a vagina than he was previously. It's still not correct.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.