It is important to teach our children the proper names for their genitals as this may make them less vulnerable to sexual abuse. Children who are more comfortable using the correct names are more likely to be able to discuss them, and to be open with parents or carers. This is crucial, because children not only need to know that talking about their body is OK but also that it’s OK to tell someone if something happens to those parts of their body. They can also be very clear when talking about which part of their body has been affected. We call a leg, a leg, and an arm, an arm – so why not call a penis, a penis or a vagina, a vagina?
Another important reason for teaching children the correct terminology is that it helps children develop a healthy, more positive body image. Using nicknames may lead to children thinking that their genitals are something shameful, bad or not to be talked about.
Children learn by example, so even when things feel a little awkward for us as adults it’s important we try to move past this and show our children not to be embarrassed.