Why it is important to teach kids the correct names of their body parts and how to talk to them about their genitals?

Today I want to talk to you about the importance of teaching children the real names of body parts and how to talk to them about their genitals and bodies.

***sexual abuse and mental health trigger warning***

The short answer is: openly, appropriately to their level of understanding and using medical terms. It's ok, it won't scare your kids, because your kids aren't carrying that stigma and shame that most of the adults do just yet. I will tell why this is important.

We should normalise talking about vulvas, for example, as openly as about heads or hands because they all are normal parts of the human body. 

When we shy away from talking about genitals, or what is much worse, say that there is something wrong about them, we scare our children and we stigmatise having genitals, which marks the child for the rest of their lives

A toddler will not understand, they won't logically get, why there is something bad about having a penis. So there will be emotions there, very difficult emotions like hate, shame, and guilt, but there won't be any understanding of the situation. 

I know and I understand that in certain cultures and religions genitals are considered dirty or immoral. But if we stop and think about it for a moment, we will understand that having them is just as normal as having legs or hair or eyes. We were born with them. So let's think about biology. You need a vulva as much as you need your head or arms. Focus on biology, not culture. This will help a lot. 

Talking to children openly about their genitals has a massive impact on their self-confidence, self-esteem and their sexual life as adults. It will allow your child to have a healthy relationship with their body. In some cases, it will help to prevent child abuse and rape.

Let's imagine a situation where two 7 years old boys join the football club. They are called Tony and William. 

Now, Tony as a preschooler was notoriously shamed and mocked in front of an entire family for touching his genitals, which is normal and very common for young kids. He developed a fear of even mentioning having these body parts. He felt guilty for having them.

So Tony joins the football club, and after his third practice, the coach asks him to come inside his office. We know how it ends. The coach touches Tony genitals and asks him to touch his. Tony is confused, scared, and hurt, he worries that it will happen again. And we know that it will. Because Tony is petrified of telling his parents what happened to him. He knows or he predicts that he will be shamed for it again, mocked or even physically hurt. So the paedophile continues to groom him, abuse him, and eventually starts to rape him. Ruining his childhood, painfully ending the carefree phase of his life, and marking him forever. 

After his parents finally find out, they may even refuse to take him to the therapy, because they will be too ashamed to do that. Tony may want to end his life. Tony may think that this is normal as nobody ever explained to him what sex should look like and what consent is, and when he is older, he may hurt others. Even unintentionally. Most likely he will grow up to be a good, and respectful person, but very hurt and unhappy. He will have problems with his sexual life, that's for sure. 

Now, William is a young boy, and he is as unfortunate as Tony to have joined a club coached by a paedophile. The same scenario here. The coach, let's call him Andrew, calls him to his office. He lays his disgusting hands-on Williams genitals. William is confused, scared and hurt. But he screams, runs away and tells his parents as soon as they come to pick him up. The parents call the police, and the police arrest Andrew. William needs therapy. But he has a much bigger chance of survival and having a normal, happy life than Tony has. 

Now, two things. I am fully aware that William could have stayed quiet for a long time. All kids have different personalities, and first of all, paedophiles are monsters who know how to lie, groom and hurt children. 

Second thing. Only abusers and rapists are to be blamed for abuse and rape. I wish we lived in a world where kids can be carefree and happy, but we do not. So we have to equip our children with the right tools to help them fight with these monsters. If it drops their chance of getting abused even by 1 per cent, it matters.

Let's imagine a different situation. We have two young girls, Maya and Suzy. Maya's parents talked to her openly about her body, so when she realises that her vaginal discharge smells and looks weird, she tells her mum about it, her mum takes her to the doctor, and the doctor gives her medication that will help her to treat the infection. After one week, Maya is OK.

Suzy never talked to her parents about her genitals and so she never had a chance to learn what is and what isn't normal. 

She realises that her vaginal discharge smells and looks odd. She feels bad about it, she worries for her health and also she constantly worries that somebody will realize that smell and make fun of her.

She feels guilty, because she thinks she must have done something wrong, or maybe she failed to wash her vulva the right way. Since there is no one to ask, she either tries to treat it with something she finds at home, which only worsens her symptoms, or she turns to  Google. 

Because she is very inexperienced,and her knowledge about her genitals is very little, she hurts herself by using some wrong treatments. The problem gets worse.

So I guess we have established, that talking to children about their genitals and puberty should be normalised. 

Let's teach our children how to set boundaries and what to do when a priest, a teacher, a doctor, a coach or an uncle lay their hands on them. Let's teach them that it is ok to say 'no' to adult, to scream, and run for their lives. 

Children have no dirty or shameful body parts. The only shameful and dirty body parts are those the paedophile used to abuse them with.

Thank you & a short life update:

Hi, thank you so much for visiting my blog and reading my latest post. I have been blogging since January 2017, and never have I ever had such a long, few months long, break from blogging. I was away because I had several family issues going on, and I needed to focus on them. I kept on writing, though, but none of the 30 blog posts I have written was good enough for me to publish, because I value your time, Dear Readers, a lot. 

When I look at the statistics of my blog, my heart melts, because behind all these numbers are people who have waited for me to come back. 

Thank you all for taking the time out of your lives to read whatever I write. It means the world, and these aren't just empty words. I value you all so much. 

I am back to publishing blog posts regularly, and you can expect a fresh new blog post every Friday at 6 PM GMT+1. You can also find me on Instagram, and especially on InstaStories, where I post every single day (@whatmumloves) and TikTok (@whatmumlovesblog). 

Thank you for reading! 

Gosia x



  1. When ours were growing up we always answered their questions honestly and in an age approprite way though

    1. Fantastic! This is so, so important. Thank you for visiting my blog <3

  2. It is definitely something you need to talk about with kids and making sure they feel comfortable talking to you as well in return.

    1. Absolutely, this is why it is important to start having these conversations early on, so that both parents and kids feel comfortable :) Thank you for visiting my blog, Sarah! <3

  3. Both our children know the real names for them although my little girl still does call hers bits sometimes. I am very open and honest with them about stuff too - my little girl has asked about periods before after seeing me and whilst it isn't something she's got to worry about for a good few years yet, I answered her questions honestly as it is nothing to be ashamed of.

    1. This is just wonderful, Rebecca. Your kids are lucky to have you <3

  4. I agree that a child shouldn't feel ashamed about their body. I also feel that children should be encouraged to have an open and honest relationship with their parents and be able to discuss the body and sexuality, and sometimes they may call something something else and that's not the end of the world.

    1. Absolutely! There is nothing wrong at all with kids sometimes calling their genitals something else. They must know the correct names, though. This open and honest relationship with their parents that you mentioned is one of the most important things in life. Thank you for visiting my blog, Valerie! <3

  5. I am a pre-school teacher and we regularly have talks about pants and our private areas. It doesn't phase the kids at all. We even have a story with all the different names for our private areas which was tricky to read at first

    1. This is awesome, Kara! I like how your preschool approaches this subject. Have a great day x

  6. As a parent of two young kids safety of my children is paramount and your post has reminded me that I must not feel ashamed of talking to my kids about their body parts.

    1. I am glad that you found it helpful :) Thank you for reading, all the best x

  7. I think it is very important we use proper names for these body parts and start using them straight away when the child is little. Giving them strange names like cookie or flower may make it more confusing for younger kids.

    1. I totally agree with you. Some of these names are revulsive. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! Have a great day x


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