Children And The Body: Explaining What Anatomy Is Tactfully

How to explain what anatomy is and discuss male and female parts to a child in an appropriate manner.

Today's children are getting more inquisitive at younger ages. This is especially true concerning their bodies. Parents always dread their little ones asking about their private parts. Usually parents' uneasiness results in creating names such as Mr. Peter, Ms. Jane, "your private place", wee and woo-woo, among many other creative terms. While it may be uncomfortable, it is a good idea to introduce the tykes to the proper names for their organs. Cute nicknames for private parts may seem to preserve innocence, however it only weakens the power children have over their own bodies.

Call a penis a penis and a vagina a vagina. Using proper terminology empowers children. Using "grown-up" terms make them feel more comfortable when talking about any health issues or even if someone has touched them improperly. Empowering them with proper terminology also does not trivialize their genitalia. It makes them realize that their private parts are special and important. They will no longer laugh and giggle when talking about their private areas. Let them know that these areas are not dirty and that they should always feel comfortable talking about them. This sort of discussion demystifies the genitalia and even gives them self-confidence. Feeling as if they have control over their bodies can even assist in psychological readiness for toilet training.

Discussions about private parts usually result in detailed questions about what the parts do and why boys and girls have different parts. One can discuss these things without going into a detailed explanation of sex. Discussions of intercourse and reproduction are not necessary. Simply let a child know the basic functioning of their organs.

Explain to them that their private parts allow them use the bathroom. They can handle discussions of passing water or bowel movement. When they ask what makes boys and girls different, it is ok to simply explain that boys have penises and girls have vaginas. If they ask why they are different it is ok to simply say nature made them that way. Or if you practice a religious faith you can explain that your deity made them that way.

Children may continue to ask questions about the differences between penis and vaginas. Unless you feel your child can accept that the difference in parts is where babies come from, just end the conversation. Children accept everything parents say as gospel and will not press the issue. Discussions of reproduction should be avoided until you deem it appropriate for your child.

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