They Are Called Breasts
Imagine the unthinkable happens. Your child is sexually assaulted. Did you know that teaching them the correct anatomical names for body parts can make a huge difference in reporting the assault?
Knowing the correct names has also been shown to reduce a child's risk of being a victim of sexual assault.
If a child knows the anatomically correct names for their body parts, they are empowered. In the process of teaching them the proper names they will ask questions and gain knowledge about their parts, just as they do when teaching about eyes and ears.
This can also help if the worst should happen and they have to explain to authorities what happened. Using fake or pet names for the vagina, breasts, penis, etc. can make it hard to prove what the child is talking about. When I asked an experienced CPS/DHS case worker about this topic I was told that if they are questioning a child and the child refers to their vagina as a "kitty cat" or another nickname, it's hard to prove in a court of law or to a judge that the child was talking about their vagina etc.
In cases of sexual abuse, if a child knows the anatomically correct names it is easier for them to tell other adults who don't know the pet names, that they are being harmed and most importantly, they're more likely to be believed. A child is also less likely to be picked as a victim if the child knows the anatomically correct names because the predator understands the child is more likely to tell and be believed.
Many parents use nicknames for body parts when they themselves are uncomfortable about the real names.
This can create an uncomfortable situation for your children. If the topic of body parts is an uncomfortable one, your child may have a very hard time coming to you if they are having a problem. Whether it's illness, puberty, general questions or God forbid, sexual abuse, it's very important to create a comfortable open line of communication.
In children's minds it's easy for them to come to the conclusion that if the name of the part is so shameful it can't be said, then the part must be shameful as well. It's important that children have safe boundaries for their parts but the feeling of shame can become deep rooted and lead to emotional problems in the future.
As children get older and can comprehend more, it is also important to teach them the difference between good touches, uncomfortable touches and bad touches. This way they won't be confused if they need to tell someone. Touches can be pats on the back, hugs, kisses, and on to sexual touches. It is also important to teach children that it is ok to tell an adult "NO" in uncomfortable and bad touching situations. Even in good touching situations, if it makes the child uncomfortable, even though it is perceived by others as a good touch, such as a hug, they can say "No".
Please help your children have the confidence, knowledge, and strength about their bodies that they deserve. Teaching them the correct names for their body parts and teaching them that they are incharge of their bodies could be one of the most important lessons you've taught them as they become young adults.
Below is a helpful link with more in depth information.