Why We Should Teach Kids The Correct Words For Their Genitals

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The overall safety of your child is a very big reason as to why they should know the correct terminology of their private parts.


Squeamish parents might prefer euphemisms, but the reasoning behind teaching the word “penis” instead of “dinky” is serious. Kids who know the correct terminology for genitalia are more equipped to disclose sexual abuse. Sexual health educators and child abuse experts urge parents to start naming body parts properly in infancy when talking about toes, knees, elbows and ears.

Using proper terminology is protective. Kids who are comfortable talking about their bodies are more likely to be able to disclose when something worrisome or uncomfortable is happening to them.

Parents who can openly discuss and name body parts, what they do and what is appropriate can help children understand when touch or actions fall outside the range of healthy relationships, and are worrisome or abusive. A 1995 study found that some sexual offenders avoid children who know the correct names for their genitals: It suggests these children have also been educated about sexuality and safety.

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Being able to name “private parts” using dictionary terms means victimized children can get help sooner. The earlier the disclosure, the higher the likelihood of good healing.

Why do so many parents hesitate to use actual terms for genitals, going with cutesy code words like “monkey” and “muffin” instead? It has to do with our cultural discomfort around talking about sex in general. In this case, it’s important for parents to get over their own reticence, early. Take the time to educate your children the correct way early on.

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