Friday, October 26, 2012

Know Your Body

Welcome to the October edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Body Awareness.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing how they actively influence their children's body awareness and how they experience their own! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Gonna jump right in... toilet humor abounds. Whether its the husband or the teen or the preschooler... I think everyone gets a little toilet humor in their lives. Bodily functions can be funny.

So many people aren't truly aware of their bodies, though. How do you teach that? It isn't as if you can teach your daughter to recognize mittelschmerz unless she already feels it and mentions it. I have an idea of a good start:

We don't call anyone's "parts" by funny names. There are no hoohas, tatas, weeners, wee-wees or bajingos. Picture this: a young woman goes to see the doctor because she's experiencing pain in her vagina or her vulva itches. The woman that says "my hooha hurts" or "I'm itchy down there" is not going to be as well-heard or likely treated with the same respect as the person that can use the technical terms for her body parts. She is also more likely to understand a diagnosis if she knows the names of her parts.

My babies take after me, they're nudists. It probably helps that I give them as much naked time as I can manage (which is a LOT these days). Nudity is not always comfortable for everyone and we have to respect that, too. For instance, little kids like to slide down legs like they're on a playground. But no one wants a preschooler's vulva rubbing down their leg, its gross. So we tell her, in real words, that we don't want her vulva rubbing against us and that she can play that game if she puts on some panties.

I know Spencer doesn't understand the word penis or breast yet, but he will. And using the proper terms for his body parts (and mine) helps Sasha know them, too. Hopefully I'm giving all of my kids a head start on body awareness and body autonomy by giving them the proper vocabulary for all of their parts and being open to mention or discuss them - whether its toilet humor or a health issue.

What's your take on kids, body parts, and vocabulary?


APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Hybrid Rasta Mama: A reggae loving mama’s thoughts on  Conscious Parenting, Natural Living, Holistic Health and General MindfulnessSkin Color and the Mixed Race Child - As a mother of a mixed race child whose skin tone falls between her mother and father’s, Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama tackles the tough question of “is my skin light or dark mama?” You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  • Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy mommaKnow Your Body - Momma Jorje shares one way she encourages body awareness and autonomy in her children. You can also follow Momma Jorje on Facebook.

  • Fat is Just a Word - Laura tries to actively debunk the negative connotations of the word 'fat' after a shocking discovery, on Authentic Parenting. You can also find Authentic Parenting on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogYour Body is Beautiful Now - Lauren at Hobo Mama offers your body a love poem. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Does Your Daughter Feel Beautiful - DeAnna L’am of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women and Girls writes about how Moms can model self acceptance and a strong body image for their daughters.

  • Positive Parenting Connection6 Ways for Children to Learn about Their Body - Ariadne is sharing calming yoga games, art activities and other wonderful ways for children to learn about their body over at the Positive Parenting Connection. You can also find more peaceful, positive parenting ideas and resources on the Positive Parenting Connection community Facebook page.


  1. I agree.. it is very wierd to be having a conversation with an adult and they use words like cookie, weiner, etc. in reference to their genitalia..
    My hubby said he would feel uncomfortable using the terms vulva and vagina with our child if it were a girl.. our compromise is that he will refer to everything as simply genitals or genitalia.. not as part specific, but still accurate:)

    1. That is a great compromise! My husband had to get used to saying vulva, too.

  2. In our family we turned to ancient cultures to see what wisdom we can glean. What we found (and use feely) is this: The word for Vulva in Hindi is Yoni, which means Sacred Space. The word for Penis in Hindi is Lingam, meaning A Wand Of Light. My daughter not only uses these words, but knows their true meaning. I keep wondering how would our lives have been different if girls knew they have a Sacred Space between their legs, and boys were aware of their Wand Of Light...?

  3. I totally agree with you, Jorje. I'll sometimes use a slang term just to be funny (mostly when talking with Sam rather than with the kids, but of course they overhear!), but I've taught our boys the right words for their parts and mine. I think it's important for them to know what is theirs and to own it.

    Your doctor analogy was spot on. A more uncomfortable one would be if a child were, heaven forbid, molested or assaulted — you'd want them to be able to accurately describe what had happened. Plus, I feel like giving the correct terms actually helps protect against abuse situations (where force is not involved, at least), because kids who understand their bodies and learn what parts are "off-limits" to other people touching (like your example with Sasha sliding down your legs) will have more knowledge going into a situation with someone shady who wants to pretend s/he's not doing something wrong.

    There was my tangent for the day. I'll just close by saying I love that picture. Ha ha!

    1. Exactly! And yeah, I just searched Creative Commons on Flickr for "toilet humor." :-)

  4. Whaa??? I had left a huge reply here on Friday, and I just came back to check if I'd gotten a response, and now it's not even there!!
    I am completely for using the correct terms... I find it very demeaning when parents use cover ops, especially because often, the words they use are these offensive, street terms (well at least in Belgium). It's so sad that parents would instill shame in children about their bodies.
    I loved DeAnna's comment... I had known these terms and their meaning, yet until reading her comment, I had never really considered the impact of giving such meaningful terms to body parts

  5. I think it is so important for children to know the parts of their body by the correct name whatever part it may be!


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