Welcome to this week’s instalment of WTF Wednesday, where we have a court injunction against practicing what we preach.
Today’s question comes from Mikaela Wire via Facebook. She writes:
Should you tell your small children the real names for their private bits or is it best to stick with things like pee pee and flower (dinky toy, front bum, blah, blah…)?
Mikaela, this is an important question. Many people assign nicknames to their child’s private parts out of fear that their child will use the real word in public and embarrass their parents. They feel much better having their child publicly declare that they like to play with their pee pee because nobody could possibly know what they’re really talking about.
Whether you choose to assign nicknames is really up to you. But if you’re going to pick a nickname for your child’s private parts, choose one that they won’t grow out of. Nobody wants to hear their lover refer to her wee wee. As a test, try shouting out the candidate word mid-lovemaking. If your spouse loses all interest for a month or two, you know you’ve picked the wrong word. A better choice for your toddler might be something like honey muffin. That’s one that could go equally well in the kitchen as the bedroom.
The flipside of that, though, is the danger of picking a word too much like what Dad used to use in college. You don’t want to get that call from school asking why your son calls his penis the Love Rockin’ Rhythm Stick.
Another option that, for some reason, I don’t see used very often is to take the opportunity to honor a loved one. Our son’s penis was christened Uncle Bernie. Bernie had lost an eye in World War 2 and went bald at an early age. The likeness was truly remarkable, but more importantly, for years after his passing, Uncle Bernie will be bringing joy to our son. Uncle Bernie can rest comfortably knowing his name lives on.
Others prefer to stick with names that are technically accurate but just more appropriate for a young child. These names are based on the part’s function or location. They include some of the classics like pee pee, wee wee and down there. If using these kinds of terms, you should keep in mind that potential confusion could result when your child realizes that only certain body parts get these types of names while others always have grown-up names like knuckle and elbow. To avoid causing undue confusion, I recommend being consistent and renaming other body parts as well. For example, arm becomes beer lever and foot becomes pee pee kicker.
Ultimately, Mikaela, you’ll need to make this decision yourself. If you choose to use real names you run the risk of having a child that isn’t embarrassed by their own body. This could lead to frank discussions about sex as they go through puberty and unwarranted self-confidence. On the other hand, if you choose to assign nicknames, you need to make sure you provide the proper names sometime before middle school. A seventh-grader referring to Mr. Wiggles might as well grab the back of his underwear and hand it to the nearest eighth-grade bully for a flagpole wedgie.
Hope that helps.
Problem solved! You’re welcome.