My son has a peeps.
He knows the word is penis. He knows Daddy has one too, and his Mamma has a bagina, but we still just call them both peeps.
We’re not trying to be cute. It’s just that, well, in everyday conversation the words penis and vagina have a certain nails on chalkboard quality to my wife and I.
You know how some people just have words they don’t like? Moist is usually at the top of that list. It’s like that.
Experts, of course, hate me for avoiding the penis and vagina.
The point of using the real words is to empower kids to fight against sexual abuse, says Kate Rohdenburg, a sexual violence prevention educator.
“Sometimes we giggle because we don’t talk about vaginas and penises a lot, but it’s a body part, a private body part.”
Dr. Bob Sege, director of the division of family and child advocacy at Boston Medical Center, says most parents use nicknames, but using the correct term helps kids identify specifically any medical problems or abuse.
“It makes communication clearer because they can tell someone, ‘He put his penis in my vagina,’” said Sege, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. “A child should view their entire body as healthy and there’s no particular part of their body that’s shameful,” he said. “Everything has a name and they should use the correct name.”
I appreciate the doctor’s advice, but we treat the word “peeps” as seriously as we do “penis.”
When my son was showering after swimming lessons and I caught some boys staring and making fun of him, I reminded him that his “peeps” is a private area and not for other people to stare at. There was no giggling, it was an empowering conversation I’m sure the good doctor would appreciate.
What about you? Do you go by the book, or with nicknames?