We've always called our body parts by the correct name. It just seems purely logical to do it. Elbow, thigh, head, ears, ankle, penis, knee-cap, vagina...... They are all anatomically correct terms for parts whose functions we use every day.
This past weekend a child therapist specializing in sexual abuse treatment, came to our church meetinghouse. She further validated our use of correct terminology,, as well as opened our eyes to some other important issues.
She gave a special lecture on how to prevent sexual abuse from happening in the lives of our children. It's a "sick societal disease", she stated, "where people think it's okay to touch the private parts of children, and not think about the lasting, damaging effects."
Children who have been abused in some way will often spend a lifetime in self loathing, self degradation, spiritual darkness, and may even become perpetrators themselves. Thus a vicious cycle of victims and perpetrators is born. Children become confused, withdrawn, and unsure about themselves. If you have been a victim yourself, then you know of the darkness that comes with these feelings.
She gave some really good advice for parents. First one being, don't ever think your child is immune from being a possible victim of sexual abuse. It could happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone; even those you love and trust.
So what do we do?
We arm our children with the information they need to defend themselves.
So if they get themselves in a situation, they'll know exactly what to do.
Here's some high lites:
Talk to your children about how special their bodies are; that God made their bodies just for them.
Tell your children that nobody should ever touch their body parts (penis, vagina).
Talk to your children about strangers, and how talking to them is not okay, unless they are with a parent.
Make sure they know that if a stranger offers them toys or candy, walk away and tell a parent.
Talk to them in a relaxed and loving way, using anatomically correct terminology.
Never, ever use nicknames for our private parts. Why? When you think of all the nicknames people use, they all sound like toys or play things.
Never joke around or make fun of our private parts.
Talk about this stuff every 3-4 months. Once in a lifetime is NOT enough for children to remember what to do if they find themselves in this situation.
I was grateful for this lecture. It was good for me to remember that I always need to prepare my kids for a world of uncertainty.
Oh and most importantly, if you've been a victim of abuse, get therapy. It will change your life for the better.