I can go into any third-or fourth- grade class today and I’ll guarantee you that 75 percent won’t have a clue what testicles are. But if I use the word balls they will all know. Learning the slang, however, is only part of the problem. There are many sexual parts of the body that many kids don’t even know exist. I know of very few fifth graders who know what a urethra is, and I bet that most fifth-grade boys think a woman urinates from her vagina. Heck, most eighth-grade boys probably think that too. I was in a fifth-grade class just recently and asked the students what part of a female’s body produces egg cells. “The stomach,” “the part that holds a baby,” they answered. Not one knew it was the ovaries. And I have found that it really doesn’t matter which community I visit or the particular set of demographics that exist there. Kids are pretty much ignorant of sexual anatomy irrespective of their socioeconomic status, race, culture, and other factors. In fact, if I asked you to draw the sexual and reproductive parts of a male and female, and label each part, I’d wager that you would fail the test. So where does that leave our kids?
So simply teaching our children to use the actual names for their sexual and reproductive body parts, as well as the actual names for different sexual acts, will go a long way toward enabling them to communicate effectively about sex and sexuality. By discouraging their use of slang terminology, we increase their chances of gaining a more healthy and life-enhancing view of sex and sexuality. Of course, your child will still learn the slang terminology and be exposed to the debasement that comes from using and hearing it; many of his peers will use it, and your child will hear it many times through various media outlets. This is inescapable. But by reinforcing the use of proper language and discouraging its misuse, you can minimize your child’s chances of incorporating slang terminology into his or her lexicon, and you’ll help your child develop a sense of dignity around sex and sexuality.
If you don’t want your young kid using the slang, you need to do two important things at the appropriate ages: (1) teach your child the correct terms that rightfully belong in their sexual and anatomical vocabulary, and (2) teach your child the sexual slang words you don’t want them saying. That’s right—as you will see shortly, you will have to have some discussion about the words you don’t want your child to use.
Excerpted from What Your Child Needs to Know About Sex (and When) by Dr. Fred Kaeser, Copyright © 2011 by Dr. Fred Kaeser. Excerpted by permission of Celestial Arts, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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