“Coco McAtee, I thank the stars everyday that we had that conversation and I decided to have you come and talk with my Girl Scouts. That is one of the best things I think I ever did for those girls..."

Coco McAtee LSCSW
Family Life Educator | Speaker | Facilitator


Telling the Truth About Bodies


Dad and Daughters

July 25, 2011

Getting Started Young
Introducing healthy sexual messages with our younger kids is actually pretty easy. For the littlest ones, the infants and toddlers, mom or dad can convey one of thee most powerful sexual messages to their child…’You are loved and cherished.’ Responding to a baby’s cry, cuddling and soothing them, gently handling their body and making eye contact with smiles and kisses says “I value you, your wonderful little self with fingers, toes, a bellybutton… and yes …dadadada… genitals. Yes, the body science word for penis and scrotum on our little boys, and a vulva (not volvo–hee hee) on our girls. Technically, the vagina is on the inside of a girl’s body. The outer genitalia is called the vulva. Practice saying that 10 times:) When diapering, instead of emphasizing the “stinky” stuff, you can teach body parts. Heck, the old Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes pre-school song can incorporate other body parts too.

Our attitude is picked up by our kids. They know what we like and don’t like. They know the look on our face. Little ones are sponges and are very sensory-oriented. At birth, their whole body communicates for them and receives communication from us. A relaxed parent, holding and rocking little junior has one effect on him and a stressed out, anxious parent will have entirely other effect. Same goes for our feelings about bodies and special parts like penises and vulvas or breasts. Try talking about a less difficult body part and how it works, why it is important to us as human beings. Then you can introduce another and soon you’ll have a wonderful anatomy lesson. Plus, your child clearly gets the picture that my mom or dad is available for my questions and curiosity. As this openness is established, there are few issues kids won’t come to us about. And it prepares you for the increasingly complex conversations needed for older kids.

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