“Mom, why is penis a bad word?”
The youngest was born with a condition called hypospadias (to spare you from looking it up, I’ll tell you: his urethra didn’t finish developing and stopped nearly at his scrotum). Don’t worry; he had surgery to correct this when he was about 8 months old. However, because of this, we have freely used the word penis in our family. And, honestly, why shouldn’t we? It is the correct word, and there’s nothing wrong with it, right?
Well… It would seem that in today’s world there is a lot wrong with using the words penis and vagina. I recognize the fact that they are “private parts”, but is it really any different than re-naming them “wee wees” and “hoo has”? For some reason, we have taught our children that it is okay to dress with their pants sagging and butts showing, and for little girls to wear short skirts with midriff-baring shirts, but we shame them out of saying the right words for the “private” parts that they are barely covering up. I’m sorry, but to me, there is a lot wrong with that.
My children have been accused of saying bad things when they were simply using proper language. I’ll be the first to tell you, they do not know anything about proper words for female anatomy, so that wasn’t the words they used. The oldest was at school once before and spilled juice on himself, enough that it soaked clear to his underwear. Luckily, they had a clothing closet at school, and the teacher helped his get a pair of pants and underwear. Unfortunately for him, they were not his choice of underwear… He was given briefs, and he decided long ago that he is a boxers man. He tried to explain that he didn’t want those, and when asked to give an explanation, he told the teacher that they made his penis itch. You would not believe the phone call that I got. My son was threatened with suspension and told that he was never allowed to say that again. He was confused, I was enraged.
That day, I went to the school, prepared to give the teacher and everyone there a real “talkin’ to”. Really though, it wouldn’t have done much good. I tried and I did explain, without losing my temper (surprisingly) that this was simply how I raised my children after having to cart my youngest back and forth to a doctor to make sure that his PENIS developed correctly after surgery. Should I have trained my children that we only say penis in a doctor’s office? I really don’t think so. I felt that I did the right thing by teaching them that it was not something to be ashamed of. They certainly don’t go flashing it around and showing it off to everyone they meet, and they also don’t use the word in every other sentence, but when it boils down to it, I don’t have to worry about my son being afraid to say that something is wrong, um, you know, down there, and me have to play a guessing game. He will use the correct terminology, and I don’t see a problem with it.
What about you, people of the world, do you see a problem with a child telling you that THOSE underwear make his penis itch? And if you do, is it actually the child’s problem, or is it your own?