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Teaching a toddler about the difference between boys and girls


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#1 Heckya

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 10:33 PM

I was wondering if anyone had any tips or good stories about how they explained the differences between boys and girls to young children. I ask because I have a three year old who is obsessed with his penis. He is constantly asking if I have a penis. The other day he tried to see if his grandma had a penis (she took him to the restroom at dinner). He also is obsessed with breasts. He comments on my breasts and likes to pat them. It's quite funny, but I have to try not to laugh because then he keeps doing it. I have a five year old, but he never had this fascination. I did tell him that he can't touch my breasts or anyone else's (he was patting his grandma's ta-tas in Walmart a few days back). I explained that it's similar to someone touching his penis which he sort of understands is a big no no. Anyhow, I'm a bit lost for words, especially when it comes to explaining the female anatomy. Thanks.
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#2 Maureen

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 11:51 PM

I hope this helps; the article is called:

Early Explorers: When Toddlers Discover Their Sexual Selves

Baby & Toddler Channel - baby names, baby name meanings, baby gifts, toddler activities, toddler games

Good luck!

M.
I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who - is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. - Milton Berle

Sound, balanced teaching is a must. Our default should be to partake. Our default should be to live in joy, not condemnation. Our default should be to love, not to correct, to encourage, not to criticize. (Quote from prisonchaplain)

#3 adellie38

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:31 AM

I think the best thing is to not get all excited about it, because they are young and exploring and curious. I little boy I nannied for did the same exact thing. Tell him they are sacred body parts and what girls have and what boys have. Answer any questions he might have and teach him that it is inappropriate to talk about or touch them. Hopefully this helps!

#4 siouxz72

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:37 AM

well... adellie, I'm going to have to disagree with you a bit. You shouldn't teach him that it's inappropriate to talk about boy parts and girl parts, but when it's okay to do so. We don't want to give the kid a complex about ever talking about his penis or asking questions. He should know he can ask and talk to his mom and dad about anything and they'll honestly answer his questions, not that there are forbidden subjects that once you've answered the question there's no more talk.
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#5 Gwen

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:49 AM

i had 4 boys in the house before we had our first girl. needless to say it was a fascinating thing for them. i change diapers wherever i am, the first time she was home and i said "oh, you need a new diaper" and got stuff out the kids came flocking and stood around very very interested. lol i've always been very plain yet very simple about things. when my son asked how a girl goes pee i answered honestly, she pees just like you through the urethra. a boys urethra opening is on the tip of his penis, a girls is located closer to the surface of her body between her legs. i've yet to have to introduce the "V" word. lol i figure it has nothing to do with peeing and that is what he asked, how do girls pee. we've discussed the need for them to lift the toilet seat because girls have to sit down to pee. so far mine have been satisfied with the answer. as far as the breasts, we have a new baby in the house so it's a bit easier to explain but i'm pretty straight forward about that as well. heavenly father made a way for all mamals to feed their babies, they make milk and a way for the baby to get the milk. ever seen a kitten or puppy nurse? well ppl do that too! how cool is that?! heavenly father made it so mommies can feed their babies no matter what. what a wonderful plan. that is why girls breasts get bigger. boys have nipples too, point them out. the difference is girls get bigger because they make milk. having children is a very sacred and special part of heavenly father's plan, the parts of our body that involve new babies is also sacred that is why girls breasts are private but boys can go without a shirt. girls breasts have a sacred purpose of caring for newborn babies. (i figure that wording helps set the stage for future conversations about procreation and other sacred activities/parts. lol we'll see how well it works.) that's how i've handled it anyway. lol 3 and 4 yrs old is about right for wanting to ..... explore themselves and others. some of mine have been more facinated than others. good luck oh i also use lots of pictures, very simplified cross sections that show where the organs are, i show them the bladder, intestines and such. where they exit the body. diagrams that show the path from beginning to end (mouth, stomach, ect.) how one pees is a biology lesson in digestion not a sex talk. digestion isn't near as scary to explain as other things; and probably much more interesting to a 3 yr old anyway. lol

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#6 rameumptom

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:18 AM

I suggest using farm animals to show the differences. It is abstract enough to keep it basic, but still able to explain things a little in depth. You can show how a mother cat,dog,cow feeds its babies with its breasts. You can also show how boy animals and girl animals are mechanically different, and then apply it to humans. Of course giving a basic lesson on modesty: God wants us to stay dressed and not touch each others' private parts, is important.

#7 NeuroTypical

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:23 AM

From the Gospel Principles manual:

Parents can begin teaching children to have proper attitudes toward their bodies when children are very young. Talking to children frankly but reverently and using the correct names for the parts and functions of their bodies will help them grow up without unnecessary embarrassment about their bodies.

Children are naturally curious. They want to know how their bodies work. They want to know where babies come from. If parents answer all such questions immediately and clearly so children can understand, children will continue to take their questions to their parents. However, if parents answer questions so that children feel embarrassed, rejected, or dissatisfied, they will probably go to someone else with their questions and perhaps get incorrect ideas and improper attitudes.

It is not wise or necessary, however, to tell children everything at once. Parents need only give them the information they have asked for and can understand. While answering these questions, parents can teach children the importance of respecting their bodies and the bodies of others. Parents should teach children to dress modestly. They should correct the false ideas and vulgar language that children learn from others.

By the time children reach maturity, parents should have frankly discussed procreation with them. Children should understand that these powers are good and were given to us by the Lord. He expects us to use them within the bounds he has given us.

Little children come to earth pure and innocent from Heavenly Father. As parents pray for guidance, the Lord will inspire them to teach children at the right time and in the right way.


Good luck!
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#8 Jbs2763

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:37 AM

I was wondering if anyone had any tips or good stories about how they explained the differences between boys and girls to young children. I ask because I have a three year old who is obsessed with his penis. He is constantly asking if I have a penis. The other day he tried to see if his grandma had a penis (she took him to the restroom at dinner). He also is obsessed with breasts. He comments on my breasts and likes to pat them. It's quite funny, but I have to try not to laugh because then he keeps doing it. I have a five year old, but he never had this fascination. I did tell him that he can't touch my breasts or anyone else's (he was patting his grandma's ta-tas in Walmart a few days back). I explained that it's similar to someone touching his penis which he sort of understands is a big no no. Anyhow, I'm a bit lost for words, especially when it comes to explaining the female anatomy.
Thanks.


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#9 MarginOfError

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:39 AM

I hate to be the alarmist, so let me start with this: most of the time, this kind of behavior is normal in a child that age. Keep your eye on it though. A fascination with sex organs can sometimes be an indication that someone is abusing the child. If this is new behavior, I wouldn't jump to that conclusion, but if you explain things to him and he continues to have the fascination, you might want to consider the possibility. On the other hand, if you give him the explanation and the behavior stops, you've got nothing to worry about. It is important that you stress that it is inappropriate for anyone to touch another person's private parts. You should tell him also that if anyone touches his, he should tell you right away.

#10 Heckya

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 09:34 PM

i'm rapidly gaining on 30 and have ben obsesed with hoobies as long as i can remember......


That is something my hubby would say.
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#11 Heckya

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 09:37 PM

I hate to be the alarmist, so let me start with this: most of the time, this kind of behavior is normal in a child that age.

Keep your eye on it though. A fascination with sex organs can sometimes be an indication that someone is abusing the child. If this is new behavior, I wouldn't jump to that conclusion, but if you explain things to him and he continues to have the fascination, you might want to consider the possibility. On the other hand, if you give him the explanation and the behavior stops, you've got nothing to worry about.

It is important that you stress that it is inappropriate for anyone to touch another person's private parts. You should tell him also that if anyone touches his, he should tell you right away.


We've had the talk about touching multiple times with both my boys. My daughter is only 18 months. I'm not worried about abuse since my son has little interaction with anyone but immediate family. Plus, I'm always around him when he is around others. Thanks for the concern though. It's too bad that we have to be reminded of the signs of sex abuse.
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#12 ruthiechan

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 10:26 AM

Ignore the behavior as much as possible. When he's home being a little obsessed is okay, (hey, I can reach that down there, something new to explore!) but out in public he'll need to learn that it's not appropriate. Of course, speaking to him about how sacred his body is and that we're not to flaunt it around, that we're to keep it clean is a part of that. The bigger deal you make it the more focus there is on his genitals (Which is disrespectful) and the longer this will continue. The breast touching thing, training, and no laughing. It's the same way you train a kid to not take your glasses off yoru face.
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#13 aranyborju

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 02:19 PM

Kids are all different, but I find that it is best to just be frank. Answer questions honestly using proper terms. (You wouldn't tell your kid to call his head a noggin, and then blush when he said head would you?)
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