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I started this talk with my nearly-3-year-old recently, too. I told her that it's her "private body" and that the only people who can touch her there are Mom and Dad while we're bathing her or changing her diaper (yes, she talks like a 7 year old but is still in diapers... Argh).

I also added to the discussion, "We don't keep secrets from Mom and Dad. If someone ever tells you not to tell, you MUST tell right away, because we never ever keep secrets." Unfortunately horrible perverts will say things like, "I will kill your mom if you tell..."

We had a child molester who briefly lived in the rental across the street. Do you have mandatory registration for sex offenders in SA? We wouldn't have known about him, except another neighbor found him on the Sex Offender Registry and told everyone.

Also, darling, you need to discuss it with Adam, too. In the US, 1/4 girls are molested, but 1/10 boys are, too. Don't know where to find SA stats, sorry.

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

You might want to change the conversation a little. Doctors will want to explore their bits during annual exams. I would hate for you to have to re-explain yourself during your next visit OR during a trip to the hospital (which will never happen again).

Ben's pediatrician always tells Ben to ask me if it's OK for her to see/touch his private parts before she examines them. It's a good practice.

When my niece and nephew were young and taking a bath together, my sister once overheard them from the next room. The boy said to his little sister: "Those are my nipples! Those are not yours to touch!"

Well, Thrice has already mentioned it but yes make an exception for doctors and nurses if they need to take care of you and yes, talk to Adam as well.

As for mom's privacy, haha, very funny. I haven't gone to the bathroom with the door closed in 12 years. When they finally decided to leave me alone and not bug me, only a few years ago, btw, they started fighting with each other, and if the door is closed completely I can't hear them to run out and break it up.

Good luck sweetie, this particular concept could take a long time for them to figure out.

Going to jump on the "add a doctor to the list" bandwagon. We taught our son that it's ok if a doctor touches his private parts if Mom or Dad is there, but that a good doctor isn't going to ask if we are not. He's 8 now and actually just had his yearly exam and when that part came he told me he thought the doc was "good to go" and asked me to step out. Damn him, growing up.

you're doing the right thing, building the knowledge based on previous conversations so it all doesn't come at once. well done, tee. it is very sad that you have to do it, but "what if" is even more horrifying.

next time you're trying to do a poo in peace and the tap tap tap comes to the door, tell them you need more loo roll and to get you some from under the (wherever the farthest away bathroom is). works for us.


It is hard to talk about this stuff. It helps me to remember that they aren't imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios like I am -- it's just more imformation. (For the recored, picking ones nose falls into that same category at my house -- if you want to do that, please find someplace private to do it.)

Assvice section to follow:

Remember that it's also important to tell them that nobody should ask them to touch anybody ELSE's private bits, which brings up a whole different set of unpleasant imaginings.

It's helpful with kids this age to tell them what they SHOULD do in such-and-such situation. Namely, they should say, "NO, I don't like that" or "STOP, that's private" or some such, in a loud voice and keep saying it. And should tell someone (specify the someone for them) the very next time they see you.

I'm torn about the doctor thing. On the one hand, yeah, but any stranger can tell a kid that he's a doctor and kids believe what grownups tell them. So maybe better to bring it up when or if it needs to be discussed (my daughter just had her 4-year checkup and it didn't require her to remove anything but her shoes, so it might not even be an issue for ages).

My older son is almost nine and I am STILL waiting for the moment I can go to the bathroom by myself...good luck with that one.

You are doing a good thing, Tertia, a very good thing.

When my kids want to join me in the bathroom, I usually mention how stinky it will be. And they run away screaming. :)

I went through that whole talk with my little boy some years ago, as well. Although a friend of my, who's a psychologist, says we shouldn't go overboard. Problem now is that he's (nearly) seven and he won't let me - his MOM - see his private parts. I have to leave his room when he's getting dressed/undressing and god forbid I should walk into the bathroom when he's having a bath. We're talking about the person who knoes every inch of that little body. Why do they grow up so quickly?


The schools here use the lingo 'safe' touches and 'unsafe' touches. Safe touches are only for the purpose of keeping you clean and/or healthy. If grandma is babysitting and you are taking a bath, it is safe for her to help you wash your bits. If you go to the doctor for a sick (particularly UTI and yeast infection) or well check, the doctor may examine your bits for the purpose of keeping you healthy (and a parent or guardian should probably be in the room for the exam). Unsafe touches are everything else. They then come up with some not-too-graphic examples and have the children decide if they think certain touches are safe or not.

And as for secrets, my daughter's teacher shared that they made a rule in their house that they weren't to keep any secrets. Her bright daughter than asked, but what about the surprise birthday party for dad? At which point they further refined the rule so that they wouldn't keep secrets, but it was ok to keep surprises.

It's so hard when you would rather them stay innocent, but sadly necessary. I have had quite a few conversations with my 5.5 year old, and I finally think she gets it.

About a year ago she whacked her dad pretty hard in the groin on accident, and when he moaned she said, "Oh Daddy, I'm so sorry I hit your pirates." So now it's a family joke.

When I worked in a school, we used "good" touch and "bad" touch because the kids grasped that concept easier and we could explain in the doctor and bathtime as good/allowable. Everywhere covered by a bathing suit was private and they were to holler, "Don't touch me there!" We also coloured pictures of kids with the private parts covered in Red, as in STOP. We read The Secret of the Silver Horse (secrets you shouldn't keep) and talked about who you could tell if you couldn't tell mom and dad. Your kids might not be old enough for that book, but there are some pretty good resources out there to help with those awkward discussions.

My children are 32, 22 and 11 and I still can't go to the bathroom without someone knocking on the door wanting to talk to me urgently!! Now it's even the grandchildren!

I had not thought about this. Is it really any use to talk about it when they are so little? Won't they just get confused? At this age they make up so many things. So if the purpose is to make them aware -so that they would report the fact if it occurred- it would seem more useful to me NOT to talk about this at all. If the topic then came up in their talk, then it would really ring an alarm. Am I totally unclear?

Anyway, since we are on the topic of 'talks'...We talked to Julia ( 3 yrs old in a week) about STRANGERS. It was necessary because she learnt how to open the main door and she would go in front of the house. So we told her how if you don't know people they may be good or they may be bad, and how some strangers steal children away. every now and then she aks us to explain to her what a stranger is, and 'is ... a stranger?' comes up a lot. Result -for now- she does not open the door any more (success!) but she is also scared any time I leave the (fenced) yard window open if I am not right there, i.e., if I am in the other room. But we just talked to her about this a couple of weeks ago.

hee hee, getting hit in the pirates!!! funny. not that it is related, but i know a wee girl of five who is into madonna songs, but insists on singing "just Like A Verget" instead of Virgin. i wonder what happens if you happen to get hit in your verget pirates?

ha ha. had to laugh at this post! My niece commented, when she was 3 years old:
"I've got a bottom. And Lauren's got a bottom. And mommy's got a bottom! But daddy's got a bottom and a tail!" Too precious!!
And my 4 year old son the other night in the bath, whilst checking out his baby sister, in the bath with him: "I've got a willy, but emily has got a fairy!" To which i replied - yes, that's correct. He then continued - "And mommy's got a hairy fairy!" Hmmm - yes, going to the toilet in my house also always involves an audience!!

Too funny for words. We also call them Pirate Parts (from when my niece was young). I have had to tell B on a few occasions that playing with his willy is for private time only. Then he tells me to go out the bathroom. Very funny (but just a little bit worrying at the same time. They grow up so fast!)


It's scary how quickly the time comes for these talks... and it doesn't get any easier as they get older. Good luck!

I've been working on that with my daughter, too. She understands the word private (which I find odd, at not quite three), but I'm not sure I've helped her grasp the concept that her bits are the things that are private. Work in progress. I hate having to do it, too, but I also think it's very necessary.

Well good luck on the privacy thing - mine are 17 and 15 and I STILL have them knocking on the door when I'm in the loo!!

Closed bedroom door? Waha!! Nooooo - it has to be LOCKED :-)

Ha ha ha...

What is it with kids and the loo? They are MORE than happy for us to be doing other stuff (like cooking or whatever) and for them not to be with us, but close that toilet door! Man, it's like there's a HUGE kid magnet on the door that gets activated the minute it's closed!

Here is the thing...It gets better as they get older! You want to keep them out now, when they are 15 (and you want in...) YOU CANT GET IN!!! My seven year old regularly visits me on the toilet still...so I assume anything between 10 and 15 is the time you should have a peaceful toilet experience!

I am with you... I just HATE that it is even necessary to have that conversation. I don't yet have kids, but my little nephew is still learning about privacy.

I wish that I could just close my eyes and make the bad guys disappear!
:) Becky

I always had these little discussions with my DD (who's 7 years old now, ACK!). Anyway, we called them private parts too and discussed that only Mommy or Daddy were allowed to help clean her, but other than that they were private for her alone. And that if anyone ever touched her there, to come see us immediately, because we would always take care of it, no matter what.

Good job! BTW, this works in great later talking about birds and the bees in little doses. By now DD has learned in small lessons how babies come out (heard her playing C-section with her cousins when they were about to have a baby sister that way), that you need to have sex to have babies (let's not go into that's not how she was created - that'll be a sex ed lesson to itself) and that mommy's have eggs and dads have sperm and they have to come together to make the baby. We've covered a lot of ground in little conversations. Now she doesn't understand what sex is, but that's good at her age. She doesn't need to know too much!

Thanks for this post. I have a 3.5 yr old and hadn't even thought of having the "privates" conversation. It is sad that this is such a reality.

OHMIGOSH! This story reminds me of home! When I started telling Little Man that only mommy, daddy, and Dr.W could ask to see/touch his private bits, I was often met with the "I need my privacy" retort! Too bad privacy usually translates into clogging the toilet with umpteen wipes and plunging the toilet dry! And IF ONLY the privacy were reciprical. If only!!

Oops! Make that "reciprocal." SP! :)

Right now my son is 27-months-old. I don't look forward to having these talks, and I agree that it's a shame that we need to. A couple of days ago I had to have my brother-in-law pull a video down from YouTube. Our sons were running around naked together after eating watermelon on the back porch. Cutest thing ever. Not so cute? Knowing that I can't put a cute, innocent video online because some nutbar pervert is going to enjoy it. Ugh.

I believe that telling a child that touching her own body is wrong could let her have an unhealthy view of her body and sexuality. I would hope she want to enjoy sex with her husband, and if she grew up believing that it is bad to touch her body the it is no good at all.

Colby Peyton - I really have no desire to start a full on war (as can happen very easily on Tertia's blog), but did I miss something? Who said that a child is not allowed to touch herself? I have read Tertia's entry again, as well as all the comments and I just do not understand where you got that statement from?

I bought a book, "My Body Belongs To Me," and it was helpful. It explains things in simple terms (my daugther is going to be four next month, but we introduced it at three). We have also talked about who may touch and when -- doctors, teachers when helping with the bathroom, mommy and daddy when helping in the bathroom and baths, etc. And, we also bought a DVD, "The Safe Side," that talks about stranger safety. She was too young when we first showed it to her, but I have borrowed from it, using the concept of safe adults. I think they are good tools, but the best teaching opportunties come when we are just hanging around and talking.

Well worth the read :)

Ive been questioning how my own mother managed 4 kids. But then again, we are all different, some more curious than others.

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