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Because that's the law? Yikes. Not looking forward to that one.

You could also go with "community standards" of how we want everyone to behave or "customs".

I don't have any clue what to say in response to Adam's question but I'm glad you're posting again. I missed you.

Because those parts of your body are used for things you do not do in front of other people. In Adam's case, peeing. Why don't you pee in front of other people? Because it offends people/makes them uncomfortable. Why? It doesn't matter why, you don't want people to make people feel bad on purpose regardless of why. Why can't you walk around naked everywhere? It's a health hazard- you don't want germs on the "bits" or the "bits" spreading germs to carts, seats, etc...

That's all I can think of!!

My usual answer, which so far has left my 4 year old dumbfounded: "They're called privates, not publics!"

This issue gets complicated by the fact that boys can show certain bits that little girls (and women) are not really supposed to show. I sometimes babysit for a little girl, who turned four years old last Saturday. I showed up at the party, and the parents wanted to know if my husband would be joining us. The little girl launched into a long story about the last time she had seen my husband and how he had been working in the garden with no shirt on and "his titties were showin". The child seemed very disgusted about the whole thing. We tried to explain that its not offensive for men to be shirtless, but she wasnt having any of it.
Im not really sure what the best answer is here, please let us know when you figure it out.

Privates is a great way to refer to them, as they are indeed private.

Like an above poster, i would focus on the hygiene aspect. Pee and poo belong in a toilet, and the areas that make them stay covered so we don't accidentally get any pee and poo germs where they don't belong.

I wouldn't go for associating genitals with being dirty - way too many negative impacts that could have and it sends a subconscious message that those parts of our bodies are something to be ashamed of. I prefer to explain it as certain parts of peoples bodies are special and so we keep them hidden or private. Just like we don't share other special things we have with just anyone (a toy, clothes etc) we also keep those parts of our bodies private unless we're around special people like family. I think something to that effect helps them start having respect for their body and gives you a good place to start when you explain about sex.

Hopefully that also helps cut down on therapy bills when they're older ;D

I gotta say that I think the dirty or germ route is the wrong way to go. First of all, unless somene is sick or something, their genitals shouldn't be dirty. Plus, mane this is more of a concern for girls, but describing them as dirty might make a child hesitant to touch them.

I might go with different cultures have different rules. Show them some pictures of people who dress differently. I remember you saying that kids in SA often don't wear shoes in the summer whereas in the US you almost have to wear shoes to leave the house. Different culture/ different rules.

I think Because it is private and some things are not meant to be shared should do it. If he asks further I'd say: Adam, I've just explained it. Parts of your body are not meant to be shown in public/stores/school.... and use your Grown Up Voice.

Because a girl might see them and laugh and you wouldn't want that.

I have a good friend who has raised a few kids, and whenever my 4 year old is around her and he asks a "Why" question, she responds with "Well, now that's a hard question." And guess what? He stops!

On Saturday I noticed my soon to be 5 years old triplets were very quiet - ALARM!! - I found them in the garden with their panites off showing their 4.5 year old "guy friend" that they could also pee like boys into the pool!!! I hand to do the whole dont show your privates speech to them, AGAIN.

Ha Ha, i remember my boys being horrified when they found out some kids go to private schools. Why on earth would they call a school that?

what about if you say that we (as in the analtyns) don't have a problem with other people seeing our entire bodies (refer to an earlier posting re partner a and partner b debating getting dressed/undressed in full view of passer's by), but that some other people like to be private or get embarrassed about all sorts of things - like farting, and spitting, and poo-ing and wee-ing, and other bodily functions, and also by seeing other people's private parts, or having other people see theirs (unless they are over 18 and legal and then its a whole other discussion) - so you just respect them when you are out in public, and do what you gotta in private . . . he is old enough to know that some stuff happens at home, but not outside the home - so you dont have to connect it exclusively with the notion of private parts and nothing else.

failing that, you could always say that some bits get sunburned very easily, or frostbite, or poisoned ivy or mosquito bites, because they are made of pretty soft skin - sooooooo, you have to keep them covered to protect them . . . like wearing shoes when there are prickles or broken glass on the ground.

I also sometimes use the statement: Because that is the rules, that is how stuff works" with my kids. Sometimes that is the only thing that will stop them from asking "why" any further.

Dude I have no idea how to answer this. It's a pretty stupid rule anyway (recall some previous post about neighbours seeing one's "bits" etc...). I guess apart from the real reason which is that there are some sick f-ers out there, as you said, truth is that it makes the older folk uncomfortable and to be nice to older folk is a good thing to do. As, you know, they make decisions on what's for breakfast and bedtime and taxes.

Well, I know after having worked in a hospital for a while that - seeing old mens bits almost makes one want to heave and am so pleased they have to cover it up. I guess boobs hanging half way down to the floor is not so pleasing for the eye either. Maybe just say `'you will understand why one day' or maybe say its like your toys - you don't want everyone to play with them, well only some people are allowed to see your privates.

I had the exact same conversation with my boys ( then 3 and 6 yrs) when I found one starkers on the couch, playing with his privates.
I explained that some things are for private, there is nothing wrong with it, it is just better to do when you are alone in your room.
My 6yr-old then ran off and came back with paper&pen and said " Mom, please make a sign for my door- DO NOT COME IN RIGHT NOW, I AM BUSY PLAYING WITH MY PRIVATES "
Got to love boys!!!

I tell my 3 yo that it's because that's our custom here. We wear clothes. In some parts of the world, it's customary to NOT wear clothes. But our custom here is to cover ourselves and wear clothes. That's the way it is.

Good luck, and PLEASE let me know what you say and what works!!! Like I said, I tell this to my 3 yo son, but I don't know if it will keep working! I need back up answers!

Taz - that is the funniest thing I have ever heard.

I think "privates" is a great term to use!

We call them privates around here also. I do call their penises penises, and sometimes "pee pees", but I'm at a loss as what to call their testes. Privates is a good collective term, and they are supposed to be private, so it works. I sometimes call their junk their "general and his privates" just to be silly, or their "twigs and berries".

My boys are constantly naked at home. It's Summer here, for one thing, and I don't have enough shorts and underpants to put them in for another. They are constantly spilling things on themselves, jumping in the pool, having accidents you name it, so most days they just end up in their underpants or naked. So far they have not asked me why they need clothes at a store. Maybe because the stores are so freakin' air conditioned here that if they weren't their privates would fall off? Brrr.....

We use "private area" too. It's such a sensitive topic. . . I just kinda talk to them about whatever the moment calls for.

I hardly think teaching a child that urine and feces, and the areas that they come from, contain germs, is going to land them in therapy!! LOL!! Nobody said to call penises and vaginas "dirty!" Oh, internet, you crack me up.

I don't care WHAT we call them! I just LOVE this post! Thanks for making me laugh, for giving me something I can relate too, and for posting this funny, funny post!

Best answer for "why?" -- "Why do you think, sweetie?" Some v interesting conversations start that way.

I would assosiate private with a treasure like a pearl hiding in a shell or money being hidden in safes!You dont want everyone to see your treasures? That way they learn that privates are prescious and not something to be ashamed of but should be kept safe! The dirt argument just sits wrong with me!

When you get the right answer, let me know. I'm sure I'll have to answer this question in four years or so.

I would have taken him into Woolies wet, chosen a new pair of pants and undies on the way to the change-room, changed him into new clothes and presented the cashier with the slips. There, all better now. :)

I've told kids I take care of that it's because those parts have important jobs to do and we need to protect them so they stay in good working order.

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