Boys & Boobs: Early Conversations with Kids About Their Body

Boobie is such a funny word, isn’t it? It is, at least to a two-year-old little boy.

Let me tell you – “boobie” is one of those words that is guaranteed to get my son giggling. That, along with “poopy,” “armpit,” and well, probably fart noises.

But it doesn’t just stop there. I’m going to share with you a story…

A few months ago we were invited to Literacy Night at the elementary school that my mom works at. We read books, did a Book Walk, visited the Library where my mom works and made some bookmarks. The whole night was about, well, books (I mean, it was LITERACY night).

They had a local food truck parked outside for parents to eat at, with seating inside the cafeteria. We grabbed our food, sat down inside with my parents and greeted teachers that we knew from our previous visits at the school.

One teacher came by to ask what the prices were like at the food truck.  It wasn’t 30 seconds later that my son leaned over to this generously busty woman, and poked her right in the boob. And I mean right smack dab in the boob.

Just like that. Just like, “hey there, thanks for coming by our table!” He might have even declared, “booby!” right after.

I stared at him. The other teacher stared at my mom. My mom stared at me. And we all started laughing, more out of embarrassment than anything else. I awkwardly apologized for that, and we shrugged it off kind of like, “what do we do?”

Now, it’s interesting to me that my son was never really taught that boobies were funny or that poopy was funny. He and his sister came about that on their own.  Even this morning he stood in my room watching me get dressed for work, and said “boobies!” as he pointed to me and giggled.

I think that children have this natural curiosity for breasts and other private parts, and that’s ok! It’s normal, and it opens the door for us as parents to have early conversations with them about what’s appropriate and what’s not when it comes to our bodies.

Let me make a side note and  say that I have taught my kids that touching other people’s chest like this is inappropriate and should not be repeated (laughing at it that particular time was really just an automatic nervous response).

For whatever reason, though, my son thinks that boobies are still just the funniest thing to talk about. Not as funny as poop now, but it’s still in his top three. Why is that? Do kids think private parts of our bodies are so funny because we keep them so private? Like, we’re hiding something?

I’m inclined to talk to my kids to my kids about their bodies openly. We don’t name our genitals things like “wee wee” or “pee pee.” We call them what they are, and nothing else. I try not to hide when the kids walk in on me changing – I don’t want to send the message to my daughter that there is anything to be ashamed of. This doesn’t mean that I encourage nudity in public, or anything like that. I talk to my daughter about keeping her dress down in public, and explain (often) to my son that his pants have to stay on when we are not at home.IMG_4044

I believe that we can communicate a lot to our children early about what it looks like to love our bodies and to take care of it. Shower with your kids when they are young, let them see what a normal body looks like – don’t let them only grow up seeing distorted, photoshopped bodies in magazines and on TV. Teach your sons to love women in a healthy way, by not idealizing their bodies, and by respecting boundaries. Teach your daughters to be comfortable in their own skin, regardless of if it looks like someone else’s.

Sure, I will crack down on my son as he gets older if he still thinks it’s hilarious to poke people in the boob. But for now? We will giggle, and tickle each other, and I’ll still point to his boobies when his shirt is off.

If you’ve had these conversations with your children, what are some things you highlighted with them in talking about their body?

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