Wondering how to become an askable parent? AMAZE is here to help! In this episode, you’ll learn how to handle kids playing doctor, including how to use teachable moments to talk to kids about body differences, privacy, and respecting other people’s bodies, and why it’s important to model healthy conversations and set the stage for conversations to come.
Become An Askable Parent is a podcast from AMAZE.org. AMAZE creates free educational videos + resources to help families talk openly, honestly, and less awkwardly about sex, health, relationships + growing up. The goal of the podcast is to help parents learn how to communicate better (even when they don’t have all the answers!) so their kids know that they can ask them anything.
Welcome to the AMAZE podcast. AMAZE creates free educational videos and resources to help families talk openly, honestly, and less awkwardly about sex, health, relationships and growing up. Our goal is to help you become an askable parent through short, actionable podcast episodes. In today's episode, you'll learn how to handle kids playing doctor, including how to use teachable moments to talk to kids about body differences, privacy, and respecting other people's bodies, and why it's important to model healthy conversations and set the stage for conversations to come.
Welcome back. How's it going, everyone?
Parent 1: 0:43
Well, we had something unpleasant happened in our family this week. My son went to a play date with a girl from his class and her mom walked in on them buck naked from the waist down. My son was pointing between the girl's legs and saying, "You're a girl, so you have a vulva." The mom was really upset, and I had to take him home right away. I felt terrible.
Parent 2: 1:04
I read somewhere that young kids playing doctor is pretty common because it's natural for them to be curious about how their bodies are made.
It's true, and as long as they're around the same age and neither child is pressuring the other, it's perfectly normal.
Parent 1: 1:18
But my son was really confused about why he had to leave when he was just repeating what we had taught him. He felt really bad.
It's good to explain to your kids that not all parents teach the same things in the same way. That doesn't make them wrong or bad. Just different.
Parent 3: 1:35
Debbie, is it okay to put a boy and a girl in the bathtub together? I tried that once, but they kept poking and touching one another.
It is okay as long as you supervise to make sure they're being safe. If they do poke and touch each other, which they probably do in other ways and at other times, right? It can become a great teachable moment for them to learn about body differences and also the importance of respecting other people's bodies.
Parent 3: 2:01
And what if they want to check me out? I'm okay with them being curious, but there's no way I'm volunteering to be Exhibit A.
Parent 1: 2:09
Maybe it's another one of those teachable moments?
Exactly, Natalia. It's a good moment to talk to your children about privacy and then offer another way of getting the information they're looking for.
Parent 4: 2:21
Would a picture book help?
Picture books are great as long as they don't replace you as the only source of information. Your interaction with your kids is very important in setting the stage for conversations to come.
Parent 4: 2:34
Once I was taking a shower with my dad when I was really, really little, and I asked him why his penis was so much bigger than mine. He just put our forearms together and said, "This is a lot bigger than yours too. All of you will get bigger as you grow up."
Oh, I love that story. Your dad was so matter of fact, too. That's good modeling.
Parent 2: 2:56
Hey, Debbie, do you think it's weird or not for families to parade around the house naked? And if so, for how long?
Well, I think it depends on what individual parents are personally comfortable with. Adults can differ widely on what feels okay for them to reveal, and not, and no parent should feel pressured to be comfortable. When it comes time to set some boundaries for the kids, you can say to your child, "You're really growing up. I think we should start having some privacy rules in our family."
Parent 3: 3:25
When my son was six, he started wanting to change his clothes in private, all on his own.
That's very common. When kids are six or seven, they're able to imagine other people looking at them and thinking about them, and they begin to develop a healthy kind of self consciousness.
Parent 2: 3:40
So our kids figure this out for themselves, huh? Well, hey, what do they need us for then?
Thanks for joining us today! To find more free educational resource is from AMAZE, including videos, book recommendations, conversational scripts and more, visit AMAZE.org. You can also connect with us on YouTube and Facebook at @amazeparents and on Twitter at @amazeorg. Thanks for listening!