Medical professionals encouraging parents to teach kids 'real words' of body parts to protect against predators

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live)- It can be an awkward conversation but experts are saying, it could protect your children against predators. Instead of using nicknames for genitals, medical professionals are encouraging parents to use the actual names and they're pushing for parents to start using them at a younger age.

It’s a conversation a lot of you might avoid.

Valley News Live: "Have you had that conversation?"

"Just a little bit. No special names for them or anything," says Mother of three, Erica Laddusaw.

And it's one Erica Laddusaw has had with her three young children. She says they know there's parts of their bodies that only they can see or touch.

"We hear a lot of nicknames for private parts," says Sanford Children's CARE Clinic Clinical Care Leader, Megan Williamson.

Megan Williamson with Sanford Children's CARE Clinic works with a lot of kids who have been hurt or abused. She tells us, talking about the real names for body parts is a taboo subject for a lot of parents. But she says teaching the real words, could help your child if they were ever approached by a predator.

"If you are afraid to talk about those parts, it kind of ads a little bit of embarrassment to it," says Williamson.

Williamson says that means, it doesn't give kids the chance to learn words they need to use in case they are ever hurt or something bad happens to them. So she encourages parents to do away with the nicknames.

"Other words can be mistaken and they tell somebody something's happened to them. They might not understand, so the child might think they told an adult or told somebody who could help them but then nothing is happening," says Williamson.

Some moms we talked to tell us they think it's a good idea but say, they feel awkward doing it themselves.

So how do you have that very important conversation with your kid?

"Have that conversation during bath time or if you're changing diapers. Have the conversation that these are private parts that you should clean and if you need help, you can ask mom or dad," says Williamson.

And moms like Laddusaw say it's a quick and easy way to bring it up.
"I think it's a very good idea," says Laddusaw.

On top of that when you're having this conversation with your child, medical professionals like Williamson say, to let them know where to go and who they can talk to if something does happen to them.

Williamson says when you're having this conversation with your kids, you don't have to bring up the birds and the bees. She says to bring it up naturally and make them comfortable using the real names for their body parts.