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2 Bumps

How do you explain gender to a toddler?

My daughter asked me the other day what "that" was, as she pointed to her little brother's penis mid diaper change. I was totally caught off guard and unsure how to respond and ultimately ended the discussion by telling her that it was his boy parts. She of course wanted further explination so I told her that Ryker is a boy and has boy parts and she is a girl and has girl parts and they're different. She seemed to take this okay after telling me it was funny.
Anyways, I'm just wondering in case it comes up agian, how others out there have dealt with the gender issue with their children.
My daughter is 3. My son is 7 weeks.


Asked by JadeRDragosani at 4:32 AM on Nov. 5, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 16 (3,019 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • So far, we've just been matter of fact about it. DS is only 2, so he hasn't asked out it yet. He has, however, noticed mommy's absence of a penis with curiosity, and so we tell him that's mommy's vagina. We don't make it a big deal, so he doesn't either (I know age changes things, though).

    Answer by musicpisces at 5:25 AM on Nov. 5, 2010

  • I think you answered it the best way possible. I don't really see any other way to explain that to a 3 year old. And at that age, all they really need to know is girls have vagina's and boys have penises, that's just the way it is. It may be a good idea to teach her the correct names as well.

    Answer by GavinsMommii at 4:40 AM on Nov. 5, 2010

  • I was worried she'd show up at daycare shouting the word penis, and we had enough debackle when she got panties and kept showing them off. Apparently little boys don't take that too well.
    In her case she does know that her vagina is her okoli, which according to my MIL means vagina in hawaiin (backstory, my FIL can't handle the big bad V word, so they use hawaiin instead on their adopted daughter who is 14 months older than mine).

    Comment by JadeRDragosani (original poster) at 4:44 AM on Nov. 5, 2010

  • When my niece (5) and my son (then 3 months) were taking a bath, she said "Declan looks different from me." My father said, "That's because he's a boy." That was good enough for her. I don't anticpate having this problem for a while, but since my kids are close in age and will be bathing, changing together for a while I'll simply explain the difference. Declan (now 27 months) knows that Abi looks different but he also knows she's a girl.

    I'm a big advocate of telling children things appropriate to their age level.

    Answer by armywife1229 at 6:16 AM on Nov. 5, 2010

  • In my little sisters day care they had baby dolls that mimicked what real life private parts looked like. Reason why? Because most kids are curious about what the other gender has and simply telling them and letting them know makes it not be a big deal.

    Answer by DomoniqueWS at 6:32 AM on Nov. 5, 2010

  • Ok first off this isn't about gender but about sex. Gender is the characteristics associated with femaleness and maleness. Sex is the physical anatomy.

    Second, both my children are boys but obviously they notice I am different. I just tell them that girls have different parts than boys. There is no need to explain further really. Just explain what boys and girls usually have and that is all they need. Well there really isn't anything else to it.

    Answer by purpleducky at 9:57 AM on Nov. 5, 2010

  • boys gotta weenee, girls don't... 3 YO explanation :)

    Answer by Zoeyis at 10:06 AM on Nov. 5, 2010