A cute little episode happened in our bathroom Friday morning, as my fiveyearold, my threeyearold and myself were getting ready to go to Kindergarten.
We were brushing teeth and getting our clothes on, when my threeyearold boy suddenly asked me if I would kiss his “pee-man”.
(In Danish we call pee “tiss” and a willy/dick/penis we call a “tissemand”, “pee-man”. Especially that´s the name we use when we talk with children about that bodypart. And a girl´s equivalent is called a “tissekone”, which means “pee-wife”. Aren´t they useful and sweet labels?!
In Norwegian we also say tissemann, but there is no word for the female one.
Often we just say “the pee-er”, “tissen”, for both genders´genitals).
I thought it was ever so innocent and touching that my son asked me to do this. I tickle and cuddle and kiss him everywhere else, why would that area be any different? It was clearly time for me to tell him something about it.
So I said; “I´m sure it would feel nice to have your pee-man kissed. But only one´s girlfriend or boyfriend is allowed to do that”. (In Danish/Norwegian the word is “kaereste”, that means “dearest”)
“Your peeman, and your peewife (looking at my little daughter), is for only yourself to play with and enjoy, until you get a dearest, then she can kiss your pee-man, and you can kiss and play with her pee-wife”.
“Mothers and fathers are not allowed to kiss children´s peeman and peekone”, I continued. “It belongs to you only. And grownups can also never be the boy-or girlfriend of a child. A child can only be girl-or boyfriend with an other child. Every grownup knows it is not allowed. If police comes, then they will go to jail for playing with children´s peeman or peewife.
And also, sisters and brothers can not kiss or play with eachother´s peeman and peewife. ONLY when you have a dearest”.
My fiveyearold, who was also listening, and who has heard about these things a couple of times before, added:
“Yes, it´s like you are the girlfriend of daddy. So YOU can kiss HIS peeman.”
I had to keep myself from laughing, and just kept a straight face and the same “but-of course-ish” tone of voice that she was using. To her this was just logical reasoning, no shame attached… So I said “Yes! That is absolutely correct! That´s the way it is.” And gave her a big smile.
Then we just continued our preparations, and soon we were on our way to kindergarten.
I am very proud of my way of dealing with the issue of sexuality with my kids. I have always just answered their questions openly, honestly and without letting my own… maybe hardships with shame, general inhibitions…, shine through. It is not always easy to do, but it gets easier with practice.
They are innocent, they live in these bodies, and I would so much want for them to keep feeling natural and good about their bodies and their sexual feelings. It is so deeply rooted in us, sexuality, or how to say it. It´s part of our core, it has such a great influence on our feelings of identity, self worth… it is a question of spiritual, mental and physical health. I will guard their sexuality from attacks of shame, guilt, sin, taboo and all that stuff society will be throwing at them as they get older.
I want them to keep their innocence and naturalness intact, so it will be easier for them in puberty and in adulthood.
Also, I will keep informing them. Anything they want to know about sex and sexuality, I will answer them openly and honestly. I want them to feel they can ask me anything and never feel scorned or laughed at, pushed away because the grownup gets shy. Such a sensitive issue, difficult to talk about for all of us, we get embarressed…
If I want my kids to be able to ask me their questions as they appear in puberty, that openness and trust must be between us right from the start. I can see the effect with my eldest. She is ten now. And we do talk openly, she does come to me and ask the difficult questions. That fact makes me feel very proud.
I share this anecdote with you, not for the entertainment of a little boy´s innocent question. But because I feel this is an extremely important issue.
How do we raise our children into responsible sexual adults?
How do we make them healthy, and keep their self worth intact, and help them understand the rules of sexual interactions?
Teach them the preciousness of their sexuality, that it is perfectly fine to enjoy the sensations, us adults do to, and that genitals is equipment they can use for making a baby when they are grown, to become a lucky mother or a lucky father, and have the cutest babies, just like their own lucky parents…
Let them be proud of themselves, and guide them gently so they don´t lock up their sexuality thinking it is forbidden, dirty, a confusing thing that adults obviously are against for some reason they never give.
The world needs healthy sexuality.
How we choose to parent on the issue of sex, is of utmost importance.
Balanced, self respecting young people who have a peaceful, joyful approach to sex.
It would greatly influence world peace.