Providing a Catholic framework on the truth and meaning of sexuality, love, and family

How Might Parents Address Those “Discovering Body Parts” Questions?

(Family Honor Editor’s Note: This is the eighth installment in a series on how parents might consider addressing various challenging scenarios with their kids.  In addressing situations like the one presented below, the important thing is to respond in an honest, age-appropriate way that incorporates a sense of awe and wonder for being made in God’s image and likeness – not just offering a lecture or a biology lesson.  We as parents must be perceived as askable, credible, warm, and caring for our children to want to seek us out for answers to such questions.  For a much more comprehensive way of approaching these types of issues, please consider attending a full “Leading & Loving” program in your area.  See our program schedule here, or contact us about how to bring a program to your area.)

Parents!  What do you do when your son starts to notice his body parts?

Your 4-year-old son comes into the den holding his pants down and displaying his erect penis and says, “Hey Dad, look what I can do!” What would you say to him? 

First, (with a smile on my face), I’d say “Pull up your pants!”

“You’re silly!  Come here and let me help you.  I’m glad you are showing me this but we really need to keep our private parts covered unless we are in the bathroom – okay, Bud?  But, let me tell you about why your penis does that.  This is just part of the way God made your body.  Most of the time your penis is small and soft.  But sometimes it gets bigger and harder like it is now.  In a few minutes it will get small again.  My penis does the same thing. That’s just how God made us because we’re boys.”

If he asks why, you could simply say it’s just how God made you so that someday you will be ready to be a man.  If he persists, that is a great time to say, “This is something you will understand better when you’re older, and we’ll talk about it more then.  If you ever wonder anything else about your body, I’m always glad to have you ask questions – and so is mommy.”

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