Expert Response #1
It will happen to you
[Chuckling] Yes! I am. This is called pubic hair. Pubic hair grows over our vulva and around our penis and scrotum. As your body gets bigger and bigger and you become an adult, one of the changes you can expect is that you will grow hair on your body. It’s perfectly normal!
Kim T Cook RN, CHES, founder of Teen World Confidential and the Sex Education Alliance & author of Teen World Confidential: Five Minute Topics To Open Conversation About Sex And Relationships
Expert Response #2
We’re all different
That’s right! I have hair on my body – most children, teenagers and adults do. People can have hair on their arms, legs, toes, backs, face, chest, armpits and their private body parts, the vulva and penis. One day you will have more hair on your body too. Some people have a lot of hair and some people have very little. Every body is different. Isn’t that great?
Expert Response #3
Our bodies change a lot
Yes! You’ve noticed that grown-ups have hair in places that little kids don’t. As you grow up you’ll experience lots of different changes. You’ll get taller and wider, and your brain will learn more words for talking about things. It’s called puberty. Getting furry [growing hair, for those folks who are a bit more serious] is just one of those same kinds of changes
Whatever you say next, keep these things in mind…
Use the correct names for body parts – like vulva, penis, testicles and breasts. Be factual and matter of fact! If your child feels that body parts shouldn’t be mentioned, they’ll find it hard to be open with you about their body. If they know the correct terminology, they’re empowered – it’s a form of safeguarding
In some cultures there is a relaxed attitude to bodies. Does that give you courage to feel less inclined to cover up in front of your child? Think of Holland, where, as author Bonnie J Rough points out, there’s an open approach to bodies, sex and relationships at home and at school. Look at Denmark, where Outspoken co-founder Yoan Reed is from. She says: “I’m not ashamed of my body. In British changing rooms people dress in private. In Denmark there was just one room, gender divided, and you’d see all different bodies – young, old, fat, thin – and you’d see the genitals and could name them; it was just a natural part of life. We weren’t shy about our bodies.” See if you can model this kind of openness…
CRISIS NOT AVERTED?
More help with questions from younger kids about changing bodies…
PANTS | The underwear rule via a friendly dinosaur
PANTS is a great resource from the NSPCC on how to keep kids safe. Learn about when to talk PANTS and watch the Sing Along With Pantosaurus video Go to PANTS >
IT ISN’T RUDE TO BE NUDE | A picture book of diverse bodies
“All bodies are wonderful,” says Rosie Haine in her beautiful and inclusive picture book for ages 3+ that includes body hair Go to our It Isn’t Rude To Be Nude interview >
Remember: every child is different. Adjust these suggestions for the age and stage of your child. Children with special educational needs and disabilities, looked-after children and children who have experienced abuse may all need different support.
If you’re in doubt about your child’s emotional, physical or psychological development, please seek the advice of a professional