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  • Writer's pictureSophie Manning

Mind your (body) language

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

#EducatingEve’s Tips on talking to your child about her body are all winners. Gynaecological cancer charity Eve Appeal recently made headlines with its revelatory survey of 1,175 parents. The ground-breaking results: around 1 in 5 parents “never refer to female body parts in front of their daughter”, almost a third feel it is only appropriate to use anatomical language when their daughters were 11 or older and only 1% use the word vulva.

Starting out with an arresting “Who is your child’s teacher about health issues? The answer might surprise you. It’s YOU”, the Eve Appeal offers up 10 top tips for talking openly with your children:

  1. Use correct terms for body parts

  2. Brush up on your knowledge about anatomy

  3. For age appropriateness, be guided by your children’s level

  4. Periods and puberty are less scary if children learn ahead of time

  5. Set a good example by being comfortable with talking openly

  6. Don’t just leave it up to the school to talk about sex & relationships

  7. Mind your (body) language

  8. It’s NOT “different for girls”

  9. Respect cultures and communities

  10. Have open conversations and tell children about cancer prevention

The one that hit us hardest? It’s number 7. The Eve Appeal reminded us that there’s no point in delivering the right words in the right order unless you live it and mean it. They’re right: we do all value “warmth and openness”, whatever age we are. It’s easy to send a message of embarrassment, anxiety or distaste even as you’re reading the riot act on consent or explaining the difference between vulva and vagina. The only answer? Practice. Use your friends, your partner or your mirror – but make sure there’s a dress rehearsal.

To read all the tips in full, go to Educating Eve

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