Home Editors Pick What The World Is Teaching My Six Year Old Son About Boobs.

What The World Is Teaching My Six Year Old Son About Boobs.

by Jade

Are boobs ‘rude’?

My son, like always, tumbled out of school amidst a blizzard of books and sheets of paper. Face smeared with dinner and a toothy grin, his cast off jumper trailed behind him. In his even filthier hand was clutched a crumpled little blue drawing of my partner and me. He doesn’t draw often. It was presented with a shy pride in the way that turns my heart to playdough.

The man was tall with big round glasses. And me? I was penned with long hair, red crayon skin, and a smile. A fridge worthy masterpiece, we giggled at it together.  On the drive home he started staring at it and then said, ‘I did a bad thing today.’ I asked him to tell me more about what had happened, expecting imprudent dabbing in assembly, or licking of walls, etc. The usual. He told me sadly that he had been made to draw his lovely picture twice.

‘Why?’

‘Because I drew you with boobies and my teacher told me off.’

He then burst into tears. My little rapscallion is many things, finds lots of ways to be cheeky. LOTS. But this was not one of them. He was really confused about why trying to draw an anatomical ‘mummy’ was wrong. My partner was drawn with a beard. I guess one of my focus features for him is my breasts. Pammy Anderson eat your heart out. Talking, I explained that the teacher thought he was being rude. Offensive isn’t yet in his vocabulary. I struggled to find the words to explain what is acceptable. He responded that he didn’t draw Stu with a willy because that’s his privates but boobs are for mummy’s and mummy’s do feeding. He then asked if baby feeding was rude. The shame in his innocence almost had me in tears too.

‘Of course not darling.’ But then again, some would disagree.

What are we teaching children about bodies?

The world, and society is full of confusing messages. I want my son to be body positive, to respect others bodies, to not feel shame and to respect privacy. No one gives you a manual on how to instil this in your children.

Last week he made a WII character he lovingly entitled ‘big, fat mummy’. He was being descriptive but not intentionally hurtful. We spoke about how I felt when he said that, how even if we don’t mean to we can upset someone. The other day he took his glasses off and told me glasses make him ugly. My insides crumbled. I said no one is ugly and explained how amazing spectacles are for helping him see.

Ugly is an ugly word for a six year old to understand.

We stuck stickers on them and he laughed. It is fascinating and terrifying seeing a child’s opinions and thought processes form then knowing that a good share of this you are guiding. I killed my cactus so shaping a person terrifies me.

Little boy cuddling against his mums boobs.

Your body belongs to you.

When I was young we had one bathroom so used to wonder in when my mum was in the bath. I still do when I am home. Poor woman she never had a moments privacy. I don’t remember the shift when my brother stopped. Maybe eight? Maybe younger. Neither a prude nor liberal she let us play in the stream in only our pants and did not shout at us if we wondered in her room if she was halfway through getting dressed.

At what age does it become inappropriate to shower or bathe with your child? Two, five, seven . . . never?

It is a personal choice, you will get many answers. I breastfed for a bit. Bathed with my son till he was three. He walks in when I’m on the toilet or getting dressed to have a casual conversation about Lego or the Jurassic period. Or how an astronaut would clean his space suit if he sneezed. We don’t lock doors but if they are closed we do encourage him not to enter. Most of the boundaries we have in our house naturally developed. As a single parent previously most were out of necessity, no one could supervise him whilst I showered, it saved time to have him in with me. I stopped bathing with my son when he started creating brown bath submarines, it was also a good time to start promoting independence.

What is THAT mummy?

It is normal for kids to be curious about body parts and that those body parts have names. About physical differences between men and women. When they ask, do not be embarrassed, accept a child’s natural curiosity. How you respond is dependent on how comfortable you are and they are. Your child will give you cues. There is a BIG difference between modesty and discomfort about your own body. At three we started telling my son that his willy was his private parts. When the other day he walked in as I was in my bikini, giggled and asked if he could kiss my wobbly bum I said no. Then I said why. No is still no but an answer full of kindness and information helps my son understand that he needs to listen to my choice. By explaining that I would love a kiss on my cheek instead offers reassurance.

Call your children beautiful, teach them to be respectful of their own bodies, yours and others. Don’t tell boys off for drawing boobs, but instead explain why they are natural for feeding but also a private part of a women’s body. That can link to conversations about good and bad touch, boundaries. CONVERSATIONS are what we need to be having. Not saying no and not saying why. Be open. EDUCATE.

If we make or children feel shame about body parts at six, how will they feel at sixteen?

Ps. Boobs are awesome.

What does your child draw then they see you? How do you teach your child self-confidence and about boundaries? Do you think there is an age where children should not see you naked and is this gender dependent?

 

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34 comments

Mom Of Two Little Girls 5th July 2017 - 6:14 pm

This is great. It sounds like you are handling it perfectly. I love the boundaries you have created. I do believe they are necessary – I feel uncomfortable when in situations with families who have little or no boundaries.
The boob story really upset me, he should NOT have been made to feel bad, or wrong. He was 100% right. They are just boobs! Like a beard. His teacher is the one who is now making an issue of something that is normal and natural.
#stayclassymama

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Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... 30th June 2017 - 11:22 pm

My mum used to wander round before a bath and we never had a problem with it but my dad never did. I have baths with my kids and they see me getting dressed in the morning. They were fascinated to see how my body change when I was pregnant. I hope they develop a healthy attitude towards bodies #stayclassymama

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itsadrama 30th June 2017 - 6:24 am

Oh I laughed when i first read this as my brother was obsessed with drawing boobs when he was little! I agree with you wholeheartedly. Lets not make a natural part of the female body something to be ashamed of or thought of as rude. My daughter is going through the self conscious stage (13) and Im always instilling into her that her body is beautiful and should be worshipped.
#stayclassymama

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Jade 30th June 2017 - 10:18 am

Oh god 13 was a hard age for me and that confidence your encouraging in your daughter is the best thing possible! haha bless your little brother. Thank you for commenting. x

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The Squirmy Popple 29th June 2017 - 7:54 pm

Just popping back from #stayclassymama. So much love for this post.

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nurserywhines 29th June 2017 - 3:22 pm

I think your attitude is brilliant and completely right. But I am so angry at his teacher! Did you speak to them? What gives them the right to tell your son he can’t draw your breasts on his family portrait?! Surely they are making it rude by making an issue of it?! Grrrrr! I am so outraged. Your son clearly celebrates the female form and has an amazingly positive attitude to body image for his age. And they are going to stifle him. #StayClassyMama

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Jade 30th June 2017 - 10:33 am

If he was being cheeky and giggling etc I could understand them just saying look boobs are not to laugh at etc, but the fact he just did it innocently made me sad, and he demonstrated that he was respecting privacy by not drawing a willy on my partner. I was just exasperated at the lack of explanation. He went off with chicken pox and then moved school because we move so I didn’t have chance. I have told him if he ever gets told off for drawing boobs again to let me know! x

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Lucy At Home 29th June 2017 - 2:29 pm

Aaah my heart squeezed at the thought of him having to redraw his picture when it was such an innocent thing to do. I think we can often put adult ideas onto innocent children’s questions. My daughter is going through a phase where she declares that she loves everything – the phone, her apple, the car. Yesterday she pointed to my boobs and said “what are they?” I told her and she said “Ah I love boobs!” Then immediately, she pointed at the carpet and said “what’s that?”… “Ah I love carpets!” – to them, it’s just an innocent question that is just the same as asking what a carpet is! We don’t need to panic but just answer them honestly. Great, thought-provoking post #stayclassymama

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Jade 30th June 2017 - 10:59 am

I know his sad little face when he told me almost had me in tears. Thank you for such a fantastic comment, haha I love that she is loving everything, apples and boobs are great things to love. I would have been content if they would have just said you can draw a booby shape or boobys can be private as well as used to feed babaies, just any explanation! x

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hjsburnett 29th June 2017 - 2:19 pm

Love your point of view, Jade! What you are teaching them is important & its a shame that more parents don’t do the same! #stayclassymama

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Jade 30th June 2017 - 11:00 am

Thank you lovely, I am sure my parenting is often clumsy but I’m trying to be open and honest x

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So Happy In Town (@SoHappyInTown) 29th June 2017 - 11:30 am

What a fantastic and thought provoking post. We are also a very open household with bathroom doors open and I will not cover up if I’m getting dressed and one of the kids walks in. I want us all to be proud of our bodies but it’s such a fine line between what is deemed ‘appropriate’ or not and our kids soon pick up on it. My eldest daughter is already body conscious (she’s only 10) which breaks my heart but her body is starting to change so we have had conversations about it and why this happens – she is naturally finding it a bit alarming and doesn’t want it to change but I hope I’m instilling in her that it’s the most natural thing in the world, though it’s difficult for them to get their young mind around. My son is funny about boobs – he just won’t cuddle me unless mine are covered up and that’s just him instinctively. Not sure where it’s come from. #stayclassymama

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Jade 30th June 2017 - 11:04 am

You have a great open approach, I’m sure if my son grows up and wants privacy then I will grant it , we respect each others views and yes I think children are getting more body conscious younger..the other day my son went oh I am fat..I was mortified and argued that he is perfect! Scary world x

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The Mumatron 29th June 2017 - 11:26 am

IMy son can open the bathroom door, and because it’s the only one he can reach it’s a novelty at the moment. When I’m on my own he’s in and out of the bathroom whether I’m on the toilet or not. Sometimes he want to sit on my knee- yay! He’s still too young to get it really. I don’t shy away from getting changed around him, when we go swimming he’s in a changing room around women, if he goes with his dad, surrounded by men. The rule in the changing rooms is children over 7 should be in the family changing room. Why- who knows? It sounds to me like the teacher was more uncomfortable with the situation and insecure in their own skin. #StayClassyMama

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Jade 30th June 2017 - 11:07 am

I think adults sometimes put their concerns onto children but actually children think and understand differently. Hehe I remember when my son always used to ask to sit on my knee when I was on the toilet when he was tiny, never a moments peace x

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Rhian 29th June 2017 - 11:00 am

My daughter always see us naked. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not walking around naked, but she sometimes sees us going in the shower or getting changed so asks questions. Why cause a complex by hiding them away? Good article #stayclassymama

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anywaytostayathome 29th June 2017 - 7:22 am

I’ve read this three or four times now and I think you handled it perfectly. Why wouldn’t you draw boobs. L was asking me about boobs this week, I explained how he was breastfed and that they are just something girls have, he isn’t going to get them when he’s a grown up, then I had to explain why him trying to feed me wouldn’t work (whilst holding back the giggles) honesty is the best policy and kids pick up on so much it’s hard to get the balance right but him being made to feel naughty over a picture is sad #stayclassymama

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Carol Lander 24th June 2017 - 6:25 pm

I I was a life model when my daughter drew breasts on women, and was srverely told off. I visited the school and spoke to the head mistress, explaining my job, and also that my daughter was only representing natural body parts common to us all. Not ‘being rude’.

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Jade 26th June 2017 - 2:58 pm

A fantastic response and wow, I would love to be a life model but I cannot sit still! xx

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Jacqueline McCann 23rd June 2017 - 8:54 pm

Aww Jade my heart goes out to you both. You’re not at fault at all and you sound like an exceptlary Mum. You’re so right about this, but from your post you’re doing an A class job. Love to your family. Jac X

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Jade 26th June 2017 - 5:13 pm

Hey Jac, thank you for such a lovely compassionate reply, thank you for all the supportive words it really does make my day thank you xx

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Durrant's Divulging 23rd June 2017 - 8:35 pm

What a fantastic Blog piece ?????? !!! Thank you for sharing this with us !!!
I am a mum of 3 all with autistic spectrum conditions and know especially how important it is to be open about things others find difficult.. it’s so important to have these conversations with all children! Bravo look forward to the next 🙂
Emma

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Jade 26th June 2017 - 6:38 pm

Thank you lovely, my little man is so literal and like you said it is important to be open and explain things to all children, bravo to you too you sound like an amazing mummy x

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Durrant's Divulging 27th June 2017 - 11:30 pm

Awww thank you Hun 🙂 xxxx

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Stephanie 22nd June 2017 - 10:44 pm

Poor dude! There are so many points in this post I can relate to, my boy is 7 and I’ve just started shutting the door when I shower etc. It’s really difficult to know the right approach but drawing mummy with boobs is absolutely the way she should be drawn ?

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Jade 26th June 2017 - 7:21 pm

He was kind too he didn’t draw them remotely saggy, I wish my boobs were like picture mummy’s…x

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Morgan Prince 22nd June 2017 - 5:05 pm

What a brilliant post Jade! I remember when LP was younger, probably about 6, he came to the public toilets with me and asked me why I was sitting down. When I told him I don’t have a willy he was completely confused. He started asking things like “do you wee out of your bum then?” and I had to laugh. I told him the truth, that ladies and girls have a vagina and that’s how we wee. It’s such a difficult job teaching our children isn’t it?
Thanks for linking to #pocolo

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Natalie Williams 19th June 2017 - 8:22 pm

Im going through this with my 5 year old, it is so hard to explain things like that without confusing them. I think you’ve done a great job!

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Tattooed Mummy 19th June 2017 - 1:14 pm

Great post – honestly we give the poor kids such hangups when we don’t need to – what a vicious circle – glad you are trying to break it.

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Lisa 18th June 2017 - 10:18 pm

What a lovely post. My daughter went through a stage where she drew huge boobies on all the ladies that she drew. We never told her off and as far as I know it’s. It. Even mentioned at school. We played it down a bit by asking her where the clothes are. It’s all in innocence, although I’m not sure if feel the same if she drew willies ?

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SpookyMrsGreen 17th June 2017 - 8:40 am

My husband is very clear that we do not shy away from these discussions with our daughters. We are all very comfortable with each other at home in the bathroom and he encourages the girls to ask questions about his body and mine, so we can discuss the differences and explain about personal space and boundaries. I think it is incredibly important, and thank you for talking about the issue.

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oldhouseintheshires 16th June 2017 - 7:41 pm

I love this post! What a stupid teacher ffs. I’m a teacher so I can say that! I also teach 6 and 7 year olds so I really can say that! If a child of this age said this to me I would probably ask where mummys clothes were or something funny? not say its rude because its not. Grrrr Children at this age are always drawing belly buttons, willies and boobs! Its normal! At least he has a lovely mummy. #Pocolo

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Laura: Adventures with J 16th June 2017 - 3:43 pm

Poor boy! I think you are doing a fab job and sadly many parents shy away from these topics as they don’t feel confident with what is right or wrong. My 2 and a half year old will happily stick his hand down my top walking down the street. Clearly a comfort thing for him to have skin to skin. I also have him in the bath while I shower and he accompanies me to the toilet. I do wonder when it will have to stop but for now I enjoy the fact that he wants to spend every second with me as let’s face it there will be a time when he won’t 🙁 I am saddened by the teacher’s approach and woyld definitely go and chat with her as she needs to realise the impact that it has on children and to be fair if she doesn’t have children it probably hasn’t occurred to her quite how big a deal this is.

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babiesbiscuitsandbooze 16th June 2017 - 3:25 pm

Love this, Jade. You’ve hit the nail on the head and I can completely see his logic as to why boobs would be ok to draw even if he wouldn’t include a willy in the picture! It’s so important that our kids understand boundaries and privacy and consent, but equally we don’t want them growing up feeling that bodies are shameful or embarrassing. I think your approach is perfect and it’s a shame that his teacher handled it the way she did.

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